- Powerful Post-Processing Software on a Budget
- Learn Business Skills on the Cheap
- Inexpensive Photography Insurance
- Budget-Friendly Camera and Lens
- A Fully-Featured (Yet Inexpensive) Tripod
- Low-Cost Gimbal
- The Business of Real Estate Photography: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting your own Real Estate Photography Business
- Photographing Real Estate Interiors and Architecture: A Comprehensive Guide to Equipment, Technique and Workflow for Real Estate Photography
Photo by AVANTECTURE on Unsplash
Whether you’re new to the real estate photography game or have been at it for years, we all know one thing: real estate photography gear is not cheap.
In fact, real estate photography is one of the most expensive photography niches to start out in, strictly because of the amount of additional gear you need.
However, if you know where to find inexpensive real estate photography gear, then you will already have a leg up on your competition.
Table of Contents
Powerful Post-Processing Software on a Budget
photo by diego_cervo via iStock
One of the biggest challenges for real estate photographers is dealing with dynamic range that’s simply too much for their cameras.
This is a particular problem when photographing dark interior spaces with bright windows.
Some real estate photographers rely on the bracketing technique discussed here, which is a great way to create well-exposed images that have nice details in the highlights, midtones, and shadows of interior rooms.
But you have to merge these images together to get the final composite. This process can be streamlined if you utilize software like Photomatix Pro. See what I mean in the video above.
You get over 70 HDR settings and 40 HDR presets along with six HDR styles to fine-tune your photos.
What’s more, you can batch process images, use the presets and tools specifically for real estate photography, and utilize features like advanced ghost removal and automatic alignment of handheld photos.
Time is money in the real estate photography business, and with Photomatix Pro, you can save time so you can make more money!
Recommended Real Estate Photography Books:
Learn Business Skills on the Cheap
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I’ve spent my fair share of both money and time on conferences and conventions. I was told it was the best way to learn real estate photography tips and to network at the same time, and while I have met some people through these expensive means, it never seems to quite be worth it.
I mean, I meet more people in local photography groups that are free anyways!
And, I learn all of my new real estate photography skills through Real Estate Photographer Pro’s online courses.
Real Estate Photographer Pro was founded by a real estate photographer who realized there were absolutely not enough online resources for real estate photographers when he first entered the business.
The courses here are budget-friendly. They’re totally online so you can get to them when you get to them (I’m a late night learner myself). Plus, they build the exact same type of community that a traditional convention does through a members Facebook group and a weekly Q & A.
Additionally, whereas real estate photography courses on YouTube only give you just enough to try and attempt a new skill, the videos on Real Estate Photographer Pro come with downloads like templates, raw photos and presets to truly walk you through every step.
Inexpensive Photography Insurance
Photo by sturti via iStock
One of the essentials of owning a photography business is having the proper insurance to cover you in times of need.
Equipment insurance certainly comes to mind given that you likely have multiple cameras, lenses, a drone, and other very expensive photography gear that travels with you from one property to the next.
And covering all that gear doesn't have to be time-consuming or expensive....
At Full Frame Insurance, for example, you can get coverage day or night on their website, and do so quickly and easily.
Plus, with equipment coverage that starts at just $55 a year, you can get the coverage you need without breaking the bank.
Whether the properties you need to photograph are right next door to one another or in locations around the world, your policy is designed to respond to equipment insurance claims during transit and while you're on and off premises.
Full Frame also has general liability insurance that starts at just $99 per year.
The policy covers all sorts of eventualities, from medical expenses to property damage, personal injury, and even advertising injury.
When the scope of your work is to enter people's homes to take photos, it's critical that you have the proper insurance coverage. And Full Frame Insurance makes getting the right coverages a painless and inexpensive process!
Budget-Friendly Camera and Lens
Photo by Tim Graf on Unsplash
We all know that your camera and lens are the most expensive real estate photography gear you need.
But, if you’ve read the site for very long, you know all of the editors on PhotographyTalk love buying these expensive items used to save the cash.
Usually, when photographers think about buying used cameras they think about the process of going through a shady website like Craigslist to try and do so. But, it’s 2020. There are better options for inexpensive real estate photography gear.
One of our favorites, Gear Focus, is a used gear community built by photographers, for photographers.
Buyer and seller safety is paramount, so you can rest assured that you get the best deals on gear, and that if something goes awry, Gear Focus will work hard to rectify the situation.
Additionally, if you have gear to sell, Gear Focus gives you unlimited free listings, and when an item sells, their seller fees are just 3.5 percent - among the lowest in the business.
Gear Focus is all about building a community for creatives where buying and selling gear is fair and safe. If you need a budget-friendly camera body, an additional lens, or other kinds of gear, Gear Focus is the place to look.
A Fully-Featured (Yet Inexpensive) Tripod
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Another incredibly expensive real estate photography piece is the tripod. You can find tripods into the thousands of dollars range, and frankly I’d rather buy myself a well-deserved vacation.
I’ve been a fan of Ikan for years because they have top-shelf products that won’t break the bank. That includes high-quality, sturdy tripods you can use for real estate photography.
I’m a particular fan of Ikan’s professional camera video tripod which is under $200, can hold up to 8.8 lbs of equipment, and provides an ease of use you normally can’t find in a tripod under $500.
This tripod comes with separate locking mechanisms for panning and tilting, can stand anywhere from 30 inches to nearly 66 inches (which is more than enough height for real estate photography), and comes with a carrying bag I can sling under my normal camera bag.
What’s more, the fluid head has a fixed counterbalance that helps balance out heavy loads, and the middle spreader gives the tripod additional stability.
The last thing you want when you’re taking photos or videos of a property is have your tripod fail you.
I’ve used Ikan tripods for years, and can attest to their build quality and features. The best part is the budget-friendly price!
photo by Gustavo Muñoz Soriano via iStock
While a tripod helps you to shoot videos of properties with your camera, sometimes you need a hand-held option for your smartphone and that’s when a gimbal comes in handy.
But, again, gimbals can be incredibly expensive for those just starting out in the real estate photography game, and I’d rather spend that money on other parts of my business.
Again, I think Ikan is one of the best manufacturers for gimbals for real estate photography on the market today.
Ikan’s FLY-X3-PLUS 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal is just $75, features 3-axis stabilization, and supports a wide range of smartphones and GoPros.
Plus, it comes with an extra battery!
This rig is simple to set up and operate so you can start shooting straight away. And with its 3 axes of active stabilization, your videos will have a smooth, cinematic feel that entices buyers to want to learn more about the property.
photo by scyther5 via iStock
And that’s what this is all about...equipping yourself so you can tell each property’s story to get it sold.
But creating those stories doesn’t have to be expensive!
As you’ve seen here, there are many inexpensive photography accessories you can buy that will help you achieve better-looking photos without busting your budget.