Photo by Digital Marketing Agency NTWRK on Unsplash
Starting a business is hard work, that’s for sure.
And when it comes to starting a real estate photography business, there are some added hurdles to overcome…
You have to have the technical knowledge to take great photos, of course. But you also need to have some level of business acumen to start, grow, and sustain the business over the long term.
But, if you follow these real estate photography business tips, it’ll be just a little bit easier!
Use This Easy Real Estate Photography Tip to Receive Payment
Photo by Matthew Kwong on Unsplash
Receiving payment, in the proper amount, on the proper date, is definitely the most difficult part about owning your own real estate photography business.
I struggled with it for years. Every once in a while, I still do. For some reason, a lot of people in this industry either don’t understand that photographers should be paid (like everyone else) before they deliver their final product, or they don’t care.
And, since we each own our own businesses, there isn’t a union out there fighting for us to get paid properly and on time, so we need to fight for ourselves.
No matter what your contract says, you will still have people not abide by it. So, I started sending previews of my final products to my clients when they are finished so that my client can see I’ve upheld my end of the bargain.
I’ll then inform them that, if there aren’t any issues with the photos, I’ll send them the download code for them as soon as I receive my payment.
It usually works, unless I’m dealing with an especially difficult client.
photo by AntonioGuillem via iStock
What happens when you come across that especially difficult client that absolutely refuses to pay? This article walks you through some recourse you can take.
You should always discuss your pay with as many people in the company as you can before taking the legal route. Chances are, whoever you are invoicing is not the one who will have to deal with the court fees. Try and find that person first. They’re the most helpful because they’re just as worried about the legal process as you are.
Make Sure You Know What Is Expected of You
photo by SeventyFour via iStock
These first two real estate photography business tips definitely go hand-in-hand. Your client deserves to know what they can expect in terms of payment, and you deserve to know what types of shots your client is expecting from you.
But, moreover, you should also ensure your client knows what to expect from you in terms of preparing the house for your shoot.
If you aren’t planning on mowing the yard and doing 3 hours of laundry in order to make sure the house can be photographed to the best of your ability, you need to ensure that the homeowner or real estate agent or whomever hired you knows what to prep.
This is also a good time to outline your reshooting fees and your Photoshop fees too. How much do you charge to come back if your client forgot to iron the bedspread? What about when your client wants you to Photoshop the dead grass in the yard?
For planning purposes, my answer is $60/hour for Photoshop and my minimum location fee also applies to reshoots.
Jessica Kobeisi runs a wedding photography business, but the way she built her photography contract is universal.
If you need help learning how to build your real estate photography contract, watch her video above.
Don’t Just Rely on Yourself
photo by nd3000 via iStock
You’ll never get better if you’re not asking for constructive criticism.
Forums, like the one on our site, are a great area to ask for feedback from fellow photographers because everyone is there for the same reason - to try and improve their photography.
Another way to improve your photography is by taking a class with fellow photographers, or by joining a group of local photographers who all shoot together.
The benefit of joining a photography class is that they are often taught by mentors who have been in the business for decades, but you can also find groups of like-minded people (and that’s a free and very valuable resource!).
Photo by James Brey via iStock
More to the point, while I'm all for learning independently and building your skill set on your own, sometimes the best route to success is to take advice from people that have been there, done that.
If you're considering a move into real estate photography, there's no better resource than an online school specifically for real estate photographers.
Real Estate Photographer Pro is one of the top schools in this niche, and I even included it on my list of the best online schools for photographers for 2019.
There's some very specific reasons for this...
First, you get lifetime access to Real Estate Photographer Pro, so it's not like you have to ram and cram and try to learn everything before a specified time period is up.
Second, this course provides you with tons of resources like videos, private community support, downloadable assets, and even direct access to the course instructor and founder of Real Estate Photographer Pro, Eli Jones.
Third, this course is as comprehensive as it gets! You'll learn the ins and outs of taking breathtaking photos, but you'll also learn how to operate your business. If you ask me, it's this business instruction that's the most valuable, because if you're like me, you probably have the skills to take great shots, but might get lost when it comes time to actually establish and run your business.
So, while self-sufficiency is awesome, so is learning from experts that have come before you. Get a leg up on the competition and learn how to be the best real estate photographer with Real Estate Photographer Pro!
Photoshop is Great, But It Can’t Do Everything
Photo by Jye B on Unsplash
Photoshop is an incredible tool that we abuse to a serious degree.
I can be lazy some days. Some days it takes a lot of effort just to get myself out of bed, so I’ve been guilty of the, “I’ll just Photoshop that out later,” line.
But, unless you can’t fix the problem with a house in under 5 minutes, it’s always easier to do it the old fashioned way of doing things right to begin with.
photo by BongkarnThanyakij via iStock
In real estate photography, one of the best things you can do to get your photos right is to bracket your exposures.
As this tutorial explains, bracketing exposures is really quite easy. It’s a simple matter of dialing in the right settings and using your camera’s auto exposure bracketing function.
What you get as a result of this is a series of photos, each of which is taken at a different exposure level - for example, one that’s exposed for the highlights, one for the midtones, and one for the shadows.
Once you’ve bracketed exposures, you merge the images together to create a final composite that’s well-exposed throughout. There’s no need to use Photoshop to brighten the shadows or to recover detail in the highlights because you have all the details you need already!
Not only does this technique get you improved results, but it also saves you time in post-processing. Likewise, by relying on the bracket and merge technique with natural light, you don’t have to spend money on expensive lighting equipment either.
That, my friends, is a win-win!