Being a real estate photographer is a very in-demand career today. With more people having access to a smartphone with good quality cameras, being a professional shutterbug has never been more popular.
If you are thinking about starting your journey as a real estate photographer or are already shooting some homes, then you are on track!
But before you take it seriously, there is something important that you should know.
You will not be able to call yourself a REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHER unless you have trained under someone who can teach you.
There are only two schools which offer formal training in this field (they’re expensive too!), so most photographers don’t get proper guidance until much later in their careers.
And even those professionals who attended one of these schools often didn’t receive full time employment, making it hard for them to keep up with lesson plans and business obligations.
So what happens when you start trying to learn how to do something? You either give up because you feel like you’ll never succeed or spend hours studying things that may not make a difference.
Some tips here may seem trivial or repetitive, but they all add up! They’ll help you avoid wasting money and effort on unneeded lessons and materials. And for the students who want more advanced knowledge, we list some great sources below.
Get a good lighting setup
A well-lit photo is much more likely to get attention than one that is dark or has poor quality light sources. Lighting can be natural light, external lights, or artificial light such as studio lamps!
The most common way to start learning how to be a real estate photographer is by buying your first camera with autofocus. This allows you to take photos without having to manually focus each time.
Your second step should be figuring out where all of the needed light comes from in the room or area being photographed. For example, if taking pictures outside, then making sure there are adequate amount of sun rays will help brighten up the picture. If using an indoor setting, then finding appropriate placement of light source is important.
After getting this basic knowledge, your third tip would be investing in a tripod. This will allow for stable photography so that your image does not look blurry due to movement.
Learn to take good photos
Being a real estate photographer means more than just taking pictures of houses, it means capturing stories that include your audience. Your potential clients will be someone else’s house so there is no one standard way to capture beautiful homes.
Your style may or may not be influenced by what kind of home you are shooting, but if you are trying to hone your own style, look into different styles and how they are achieved.
Real estate photography is an art form so experimenting with different styles and media (film vs digital) is okay! There are many great resources online and through local real estate photo associations for tips and tricks.
You can also visit your local mall or community center to take some informal portrait photographs which can help get you started as well.
Learn the basics of marketing your business
As mentioned before, being a successful real estate photographer means knowing how to market yourself. You will need to be able to promote yourself online by creating engaging content that people are going to want to read about and visit to learn more from you.
You can’t expect anyone to look at your work and automatically recognize it as yours unless you have successfully branded yourself in this field. This includes having an active Instagram account with lots of beautiful pictures and media, creating quality content for your website and social media pages, and developing creative ways to get exposure for your business.
By investing time into growing your personal brand, you’ll be setting yourself up for success as a professional real estate photographer.
Find your clients
As mentioned earlier, being a real estate photographer is not just about having a camera! Being a great real estate photographer means knowing how to capture the beautiful scenery and interior design of homes and giving them back what they want – pictures that inspire them to buy or sell their home.
Your potential client will be investing in your services, so you must make sure that you are going into the session with very clear goals. You should always have something in mind that you want to achieve from the meeting, either personal (more business for you) or professional (to improve your photography skills).
Making friends outside of work is also important as it helps you stay motivated and gives you some push-backs to keep yourself challenged. Reaching out to other professionals in your field can help too!
Running an Instagram account is another way to find new clients.
Consistency is one of the biggest keys to being an effective real estate photographer. This means showing up at every open house you are invited to, staying for the allotted time, bringing your full camera gear, and keeping yourself organized.
As noted before, having access to open houses is a key part of what makes a successful real estate photographer. It’s impossible to be successful if you don’t have enough open houses to fulfill your exposure requirements.
But just because you’re giving your best effort in promoting your business doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy what you see when you show up!
Some sellers will pull out all of the stops to make their home look its absolute best (which is great!), while others will leave everything as they found it (also good!). There’s not much you can do about the first, but hopefully this article will help you with the second.
I’ll also go into more detail about why being a real estate photographer isn’t always easy or fun. That way you’re ahead of the game, and you’ve prepared yourself.
Connect with your clients
As a real estate photographer, you will need to connect with people at all stages of their home buying process. This includes meeting potential buyers in person, doing online research for them, taking pictures they’ll be asked to review, and helping them understand the market value of their house once it is sold.
As a professional photographer, your success depends on creating strong relationships that last. The better you are at connecting with people, the higher your income as a real estate photographer will be!
It is very important to remember that not everyone will like or agree with your recommendations, even if you think they might be looking to buy or sell soon. That is totally normal!
Never force a relationship on someone, but always keep an open door. It may take some work, but eventually you’ll find a couple who feels comfortable sharing everything about themselves – including things they don’t like about the housing market. We’ve found many great homes by talking about how we feel the current market is performing and what could potentially help those seeking investment property.
Closing deals comes down to having good conversations and understanding timing differences, so make sure you’re never short on material.
Offer your service for less
Being a real estate photographer is more than just snapping pictures, it’s about telling stories through images. Your potential customers will look at those photos for clues as to what happens next in their lives, so making sure you are dedicated to your career is important.
That is why it is so crucial that you offer your services for a limited time only! During this time, you can be developing your craft or expanding your portfolio, but once your contract ends, you should consider looking for new employment.
If your dreams of being an entrepreneur fail, you can always take up another profession, like photography. It takes dedication and investment to become successful, which are both things you can afford now.
Make your business visible
As a real estate photographer, you will need to make your services known! This is one of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur – making yourself known. You must actively promote your business if you want it to succeed.
Getting more exposure for your business means putting in effort to meet people, sharing your services, and developing your photography skills.
You can do this by joining organizations, hosting events, creating content to share on social media, and promoting through forums and blogs.
By investing time into marketing your business, you’ll find that your income grows over time. And you’ll be doing something you love!
It’s very common to feel overwhelmed when trying to market your business, but don’t worry — we have tips here for you!
Here are some easy ways to grow your real estate photo studio without too much hassle. Read on for our top five tip ideas.