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Questions re: shooting for realtors and FSBO owners

I'm thnking of creating a business shooting for realtors. Since so many real estate buyers do their first screening online, especially if they are relocating, you would think realtors would want excellent pictures to post, but in many cases they are TERRIBLE.

I don't want to reinvent the wheel, so I thought that I would check and see if anybody in the DT community has tried this and has any tips regarding good shots, marketing techniques, etc. If you have tired and found it impossible, I'd like to know that and know what difficulties you encountered.

My initial thoughts are to practice a lot in my own home with different lighting set ups, take a lighting class, start marketing by contacting FSBO owners with horrible pictures and offer to do free shoots for them until I have a portfolio of nice pictures. Then I would use the same prospecting for FSBOs and realtors and start charging. I would also market through the local Chamber of Commerce and local contacts on social networking sites.

In order to price at a level that makes this make sense, I would like to gather stats to show that the improved photos contributed to selling property faster and/or at an improved price. Any ideas on what stats I could gather to show that?

It would be wonderful if I could eventually specialize in high end only properties and travel to them. This is where I could satisfy my wanderlust as well as justifying higher payment for the photos. If someone here has managed that I would love to here your tips.

Thanks for your comments!
Cameras, lenses, phone, eyes, feet and a car.
Posted: 05/27/2012, 09:51:59 AM
It's a great idea! If you manage to deal with some real estate agencies, you can make lots of money. Congrats...can I steal your idea and use it in another country? :))
f2.8 - Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Nikkor 50mm f1.8 - Tamron 90mm f2....
Posted: 07/17/2012, 03:58:08 AM
I'd think most photos are taken by the Realtor themselves and hence they are usually bad. I've purchased three houses in the past 20 years and each time I think my mind was set on a certain house from the photos - so they are very important.

One suggestion - add a fisheye lens to your kit for interior shots.
lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Posted: 07/17/2012, 06:30:40 AM
ALl the agents I know shoot their own. Thers is a company that does this for agents,. They have photographers assigned to certain areas and they give them the equipment to use,. THe Photographer pays them for the franchise. About 3K a year. You have to shoot a LOT of home to get that back.,

2.8, Sigma 24-135. Nikon SB800 SB600 Dell Studio17 Laptop...
Posted: 07/17/2012, 12:32:18 PM
The only photographers I have ever known who talked good about it are the ones who are using it purely as a marketing tool to bring in upscale portrait clients. Working a deal with agents to offer free estate photos, for only homes within a specified price range (million dollar homes & up), in return those home buyers will get a complimentary portrait session in their new home in hopes of producing a relationship that will lead to a $15K wedding job or something along those lines in the future.

I get a few calls a year from realtors curious about the cost but they never go through because I'm quoting triple digits and they're thinking in their minds 35 bucks. It costs 35 bucks just for me to carry the camera bag out to the car. :P

If I was to attempt it, I would start out working with extremely upscale properties ONLY. I wouldn't want to put myself in a position where I was expected to shoot low-end properties or associated with them in any way.
-- Icebreaker Sugar Free Mints...
Posted: 07/18/2012, 17:52:35 PM
Good points everyone. You have given me a lot to think about...thank you.
Cameras, lenses, phone, eyes, feet and a car.
Posted: 07/25/2012, 07:13:46 AM