Real Estate Photography Pricing...A Few Factors to Consider.
Okay, so you might be reading this as someone interested in pursuing a career as a real estate photographer or maybe you already are one or simply are curious to learn how and why real estate photographers charge what they charge. The purpose of this post, is to bring several important items to the forefront that affect the pricing real estate photographers set for their services. Now it is important to note that not all real estate photographers have the following expenses equally but rather, can have variations in each category that inevitably will cause their pricing to be different than others who work in the same markets as they do. Furthermore, not all real estate photographers work on a Full-Time basis as some hold other freelance jobs or work in other capacities to generate a sustainable income, which also is a reason why it is not recommended for photographers to base their pricing strictly off what other photographers in their market are charging as their work status (being either Full-Time or Part-Time) can be different and also, their quality of work and experience might not be the same as well. With that said, it is now appropriate to look at the things that contribute to the various pricing options available for real estate photography services.
Here is one category where most if not all real estate photographers will spend the greatest amount of money and time on. With the rapidly changing technological landscape where camera manufacturers and now aerial/drone makers are churning out amazing products with what seems to appear every couple of years, photographers often have to reinvest in these products ranging from DSLR cameras, lenses, drones (if that is a service they offer as part of their real estate photography services), and computer programs in order to maintain the level of quality and service they offer to their clients. All of these costs (usually several thousands of dollars) must be taken into account when setting pricing for real estate photography. Some photographers set a yearly budget for their equipment upgrades and then spread out their budget over the course of a year. For example, say a photographer decides to set a $2,000/year budget. If you were to spread that over the course of a year you would be looking at $166.66 per month, which the photographer must account for when determining his or her pricing structure and also the number of bookings needed to cover this expense.
2. Vehicle Expenses
Another element to consider when it comes to establishing real estate photography pricing is to determine the approximate costs for maintaining your vehicle during the year. This can range from several hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the overall condition of your vehicle and whether or not you own or lease it. The types of items that can be included are things like: routine oil changes, tire rotations, battery replacements, car inspections, auto insurance, and car washes to help maintain your car's paint and appearance. In addition to that, there is fuel and depending on how busy you are as a real estate photographer, you might have to put gas every couple of days to once a week.
Another area that impacts what real estate photographers charge for their services comes from the actions that follow a photo session at a property. Established real estate photographers that have a high demand or volume of work realize that it is often very difficult to edit all jobs completed in a day and deliver back to their clients within a reasonable timeframe (usually 24-48hrs after a photo shoot). Therefore, many real estate photographers that are in demand in their respective markets will utilize the services of post production editing teams to help them edit their jobs and allow a quicker and more efficient turnaround time, which in turn will allow their clients (Realtors) to upload the photos more quickly onto the MLS systems. Again, like the previous items discussed, the costs associated with incorporating these services varies from one photographer to the next and from one editing company to the next one but, must be taken into account when determining the amounts to charge for real estate photography.
4. File Sharing
In addition to utilizing editing teams and/or companies, many real estate photographers rely on file sharing services such as DropBox to enable sharing the final edited images with their clients. The cost for this service can vary depending on the option the photographer selects but ranges from $8.25 - $12.50 per month. The ability to share the images electronically saves the photographer time in delivering the photos and also, benefits their clients by having the images readily available and with access from multiple devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
As you can see from these different elements, providing real estate photography services is both an art and a science in that we as photographers must be smart and rational in how we manage our business expenses while also figuring out ways to establish and promote competitive rates that will attract the clientele we seek to do business with. It takes time and continued adjustments but, in the end we must ensure we provide ourselves appropriate compensation for our hard work and professionalism we offer and demonstrate to our clients. If you are reading this as someone interested in starting a real estate photography business or want to begin offering real estate photography services please keep in mind this post and share with others you feel will benefit from this as well.
Have a great day!
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