How do you get started in real estate photography?
So maybe you’re a wedding photographer or a portrait photographer, and you’re thinking of getting some work as a real estate photographer. That’s great, but you need to be aware of a few things.
Here’s a video I put together that will help:
How to get started in real estate photography
My name is Darryl Stringer and I’m a business coach who specialises in helping people who do real estate photography, and a common question I get asked is, How do I get started in real estate photography?
This might be coming from someone who is currently working outside photography, or maybe they’re doing portraits or weddings or pets and they like the idea of transitioning across to real estate photography because they’ve had a look at it and thought it looks pretty cool, or maybe they’re adding it as another service that they offer but they’re not sure how to get into it.
So let’s look at how to get started in real estate photography, and first of all your photography has to be very, very good. If you’re not shooting well then you probably shouldn’t be doing it professionally, so get that right first.
Now a lot of people are self taught, and others learn from someone else. Now self taught is great, and maybe you’re looking at videos on YouTube or something, and you’ve come across videos like this one, but it can be very slow and you can make a lot of mistakes and it takes a lot longer. If you were to learn from someone else who has been there before then they can help guide you in what you need to do, and you’re not confused by the 1000 different opinions you get from different people online or wherever.
You can also get there much quicker if you learn from someone, and that time frame from getting started to being able to do great work can be significantly compressed. So then you’re not wasting those months or years trying different things, but instead you just follow the formula that someone else hands you, which means more clients more quickly, which is good news for your bank account.
Part-time or full-time:
In terms of getting started, you might be able to start doing this part time. Maybe you’re an accountant during the day and you might be able to do some twilight shoots after work. If you price it right you might be able to do quite well as you continue with your main job during the day. That way this doesn’t become a financial strain on you, you just do it when you can and if it really takes off, and you love it, then maybe you can put aside that full time job and do this all day every day.
Or maybe you’re already working as a photographer, and then you could just fit this in between those other jobs. So you might be doing weddings on the weekend, in which case doing real estate photography during the week could work out really well for you, although you’d probably need to outsource the photo editing for your weddings and for this in order to fit everything in if the real estate photography area got busy for you. That’s a good thing, but you’ll need to be able to manage a heavy workload.
Of course, you might decide to jump into this full-time. You leave your old job behind and go all in on real estate and architectural photography. That’s great, because then you can work on this and put time into building up your connections with clients and prospects, which is great, but be aware of your cash flow, and don’t be too optimistic about getting clients. Assume that you’ll be picking up new clients fairly slowly, and factor that in to make sure you’re not going to run out of funds after a month.
Now that leads into having a marketing system. A lot of photographers make a big mistake by putting all of their time into creating great images and they don’t put time into marketing, and there are a lot of great photographers out there who are struggling financially because they don’t invest time and money in marketing their business.
So when looking at a marketing system you’ll be looking at having a highly professional social media presence and website. You’ll also want to be able to give those prospects a reason why they should choose you above all of the other options available to them, including doing it themselves. What are the benefits they get from using you instead of the photographer they are currently using, or instead of the iPhone with the fish eye lens that they currently use?
Have a high level of service:
And the third thing that a lot of photographers miss is having a high level of service. It’s about turning up on time, it’s communicating well, it’s staying in touch, it’s letting people know what’s going on. I mean, really good communication gets you a lot of the way there, and that’s where a lot of photographers mess things up because they don’t have that system well-established for them to deliver that level of service.
It’s also worth noting that 60 to 80 percent of photographers fail in the first two years, and it’s probably because they didn’t get the right balance between quality photography and having a marketing system that brings in the right kind of clients. If that balance is out, so maybe they’re too focused on photography that they don’t do any marketing, or maybe they’re too focused on sending emails to every agent in their city but they don’t create fantastic, amazing photos that makes clients go ‘wow, that’s incredible!’, then they’re probably going to be counted amongst this statistic of failed photographers rather than being a successful photographer.
Get your photography pricing right:
So the final thing I’ll mention is that you have to price yourself right from the beginning, and don’t try and start your real estate photography business by being the super cheap photographer. So you can’t be doing great work, and spending a couple of hours at a shoot then a couple of hours editing, and you’re doing it all for $75 because once you get too busy then you’re going to find it really hard to put your prices up at that moment.
The triangle of photography, marketing and pricing:
So if you get these three things right, this triangle of photography, marketing and pricing, then I think things should go pretty well for you. To give myself as an example, I did very, very well from real estate photography, and my business did millions of dollars in sales and I had multiple photographers working for me, working for top agents across my city, and I had a really nice business. So it can be done, but you need to get this balance right.
Do you need some help?
Now just so you know, I help photographers who want to build their real estate and architectural photography businesses, so if you think I might be able to help you then feel free to write to me, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Are you an experienced real estate photography who is ready to step up to the next level? If so then click here for another video of mine: How to step up beyond real estate photography