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Real Estate Photography

Navigating Real Estate Photography Pricing: 10 Factors to Consider Before Setting Your Rates

Real estate is an industry that functions mainly on the visual appeal of homes that are up for sale. If the home doesn't look attractive, whether it is in real life or photos, the potential clients will not be able to visualize living in that space and may not be as motivated to make the crucial decision of buying that home. Hence, real estate photography is a crucial element that helps make or break a sale and often helps homes sell faster and at higher and more lucrative prices. But as a photographer, you need to ensure that you can maintain your market value and get value for the effort you put in by capturing home snapshots. But when your skills are qualitative and more artistic, setting the right real estate photography pricing rates is integral for you getting your dues and your customers getting the right value for their monetary investment.

In this article, we shall understand 10 essential factors to consider when setting your rates as a professional real estate photographer. Think of this article as a comprehensive real estate photography pricing guide, which will help you find the right number that helps get you, consistent clients, ensures you have a steady profit margin, and can fulfill all your overheads.

10 Aspects to Consider When Setting Your Real Estate Photography Pricing

1. Evaluate your competition

Before setting your prices, always check out your competition. Do research about what other photographers are offering to customers, and whether there is any market gap that you can fill and fulfill your potential customer’s needs. Try to learn about the rates of service of other photographers, what kind of quality they offer, and what they bring to the table. If you are planning to charge more than your local and surrounding competition, then you need to justify those higher rates to your customers by having a unique selling point or a niche that you have, or some proof of a higher level of quality and artistry than your competitors.

2. Location

The second aspect to consider in this real estate photography pricing guide is your location. At the same time, you are doing market research. Also, look up the prices of homes in your area and how much sellers and agents are willing to spend on your services. The higher the cost of the property, the higher the profit margin an agent or seller will have, which will mean they will be inclined and able to pay higher rates for your skills. For example, homes in Los Angeles are generally larger and more expensive as compared to homes in some other American cities, say Dallas for example. The average rate of real estate photography in LA is $318, while it is much lower in a city like Dallas, at $212. This indicates that property value and property size play a huge role in what your rates for your snapshots will be in a particular region, and you should consider them as a deciding factor when creating your pricing plan.

3. Experience Level

If you are a novice photographer, then you cannot expect your clients to be willing to pay higher prices for your services. Your years of experience are a testament to your credibility and your caliber, which significantly affects your prices and whether customers will be willing to shell out that cash. If you have less experience or are just starting, try setting your rates lower, and getting more work experience before you increase the prices.

4. Type of Photography

Another aspect you should consider is the type of photography services you can offer before setting your prices. Apart from the regular still photos, there are many types of photography services you can offer that can affect your rates, apart from your skills and quality of work. Some of these services include residential real estate photography, still photos, virtual staging, floor plans, commercial real estate photography, drone photography, 3D/360-degree photography, or videography for virtual walkthrough tours, etc. You can set up your rates according to the amount of effort and equipment you have to invest in, and factor in things like equipment costs, editing and staging software costs, drone prices, virtual tour pricing, real estate photography average rates, and so on.

5. Never Charge by the Hour But by Property Size

As a photographer, you understand that the process of capturing a home attractively takes some time, to get those perfectly polished sale-making snapshots. The time you need to get precise can often be interpreted as dilly-dallying if you are charging your clients by the hour. While hours of coverage are the usual factor that decides how much you earn in a regular photography gig, this is different. To get consistent results, you will often need to take some extra time to get a feel of the space and set up properly. Hence, you can devise your pricing plan according to the number of rooms in the home or the sq. ft, rather than an hourly rate. This way, not only will you be able to judge how much time you take to photograph a home and charge your customers, but they will also think you are charging them a straightforward price. For example, a standard home size of 1500-3500 sq. ft. takes about 1-1.5 hours to photograph, and hence the average rate for such size of homes is between $150-$300 for 2-15 images, which accounts for your photography time, along with the amount of time you invest in post-production editing.

6. Number of Photos

In this industry, each home you will be photographing will be different. This means that each seller or agent that employs you will have different needs, and each home will have different features and focal points. Sometimes, in homes with many focal points and grand features, a standard number of photos may not be enough to highlight all its attractive aspects fully. Hence, setting rates according to the number of photos you are clicking makes more sense, as sellers will be more inclined to choose an option with a larger number of images as they will understand the value of highlighting all the attractive qualities of the space. This is why creating a proper pricing plan and structure will help you balance out these variegated needs of customers, along with making you steady profits and accounting for the time and labor you invest in photographing and editing images.

7. Editing Process

The editing process is a time-consuming part of real estate photography. Regardless of whether you offer additional services like virtual staging or virtual tour photography, or whether you just click still photos, editing all these images to make them attractive and balanced takes time and effort, for which you should be charging according. This is a part and parcel of the manual and skilled work you are putting in before you hand the finished images to your customer. Post-processing tasks like adjusting the image clarity, straightening the alignment, regulating brightness, saturation, alignment, color exposure, etc., are all integral parts of the post-production process, and sometimes you need help with such tasks by using helpful software or services. One such editing solution is Styldod, which offers you various tools to beautifully virtually stage your images. Additionally, with Styldod’s image enhancement tool, you can clean up and correct your image hassle-free and finish your editing work faster than usual with the power of AI!

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8. Quick Turnaround Option for Extra Fees

A quick and easy way to earn extra cash is to have an extra fee for a quicker turnaround time. This helps agents and sellers who are in a time crunch more inclined to approach you and guarantees some extra income as well. But, when setting the pricing for this extra fee, keep in mind that will have to dedicate more time to one project, and hence will not be able to work on anything else while you finish editing and polishing the images. Always consider that aspect before you set rates for extra services like a quicker delivery of the finished images. Additionally, if you are planning to set rates that are higher than the market average, then you can include a quicker turnaround time as a pre-requisite to your services and hence justify why your services cost more as compared to other competitors.

9. Charge Different Rates for Twilight vs. Midday Shoots

Twilight photography is a very attractive way of capturing homes, as the the dusk and setting sun help set off the focal points and features of a space beautifully, and make for more attractive images, which may help snag potential buyers. In the general market as well, twilight photography is often more expensive as compared to day photography as capturing images at the right time and in the right moment in the fading sunlight is a precise task that makes more effort as compared to a bright daylight shot. The average rate for twilight photos is $200-$300 per shoot for 2-15 photos, as compared to the regular average rate of $150 onwards. Often, photographers also simply edit their daylight photos using various software and make them look like they are shot in the twilight, to reduce the effort and to get more precise and polished results. This is also cheaper for the photographers themselves, as the software will cost less as compared to all your other overhead costs. With services like Styldod, you can double the impact of one photo and convert your midday shot to twilight boosting your revenue and reducing your effort!

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10. Consider Other Costs

Last but not least, when setting rates for your services, you need to consider your additional costs like the driving distance, equipment and software costs, marketing costs, etc. Often, you should factor in the amount of money you would be investing in gas when traveling to a shoot location as if you don't, you will find yourself hardly earning any profit as all your earnings will keep getting eaten up by your overhead costs. Additionally, you also need to factor in the cost of the equipment and special tools you use when photographing a home, like editing software subscriptions, drones, extra lighting tools, virtual staging software, etc., along with the amount of money you invest in marketing and building your brand and developing your business by printing out flyers, business cards, setting up a website, etc.

All in all, we hope this list of factors that affect real estate photography pricing helps you set the right prices for your services and help you gain more potential customers with your attractive rates and skills. Always remember to test your rates in the market after deciding, and be prepared to alter them according to market needs and requirements.

Shital Gohil

Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Styldod

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