Q: "I'm trying to expand my photography to commercial and residential real estate photography and I was wondering what your advice for diving into this area might be? Should I network with real estate agents or just approach businesses and individuals directly, or a little of both? Thanks! P.S. I LOVE your street and travel photography!" Melissa M.
A: "Thank you for your question Melissa! I shot interiors for the real estate industry for a number of years and I quite enjoyed it. If this is a new field you are trying the brake into, I suggest treating it in a similar way you would portraiture for example. By that, I mean the you may have to do a few freebies to build a portfolio. You probably have relatives, friends or co-workers who are planning to put their house on the market. Offer your skills to photograph their property and use your best images to showcase your work. Once you can produce consistent quality work, start by approaching real estate professionals in your area. You'd think that, with the poor quality of images we see on the MLS, selling your service would be easy. Well, it isn't so. Real estate has suffered a great deal in the past few years and most agents don't want to spend the extra money to hire a photographer. Many also think that they know what they are doing because they have a decent camera... Fortunately, things are slowly changing and many recognize the value of quality images and are ready to hand that responsibly to a real professional. The higher the selling price, the more likely the agents will hire a pro photographer. The best way to price your service is to base it according to the property square footage. The bigger the property, the higher your fee.
You may also consider teaming up with interior stagers and offer both services as a package. Most real estate professionals will appreciate the time he or she will save by not having to deal with several subcontractors to get the property on the market in a timely manner. Be aware that this is a fast pace job. Many times, your real estate client will expect the shoot, the processed images and the virtual tour to be completed in 24 hours or even 'yesterday'! Make sure that you make it clear before taking the job if you cannot deliver it within an unrealistic timeframe. I hope this helps. Good luck!"
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