Commercial Real Estate Photography 101
- Types of Commercial Properties
- Commercial Real Estate Photography Paperwork
- How to Market a Commercial Real Estate Photography Business
- Commercial Real Estate Photography With a Drone
- Processing Real Estate Images
- Spas or salons
- Office spaces
- Shops or malls
- Public spaces
- 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
- What You Need to Do Before Taking a Single Real Estate Photo
- 3 Real Estate Photography Cameras to Consider for 2020
- Selecting the Right Drone for Your Photo and Video Needs
- Drone Photography Tip: Understanding FAA Rules and Regulations
Photo by Valeriia Bugaiova on Unsplash
I worked in the real estate photography space for years before I got my first commercial real estate photography gig, and I was nervous.
I wrongly imagined that commercial real estate photography would be similar to other real estate photography, just with a bigger paycheck.
Unfortunately, I had to create a new contract, buy a new lens, and finally contact a lawyer friend to make sure I hadn’t messed anything up along the way.
When I started my commercial real estate photography career I wish I would have known these things.
Table of Contents
Types of Commercial Properties
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First things first. You need to understand the different types of commercial real estate photography properties, like:
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While there are a lot of physical differences between these types of properties, there isn’t very much you need to change in your routine to shoot them, so long as you keep these two things in mind: showcase the amenities and the entrance.
Potential buyers want to know what this space offers them, and their clients, that other spaces don’t, hence the amenities. They also want to get a feel for the space as quickly as possible, which is where the entrance shot comes in.
Recommended Real Estate Photography Books:
Commercial Real Estate Photography Paperwork
photo by Cytonn Photography via Pexels
This is the part of the process that nobody wants to talk about but is most important.
You are going to need a new contract, a commercial model release, a license for use, and a formal quote.
Let’s start with the formal quote, which will be the first document you use in the commercial real estate photography process.
You will have already negotiated your pricing before you get to the formal quote because the formal quote will be what your client will show to his or her boss when trying to decide if they want to go with your business. So, it needs to look professional and be worded professionally.
If you aren’t great with programs like Adobe InDesign, you may want to hire someone to create this contract template for you.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
You will also need a commercial model release form, which allows your client to share your images with different members of the press for public relations purposes and should be factored into your overall formal quote since your photos very well may end up being used in national publications.
Finally, you will need a license for use, which outlines the ways your client may use your photos, and a contract, which should include information about all of these documents combined in one easy to read document.
How to Market a Commercial Real Estate Photography Business
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Just like with our real estate photography tips list we made, the number one best way to market yourself as a commercial real estate photographer is to make sure your portfolio is perfect.
However, creating the perfect portfolio should never be an endeavor you face alone because it’s important to get second and third opinions from friends and strangers alike.
Who is your target audience for your portfolio? Do you have enough photographs to break your portfolio down into a few separate portfolios, like a portfolio for hotels and a portfolio for office spaces?
Your portfolio should highlight the ways your photography is unique.
Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash
Additionally, if you’re serious about commercial real estate photography you will want to start investing your time online.
You will need a simple, intuitive website that showcases your portfolio and allows clients to contact you, hopefully from multiple pages on the website. You should also include a page where you explain your business and another page where you give some background about yourself.
Your blog should also be housed on your website so that you can draw more people to your website, but in order for this marketing tactic to work, you must be writing a new blog around three times every week to build a readership base.
Photo by Evangeline Shaw on Unsplash
Finally, you will want to start networking with professionals in your area, and if you don’t already happen to know anyone in the commercial real estate space then you can join one of the tens of thousands of real estate networking groups in the world.
Bonus tip: If you’re serious about learning how to market your commercial real estate photography business, you need to do more than read a few articles about it. Real Estate Photographer Pro is an online group of professional photographers who have already learned all of these tips before and can walk you through it.
There’s no point in reinventing the wheel, and nobody understands that like Real Estate Photographer Pro. They have easy to understand videos on all types of marketing, videos on editing, and a Facebook group where you can ask any question you have!
You can also take part in weekly Q&A sessions and learn even more tips and tricks for honing your real estate photography skills. It’s simply a great way to connect, learn, and network !
Commercial Real Estate Photography With a Drone
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If you’re just entering the commercial real estate photography industry, and I’m assuming you are since you’re reading a 100-level article about the industry, get yourself a drone and learn how to use it.
No other subsection of photography has embraced drone photography like commercial real estate photography has.
Let’s face it, most commercial buildings are just too small to capture from the ground.
Photo by Caleb Semeri on Unsplash
You’ll need to do a few things before you set out for your first drone shoot, though. First, you’ll need to ensure you can make it out to the property on a day and time where the weather will be clear because it would suck to get there and be unable to send up your drone.
You’ll also want to plan the exact shots you want, since camera drones have very limited flight times.
If you’re looking for a recommendation of a great drone that will last you the course of your career, DJI’s Mavic 2 Pro Drone is perfect for you.
This drone features a 20MP Hasselblad camera that shoots 4K video, can handle low light shooting, and can be up in the air for up to 31 minutes at a time, which will give you plenty of time to capture all the footage your clients need.
It’s an investment at $1,729, but what would you expect of a camera drone that can transmit full HD video at distances of up to 5 miles? It’s an impressive price for an impressive camera that is sure to impress your clients.
Processing Real Estate Images
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Whether you take photos of commercial properties from the ground or the air, you’ll need to process those images for maximum impact.
One of my favorite real estate-specific processing programs is Photomatix.
It works as a standalone program or as a plugin for Lightroom (or Capture One, if that’s your program of choice).
It comes with 6 HDR styles, over 70 HDR settings, and 40 HDR presets, all of which enable you to create beautifully exposed images of commercial properties inside and out.
There’s even a batch processing feature to speed up the process and a variety of tools - like advanced ghost removal - that help you clean up your images and put the best foot forward for each commercial property you photograph.
Processing your images is not an option here - it’s a must if you want to impress potential buyers!