The Ultimate Guide on How To Get Real Estate Photography Jobs.
When you’re getting started in real estate photography it’s easy to spend lots of time on your website, business cards and logo but the critical driver of a photography business is the same as any other business: SALES. As Mark Cuban once said “Sales cures all.” But how do you get sales?!? Having built a successful real estate photography business I learned a few tricks to get sales quickly and without much headache.
Step 1 Practice Your Real Estate Photography Skills
Professional Real Estate Photography Gear
People often obsess about having the right gear. In the beginning I started with a crappy little canon point and shoot camera that could barely do anything.
Only after I got frustrated by the lack of control did I upgrade. All my test photos were done with the little camera I had at the time. It wasn’t even a DSLR.
Practicing Real Estate Photography Makes Perfect
Before you can get jobs, real estate agents need something tangible to see. You might know you’re 100% capable of taking amazing photos, but as a wise man once said “Telling’s not selling! Show! Don’t tell.”
Before I ever approached my first real estate agent I staged my own house and practiced, practiced, practiced. But before you do that, you’ll need to learn a few best practices. I’ve collected a series of some videos that helped me get started. If you want to get fancy, you can go through some paid courses as well.
Non paying Real Estate Photography jobs
Although you could find real estate agents to let you shoot for free at this stage, in my opinion you’re better off to trade photos for access in a different industry.
If one style of Rolex is $10 that devalues the $5,000 Rolex. However, creating the spin-off brand of Timex solved the devaluation problem. The same holds true for your photography. It’s VERY hard to convert a non-paying customer into one that pays. You can avoid this by doing shoots for people who need architectural and real estate photography but aren’t necessarily real estate agents.
Getting Access to Real Estate for Photography
Places you could ask to trade access for photography usage rights:
your own house
houses of friends and family
cool looking houses that have been hard to move, these agents are typically desperate to ink a deal before their listing expires and it goes up for grabs to other agents to relist.
FSBO or For sale by owner – these are tough cause people are usually crazy, but it’s worth a shot if you’re desperate.
Step 2 – Start your Real Estate Photography Business
Get Promo Postcards Printed
Take your best photos and print a postcard
you could go to Vistaprint or someplace similar. The key point is to pick a template that looks halfway decent and pull the trigger. These aren’t going to be used forever so don’t hem and haw around too much.
How Many Should I print?
My recommendation is no more than 100. Remember, they’re intended to be the match that lights the fire. After that you can work on referrals and other warmer methods.
Step 3 – Go to the people that need real estate photography
Beating others for the job
It’s hard at first, but you’re not trying to sell everyone, you’re just looking for the people that need what you you’re offering. It’s not forever, it’s just to get started.
Make a list of open houses and add them to a google map (Saturday & Sunday). Then drive.
be sure not to interrupt when they’re with a client ask to present at real estate office meetings.
Offer a first shoot discount. We’re looking for clients, not deals. Figure up what’s worth to “buy” a customer.
Network with people that are adjacent to real estate agents (bankers, mortgages, title companies anyone else that makes money on real estate transactions)
Step 4 – Train your real estate photography clients to book online
biggest pains in the ass was booking
saved tons of time
could be on a shoot
Step 5 – Create A Referral Program to beat out other photographers
every 4 referrals and the shoot is half price (or free)
could always get half price photography
Don’t make an emotional decision, do the math.
A word of caution, once you’ve gotten a couple houses under your belt move onto step 2 as quickly as possible. Don’t get stuck in “research” mode. A few houses to practice on is plenty. You’ll end up learning WAY more once you start shoot for clients. You’ll still feel nervous when you start (hell, I was SUPER nervous on my first shoot) but that’s totally normal. No matter how long you practice you’ll ALWAYS feel nervous on your first real shoot. There’s no avoiding it. You just gotta sh*t your pants, dive in, and swim.
What should I charge?
This can vary wildly depending on your location and the services offered. Check out our pricing guide here for more info about what to charge in your area.
Can I make this a career?
Yes, you can. I did for a very long time. Like most things, it takes perseverance. It’s a tough career, but sticking with it is the key to success.
How much do Real Estate Photographers Make?
this can vary A LOT depending on where you are. When I was shooting real estate photography I was living in Connecticut. In the north east houses are usually around 300-400k and I was charging on average around $300 per shoot. Mind you this included floor plans (use cubi casa for this, it’s a life saver) sometimes drone shoots and about 30-ish photos edited.