- Building a Real Estate Photography Business: Permits, Finances, and Insurance
- Getting Started in Drone Photography for Real Estate
- Basic Camera Settings for Real Estate Photography Exteriors
- Best Camera Settings for Real Estate Photography Interiors
photo by ucpage via iStock
I’ve made my fair share of real estate photography mistakes in my career. We all have.
While some of these mistakes are mistakes we all need to make in order to learn, there are a good number of real estate photography mistakes I see rookies make all the time that are so cringe-worthy.
Below, I offer a quick list of some common real estate photography mistakes that you need to avoid at all costs.
Mistake #1: Catching Flash Shadows in Your Photos
photo by Studio Peck LLC via iStock
Using a flash for interior real estate photography is a mistake, if you ask me.
Well, aside from the expense of buying lighting gear and the time it requires to set it up for each shot, flashes can leave harsh shadows in your photos if you aren’t careful.
As you can see in the images above and below, this creates a seamless look without any ugly shadows from a flash.
photo by HRAUN via iStock
What’s more, merging bracketed exposures gets you a well-exposed image throughout - note how the room itself is beautifully bright and that the detail is retained in the window.
Without bracketing and merging, you’ll often find that the interior space is dark and the window is well-exposed or the window is completely blown-out and the room is well-exposed.
So, by using this technique, you avoid all kinds of problems, not just ugly flash shadows!
Mistake #2: Not Learning the Necessary Business Skills
Photo by zeljkosantrac via iStock
It's one thing to understand how to take quality real estate photos.
It's another thing to understand how to run a photography business - and a successful one, at that.
Ideally, before you dip your toes into the world of real estate photography, you'll take the time to learn the requisite photography and business skills. And a great way to do that is by learning online from the best in the business!
I recently came upon Real Estate Photographer Pro, and was impressed from moment one by the sheer volume of materials from which you can learn how to be a successful real estate photographer.
As mentioned above, you need to learn photography and business skills, and that's precisely what you do in this course.
With more than 80 video lessons on everything from marketing to camera settings to post-processing, this is truly a one-stop-shop for learning all-things real estate photography.
And it isn't some kind of one-and-done learning experience, either - there are dozens of downloadable assets and you get full lifetime access to the course, too.
That means that you can learn at your own pace, reference course materials when you need a quick refresh, and learn new skills as you go for the duration of your career.
With Real Estate Photographer Pro at your side, there's nowhere to go but up!
Mistake #3: Giving Away Extras for Free
Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash
There are a lot of photographers that give away work for free, myself included.
But there’s a difference between giving away an add-on - say, sky replacement in the primary exterior photo - and giving away all of your work for free.
There are many photography tutorials that tell you that working for free is a great way to generate a client list. I have to disagree.
If you start out working for free, you’re not only making zero money, but you’re also conditioning clients to expect your work to be cheap.
Then, as you gain experience and begin to raise your rates, even low rates will seem high compared to the free services you used to offer.
Working for free undervalues you and your work. Don’t do it!
In the video above, True Homes Photography discusses different real estate photography pricing structures.
It helped me out a lot when I found it. Hopefully it will do the same for you!
Mistake #4: Using All of Your Income to Buy New Gear
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
Photographers are passionate about their careers. You need to be passionate in order to run your own business, but you also need to be passionate when you work in an industry that traditionally undervalues your work.
So, it can be difficult to not direct this passion into the latest and greatest photography equipment.
I was discussing this article with a friend who is a graphic designer. We were primarily talking about gear acquisition syndrome, which is when you basically take your entire paycheck and put it back into new equipment for your business. It’s a dangerous game to play!
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
She gave me a good metaphor for this problem. Up until 2015, the university she works for required all of their employees to upgrade their computers every 2 years since equipment was just that much better with every new edition.
The university ended their policy in 2016. The new policy is to use the equipment you have until it absolutely falls apart (or your skills outgrow the equipment).
Photography gear is not improving at the rate it has been for the past century. I still use a Canon 5D Mark II for goodness sakes!
Unless you truly need new equipment because the equipment you have can’t do something you need it to do (like, shooting 4K video), then you should stick with what you have.
Use the extra money to invest in marketing or to put in retirement instead.
Mistake #5: Getting Cocky
Photo by Marco Xu on Unsplash
I had been working as a real estate photographer for two years before I was asked to photograph my first million dollar home.
It was a huge deal for me. I couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks and I didn’t sleep the night before at all.
But I have to say the shoot went off without a hitch despite my nervous energy about photographing a very expensive home.
After that, I got a little to big for my britches. I actually turned down a few jobs for “lesser” properties because I was convinced other million-dollar homes were right around the corner.
It’s one thing to be confident in your abilities. It’s another to be cocky about it.
When you find success, don’t let it get in the way of continuing to learn and grow. Be confident, but be humble too. No one like a photographer that’s a jerk, so if you want to score more real estate photography jobs, keep yourself in check, put your head down, and work hard!