- 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
- Helpful Business Tips for Real Estate Photographers
- Critical Real Estate Photography Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make
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Real estate photography pricing is one of the most elusive figures to find on any photography tip website.
For one, photography pricing varies widely by niche. For another, photography pricing varies widely between different countries and states.
Plus, a lot of photography pricing is based on the individual. Nobody knows how much your life costs better than you.
But, there are a series of things you need to account for when setting your real estate photography pricing. Here are some things you might fail to take into account.
Build Driving Time Into Your Invoice
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Every hour you’re on the road is an hour you’re not working for another client. And, trust me, they add up.
Plus, all of that driving means you’re going to need to start replacing parts of your car sooner rather than later.
So, when building your real estate photography pricing sheet, make sure you’re building driving time into it.
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I build my driving time into my contracts in two ways: mileage and time.
For mileage, I just go by the IRS guidelines every year. Currently, the IRS allows taxpayers to deduct 58 cents for every business mile driven. Instead of deducting this amount from my taxes, I charge it to my clients.
I also account for the amount of time I will be driving to and from the location. If the location is within 25 miles of my house, I don’t charge anything because I figure this is a reasonable distance I would otherwise be commuting to and from an office with.
But, that’s a personal choice. You need to sit down and establish yours.
Recommended Real Estate Photography Books:
Create Different Packages Based Around Editing Time
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You know how there are clients that want five rounds of revisions and then there are clients who are happy with whatever you hand them?
You need to charge the first client for that additional time.
The way I do this is by simply building revisions into my contract. This way the client has my pricing sheet from day one and will pay a lot more for last-minute revisions.
Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash
Also, clients who have never worked with a photographer before don’t understand how difficult some editing is. Outline what you can and cannot do before the project starts.
It also helps to have software that makes editing your real estate photos an easier process.
For example, so many interior shots require the use of HDR to get well-exposed images throughout.
Processing those images can be laborious in some programs. In others, like Photomatix, it’s a clean and simple workflow that enables you to process your images in short order.
You can align the images, reduce noise, apply HDR presets, and use sliders to adjust the effects. You can also crop, sharpen, and straighten your images, among many other edits. There’s even batch processing!
Time is money in photography, so the less time you have to spend editing your images, the more time you can be out taking more photos.
Expedited Turnaround Means Additional Fees
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I have spent a fair share of my time finishing work up at 1 a.m. I also didn’t charge for last-minute requests for the first few years of my business.
But, one of the most life-changing real estate photography tips I ever received was to not be afraid to say “no” to clients.
After a few years of having your work responsibilities trump your personal responsibilities, you’ll think again about all of those short turnaround times.
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Now, thanks again to a “pricing tips for real estate photography” article I read a few years back, if I’m working before or after work hours, I’m getting paid for it.
You’ll need to figure out how much your personal time is worth to you before establishing this part of your contract.
Do Some Market Research
photo by USGirl via iStock
Photographers in Alaska get paid differently from photographers in Mexico.
Beginner photographers get paid less than photographers who have been in business for over a decade.
Wedding photographers get paid differently from real estate photographers.
There’s a lot of conflicting information about pricing out there, so it is absolutely essential that you do individualized research on your market.
photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz via iStock
How much do other real estate photographers get paid near you? While internet research may be enough for you to figure out a good number, in other circumstances you may need to reach out to other professionals in your area.
Honestly, I’ve never had trouble finding someone to tell me how much they’re charging, because they’ve probably been in your shoes before and know it’s hard to establish a good goal.
Pay Yourself First
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This is the most important tip of all these real estate photography business tips.
You need to sit down and budget your personal life before you can ever budget your professional life. Some of us simply need more money, whether it's because you have kids or you can’t give up your yearly vacation to Barbados.
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash
Take into account all of the things you will no longer receive from a regular 9-to-5 job, like health insurance, retirement savings, and life insurance.
Once you have a list of all your personal expenses, then you can begin to work out a more refined pricing strategy that covers all those expenses, your business expenses, and allows you to put money toward retirement too.