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Thread: Getting in to real estate photography. Prices and opinions please

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    Member chamee7's Avatar
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    Red face Getting in to real estate photography. Prices and opinions please

    Hi All,

    I'm new to Australia (but not to photography) and have some exposure to architectural photography. I was thinking of starting in real estate photography in Sydney as a part time work but not sure about the opportunities and pricing.

    Looking at photos in current real estate sites I feel that good photos will have a demand. But I'm not sure how the market is. I have few questions
    1. Is it a good idea and potential to start as a freelance real estate photographer in current market?
    2. Do agents get their photos done or they willing to hire professionals to do work?
    3. What ere the current paid rates for ordinary house or unit.


    Sorry if they are very bold questions as I'm still getting my self familiar with Sydney and around and not exposed very well to current market here.

    Thanks for giving some input.

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    Contact real estate agents, you will find most already have photographers, or do the photos themselves. Not much money to be made in this genre, I am afraid.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    You would have to show the agents that you could provide a product that was clearly superior to anything they have already and that it would increase their chance of a sale. I notice that there is a trend for some agents to offer "virtual tours" of houses that are a mixture of stills and video. I think(????) some specialist software might be involved but I'm not sure. Perhaps you could sound out some agents with a portfolio of your best images (I would check out the websites of these agents first to make sure you can offer something better). Maybe leave an introductory letter and a disk with some samples on them. I have looked up some real estate photographers and a run-of-the-mill price seems to be $250 - $400 for 10-15 high res photos (not sure if travel would be additional OR covers an additional visit at sunset for "night" shots). Just make sure you can deliver something better than what is currently available - give them a reason to want your services.

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    I wouldnt recommend looking at that genre at all.


    Whats being stated, and whats being charged are two very different things. With franchised businesses offering photographic coverage, interiors and exteriors, hi rise view, dusk shot, floor plans, virtual tours, and their first born child for under $100 (!), its not something that I would recommend to anyone new to the area.

    As a working pro in specifically the area of architecture, and property development, I have a reasonable insight in today's market. If you want to contact me directly, I'd be happy to have a chat with you
    William

    www.longshots.com.au

    I am the PhotoWatchDog

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    $100 ?

    Sheesh, that's so wrong
    Darren
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    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    Thanks for valuable comments.. Please keep em coming.

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    Lol, what more do you need to know ?

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    It looks like we still have two different arguments. Even though some clearly suggest this is not a good idea Ace55 suggests an approach. One thing I see when looking at most real estate advertisements is the photos used in those are not professional or up to any standard. Thats why I thought there will be a potential in the area. Couldn't really get something against or in this line so far

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    Some time ago I looked into buying a franchise doing exactly this sort of work.

    Pros are that it is work from home and therefore very limited overheads (once you have your gear).

    Cons are as have already been stated within this thread. A shoot would be in the region of $200. They would not expect additional charges for weekend / twylight shoots because the agent typically works those hours as well. Some agents are good and demand good images, some are not bothered and are prepared to accept any old rubbish or do them themselves. These are the ones that want it for $100 a go.

    The business I looked at made less money in the year than the total worth of my camera gear. Great if you like to have lots of spare time, not so good for paying the mortgage.

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    Thanks fess67

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    I had a colleague working for a few property agents part time in WA. He said it's about $150 a pop using his own gear. He was doing it full time but realised that earning $2+k a month and still needing to pay Super + taxes + fuel + car didn't do it. So he ended up working at the pizza joint part time as well to pay for his mortgage and other expenses.

    He was running around with a d700 + 14-24 + 24-70 + some tilt shift lenses and others + 5 strobes and stuff. Pretty good photos but definitely worth more than $150 i thought. It seems there are too many people who own bits of gear thinking they can do it as well and offering cut throat prices which resulted in low pay. I guess he could have been more firm with his pricing but maybe he was worried he wouldn't be able to get any work after that. Oh wells.
    Last edited by KeeFy; 19-10-2011 at 12:15pm.

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    In 2011 I couldnt think of a worse genre to enter as a professional photographer right now! Besides stock photography that is.

    Better off trying your luck at wedding photography

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    Hmm, event photography would probably be the hardest, or sport photography I think

    You either compete with the office junior or the mum with a shiny new d3100 doing it all for free

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Hmm, event photography would probably be the hardest, or sport photography I think

    You either compete with the office junior or the mum with a shiny new d3100 doing it all for free
    nahhhh mate, event photography in comparison to real estate is easy - minimal to no editing, especially if you are talking about night club work and formals, grads etc. I have been there and done all that on the road to starting out back in 2007 for a bit - including real estate and interior architecture too. I dont see mums hanging out in nightclubs or a lot of events either doing that. There is a lot more post processing involving in real estate photography with minimal returns, which is the deal breaker. Compared to event photography - shoot the card full - give card to owner/manager on the night or event day and go home - or in other cases move onto other night clubs in one night.

    and regarding sports - depends on what you classify as sports photography - professionally with the right lenses and media passes and connections, or someone rocking up to take photos and trying to sell them later to whoever is interested? Cant see mums with a d3100 doing that either in a professional way, now if she were to do it, I wouldnt really class her as a sports photographer anyway. It is a very gear exclusive photography genre. But a mum can definitely shoot a wedding or do stock or event or portraiture with a D3100 though and be taken more seriously than sports.

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    The challenge in events and sports mainly in the need of succeeding in an event you have no much control. Can't miss the golden moment. The experience and skills comes in to play more in those cases. Other than that the effort you have to made to produce the final result is comparatively low in events and sports if event is not a wedding.

    With real estate and architecture you have room to trial and you can take time to produce something extraordinary with your expertise. Stay home mums will not succeed in any of those cases unless client does not have a good eye or ready accept anything for the low money they pay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chamee7 View Post
    The challenge in events and sports mainly in the need of succeeding in an event you have no much control. Can't miss the golden moment. The experience and skills comes in to play more in those cases. Other than that the effort you have to made to produce the final result is comparatively low in events and sports if event is not a wedding.

    With real estate and architecture you have room to trial and you can take time to produce something extraordinary with your expertise. Stay home mums will not succeed in any of those cases unless client does not have a good eye or ready accept anything for the low money they pay.

    Room to trial ? Sorry unless I'm misunderstanding you, I'm just calling it like I see it here, and apologies if this is too blunt, but you are without any doubt deluding yourself if you think there is any truth in any of what you just said.

    As has been said - choose something else to do. You asked for advice and you've got some accurate advice from those who earn or are experienced in the genres referred to. Why argue with the advice you sought ?
    Last edited by Longshots; 21-10-2011 at 9:51pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeeFy View Post
    I had a colleague working for a few property agents part time in WA. He said it's about $150 a pop using his own gear. He was doing it full time but realised that earning $2+k a month and still needing to pay Super + taxes + fuel + car didn't do it. So he ended up working at the pizza joint part time as well to pay for his mortgage and other expenses.

    He was running around with a d700 + 14-24 + 24-70 + some tilt shift lenses and others + 5 strobes and stuff. Pretty good photos but definitely worth more than $150 i thought. It seems there are too many people who own bits of gear thinking they can do it as well and offering cut throat prices which resulted in low pay. I guess he could have been more firm with his pricing but maybe he was worried he wouldn't be able to get any work after that. Oh wells.
    Rather than just thank you for posting this, I thought it would be justified in simply quoting all of it, and saying to people to read this again, and again, and again. The $150 rate could have been more, except there's probably a dozen people in his area that are undercutting that low rate. And when they go out of business, there will be more to fill the gap. And the sad part is that more and more RE places simply do their own, produce crappy shots and still charge their clients for photography

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    Member shakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longshots View Post
    The $150 rate could have been more, except there's probably a dozen people in his area that are undercutting that low rate. And when they go out of business, there will be more to fill the gap.
    How many people use it as an easy foot in the door to working for themselves as a photographer? Low paying, but seems an easy way to start to build your portfolio and start to learn the basics of business? And as the quality of shot's doesnt seem to need to be exceptional there is a good margin for error as well

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shakes View Post
    How many people use it as an easy foot in the door to working for themselves as a photographer? Low paying, but seems an easy way to start to build your portfolio and start to learn the basics of business? And as the quality of shot's doesnt seem to need to be exceptional there is a good margin for error as well
    Problem with that is that when you do decide to up your prices, once you have the 'foot well and truly in the door', the RE agents will just go find someone else who is trying to get their foot in the door and accept their low paying offer. Then what happens to your working photographer? RE Agents, like most businesses are happy to take the lowest possible quote, if someone is skilled enough to do the job, cause it means their profit margin stays up.

    You are better off getting the photography skills first, and then starting the business, not learning as you go. Remember there are hundreds of other photographers out there all wanting to start up a business as well, who are probably just as good at taking the shots, and happy to undercut you. Using a 'cheap' business model is not going to do you any favours in the long run.

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    Selling any image to a newspaper is more difficult than: Real Estate; Stock Photography or Sports Coverage.

    WW

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