Maximizing Your Earnings as a Real Estate Photographer
In this post we are going to talk about ways to maximize the amount of money you earn as a real estate photographer.
So we all know that photography is central to our businesses. Every agent needs photos of their listings and photography is the most important part of what we do. But what about auxiliary services that we can provide? I truly believe that our jobs as real estate photographers have become a multimedia landscape and if you are solely offering photography and no other services you are selling yourself short and not earning to your fullest potential. By offering a multitude of services you open yourself up to the potential of making say $1000 at a single booking instead of just a couple hundred dollars for only doing photos. You also don’t want your agents hiring another company to perform some other service for their listing because you don't provide those services. Next time they may just hire that other company to do the photos instead of you because they provide all the other services they want and it's more convenient for them to just deal with one company. Do you see where I’m going with this? You want to be a one stop shop for your clients so they don’t have to go somewhere else to get the services they need. You’ll fulfill your clients needs and make them happy and you’ll earn more money in the process, win win. In the following few minutes, I’m going to outline some ideas for services you can provide your clients in addition to photography so that you can maximize the amount of money you are earning at your appointments. Let’s get into it.
Ok, so this one is probably pretty obvious but the most ordered service besides traditional photography for me is drone. Agents have the choice of ordering just photos or they can order photos and a short aerial video to go along with it. Aerial photography is a very good way for agents to show off the size of a property, the surrounding neighborhood and also its proximity to important nearby geographical features such as the ocean or beach, lakes, rivers, parks etc…
The great thing about drone services is that they don’t take that long to do on site and you can charge a good price for them. You could hire out another company that just specializes in drone work to provide these services for you but you would be missing out on nice profits. The equipment is not that big a hit financially speaking and given how high demand the service is I think it's a no-brainer investment.
The biggest possible obstacle involved here is that you need to become commercially certified to fly drones for your business which requires time for studying for the test and passing it. Also, I would highly recommend getting insurance to cover you in any accidents which is also an additional expense. Again though, I strongly believe it’s a worthwhile endeavor given the demand for drone and the amount of money your business can make from it. I made a video about doing drone shoots that you can view here:
So one of the main things agents want in addition to photos is video. Walkthrough videos help agents give their buyers a feel of what it's like to move through the space of the house and can be a very powerful marketing tool. I can only speak for myself but the demand for video has been exponentially increasing for my own business the past couple of years and I think it’s going to be a big part of the landscape of what we do in the near future. I really think it is a service that we all need to heavily consider implementing if you haven’t done so already.
The beauty of video is that we all pretty much possess the gear already. The cameras and lenses we already use for real estate photography are already equipped to make great videos. The only extra piece of gear you would need to invest in is a gimbal which can be obtained for only a few hundred dollars. Not a big investment and you can make that money back in only one or two video gigs. It’s definitely a service that I charge more money for than photos as well so there is real earning potential with video. It’s just a matter of familiarizing yourself with the process of how to do it and polishing it up. I made a video about how I create professional real estate videos that you can view here:
3D VIRTUAL TOURS
3D virtual tours are another very popular service requested by agents. It creates a 3D model of the home and allows the user to click around and move through it as if they were walking through the house. You can see how this can be an attractive marketing device for agents. It allows potential buyers to tour the home with not actually physically being there.
The biggest name in the game for this service is Matterport. The Matterport camera is a bit expensive though so it is kind of a big investment.
There are cheaper camera alternatives but the image quality isn’t quite as good. Might be a good idea though to go with one of the cheaper options to start off while you establish this service with your clients and get them invested into it.
You also have to pay hosting fees for the models you create as well. Just charge accordingly and educate your clients about it and it definitely can be a worthwhile and profitable tool to have in your arsenal.
Another service that a lot of realtors are looking for are floor plans. Floor plans are useful because they show how the home is laid out and the dimensions of each room which gives the potential buyer an opportunity to get an idea of how big the rooms are and how they all flow together. You can actually create floor plans with Matterport and kill two birds with one stone. There are other methods available out there to create floor plans as well such as Cubicasa. This is definitely a topic for another post that I plan on making in the future so definitely keep an eye out for that. In a nutshell, it’s a service that realtors want and definitely a way for us real estate photographers to earn more on our bookings so it's something worth considering offering to your clients.
This is an easy one and very inexpensive to implement into your services. Every agent needs room measurements for their listings. Most do it themselves but for a small fee you can offer to do it for them when you do the photography. After all you are going room to room already taking photos and it barely takes any extra time to do the room measurements. All you need to do is invest in a laser measure which will cost you around only $30. I charge $25 for the service which saves them the trouble of doing it themselves. Sometimes agents don’t even attend the shoots so it is a nice convenience for them so some of them will appreciate it. It's not a big earner obviously but as I said it takes next to no time to do and it’s a way to earn a little extra on a shoot. I just record the measurements in the notes app on my phone and text them off to the agent after the shoot.
BACK END SERVICES
There are numerous things you can offer to your clients after the shoot that can help maximize your earnings. One thing you can offer is property websites. A lot of agents love property websites to showcase their listings and all the media you are providing them all in one place. Buyers can view photos, floor plans, 3D tours and videos all in a property website. Another thing you can do is offer is virtual twilight photos or converting a day photo into a twilight photo by using editing techniques. Virtual staging is another way to earn more. If a home is vacant with no furnishings agents often ask for virtual staging. I don’t actually do the virtual staging myself, I outsource it. I use a company that I like that does a good job with it. I know the price they charge and mark it up a bit when I quote my clients a price so I earn something for taking care of the process. You can also offer rush editing or same day delivery to clients that want it for a fee.
So as you can probably see by now, the point I’m trying to get across is that it’s important to offer a wide array of services to your clients in order to maximize your earning potential. Offering the services is just half the battle though. You need to sell these services to your agents and show them how they are valuable. In addition to talking to them about it, I will throw one of these services in for free to some of my regular clients here and there so they can see what the service is like and get a taste for it. A lot of times they will like the response they get from it and start ordering it in the future.
Alright guys, thanks so much for reading this post and I really hope you found it helpful. I’ll see you again soon!