Most photographers struggle with pricing their services. That can be even more difficult for real estate photography pricing.
Let’s take a look at a few things to do when pricing your real estate photography services.
This way you can ensure you’re charging what you’re worth.
Study Your Competition to Learn the Local Rates
The more you know about current real estate photographers in your local market, the better. You know what rates your competition charge (or starting rates or rate ranges). And you know what level of quality they deliver.
- Are you priced higher than most? Great, but now you need to make sure people know why.
- Are you priced lower than most? One question you need to ask yourself is ‘how much do other real estate photographers charge’. This will give you a better idea of making sure you can still have a sustainable business.
- Do you offer something unique that you know your competition doesn’t? Great! Let people know about that differentiation.
Knowing your local market will help you define your offerings and know where you fit in.
In my local market, there are real estate photographers who charge anywhere from $100 to $500. And this is for photos only. Rates go up for things such as twilight photos or video tours. Larger-than-usual homes also mean higher rates.
Have a look at your competitors’ portfolios. You’ll see that the quality of work delivered can also vary greatly from one end of the price range to the other.
Talk to Agents to Explore Market Needs
Asking clients what they’re looking for and what turns them off is a simple way to hone in on your offering.
Do your clients love that they only deal with you directly? Fantastic! Now you know that you need to remain the face of the company, even if you bring in outside help.
Do your clients look for the fastest possible turnaround? Then you want to make sure that your process is streamlined so you can deliver as quickly as possible.
With real estate, turnaround time is often very fast. Real estate agents are anxious to get the home on the market as soon as possible. This tends to mean a 24-48 hour turnaround.
Real estate agents can also tell you what extras they need most often. These can include video tours, twilight photos, or neighbourhood photos.
Be sure to take these into consideration when thinking about your rates. Think about offering them as add-ons agents can choose for individual listings.
Besides talking to agents, don’t be afraid to reach out to other real estate photographers in your area!
How Quality vs Quantity Will Affect Your Price
There are two basic routes that you can take when it comes to real estate photography pricing – quality or quantity.
Do you want to do standard listings, but streamline your process to do a large quantity of shoots? Or do you want to photograph high-end listings, but take more time with each shoot? This would mean doing fewer total shoots.
If you choose high-end listings, this is where you’ll get more caught up in the editing. You’ll also take your time a bit more during the shoot. Photos tend to show off unique design elements or sweeping views. With this option, though, comes a higher rate.
You’ll be investing more of your time, energy, and expertise into each shoot. This means that clients need to invest accordingly.
If you choose to focus on quantity, then you’re still delivering quality work. But the expectations are set a bit lower. Instead of focusing on artistry, you’ll want to make your process as streamlined as possible. That way you can turn over client work as quickly as possible.
The focus will be on delivering sharp, clear, and well-lit wide shots. Potential buyers will be able to see each space in the home.
Many of the listings will feel the same, so the process can feel a bit repetitive. The advantage of this route is that there’s a larger market looking for these services. There are simply more listings in the median range.
This means clients will be easier to find at the beginning, which makes this option a great one to start with.
With lower price tags, this is also a great range to fall into while you learn the ropes. You can refine your workflow until you’re ready for high-end property shoots. The price tag for each shoot will be smaller.
Your investment of time and energy should be as well.
You can certainly offer your services for all types of properties. But I’ve found that most photographers fall into one niche or the other for the bulk of their work after some time.
How to Reverse Engineer Your Real Estate Photography Pricing
To reverse engineer means to take a look backwards at your process. This way you can have a better idea of what to charge up front.
For example, think about how many hours you spend on a typical real estate photography job. From client communications to travel time to the actual shoot and the editing time.
Now consider how much you need to make hourly to cover expenses, pay taxes and other costs. Then leave yourself enough profit.
Multiply that hourly rate needed by the number of hours that you take for a shoot. And voila! This should be the real estate photography rates you charge.
This can be a tough one to carry out. We often spend a different amount of time on each shoot.
It works to at least give you clarity on what you’ve been getting hourly. And you’ll figure out whether you need to go up or stay at current rates.
Keep in mind that in the early stages your shoots will take longer and the times will vary more. As you develop your workflow more, the time spent on each job will stabilise.
The overall time spent on each job will get shorter.
This is a great exercise to try early on to see how different rates break down. You can also try it when you’re a more seasoned photographer to audit your rates (which is a good idea every year or so).
Test Your Offering and See If Your Rates Are Good
At the end of the day, there will still be some trial and error. Once you’ve done your research and decided on an offering, put it out into the world and take note of reactions.
Stay open to the possible need to make adjustments to fit what your clients need. But don’t let yourself get swayed by every tiny bit of feedback either.
It’s always a good idea to go through the above steps about once a year to audit your rates. You’ll then know if there’s anything you need to change.
Incorporating client feedback into your process is also another great option.
Perhaps you have a follow-up email that you send to your client after each shoot to see if they’re happy with the results. Ask if they have requests for future shoots moving forward and if anything stood out as exceptional from this shoot.
When faced with whether or not to make a change to an offering, I consider two things:
- Does the suggestion come from a client or potential client that I want to work with?
- Has this suggestion come from several people?
If the change is from someone that is not a good fit as a client, then I would most likely not do it. They’re not in my target market. Likewise, if I only got this request from one client out of thirty, then I’ll most likely hold off on making any changes. If anyone else brings it up, I’d reconsider.
Settings your real estate photography pricing can be nerve-wracking. But it doesn’t have to be!
Getting to know your market and having a lot of information are key aspects. These will help you gain clarity on rates for your services.
And once you have those real estate photography rates set, remember to adjust them from time to time.
Want to learn more about how to improve your photography technique? Check out our ebook ‘Photography Unlocked’ here!
For more great tips, check out our great article on real estate photography marketing ideas that really work.