May 10th, 2015
My name is Danny and I have an interest in becoming a real estate photographer, although I have no experience in this industry. I am very eager to learn everything there is to know about how to take real estate pictures, to starting a business etc. I would like the opportunity to work for a real estate photographer so I can learn everything I need to know about this business. I live in Hicksville, NY and I work nights for the USPS. I’m not only looking to do something during the day for extra income, I’m also looking to be my own boss. I would be very greatful if someone can let me know of any real estate photographer that is willing to teach me this business or how can I learn all of this on my own and what books to read.
Everything we do here on the PFRE blog is aimed at educating real estate photographers. This goal grew out of my frustration in 2000 with the lack of resources available for learning real estate photography when I needed it. Here are a number of things to consider when you are getting started:
- Getting real estate photographers in your local area to help you get started: You are not likely to have success with this approach because most independent real estate photographers don’t want to train more competition for themselves. You can try it but, few have reported success.
- Beware of working for large real estate companies: Because the profit margin is so low in the real estate photography business, many (not all) large companies try to get beginning real estate photographers to shoot for them and pay them almost nothing ($30 to $60 a shoot). They frequently also ask you to sign non-compete contracts. Be very careful about signing up for one of these jobs!
- PFRE e-books: The first e-book I wrote, is a direct result of helping agents in my wife’s real estate office in Issaquah, WA market their listings. We’ve expanded the number real estate photography training e-books over the last several years so we now publish five.
- Workshops: Scott Hargis and I and others did one of the first real estate photography workshops in April of 2008 in Seattle. Seeing Scott’s lighting technique at this workshop lead me to convince Scott to write his e-book lighting interiors. Scott went on to do many workshops around the world for many years. Scott does a great workshop! Attend if you ever get a chance.
- Video Tutorials:
- Lighting For Real Estate Photography Video Series: Scott and Malia, also created Scott’s lighting video series which I believe replicates 90+% of Scott’s workshops. Sure, it doesn’t replace the social and networking part of the workshops. But if you just focus on the real estate photography education part, I claim that Scott’s Lighting Interiors e-book and video series together do a better job of teaching you Scott’s lighting technique for less money than it would cost to attend one of Scott’s workshops. Even if it was right where you live.
- Enfuse For Real Estate Photography Video Series: In March 2015 we launched a video series by Simon Maxwell that details how to shoot with LR/Enfuse as a technique. This approach is a bracketing approach that works better than most of the traditional HDR processing used in real estate photography.
- Revolution in Education: Education in general is evolving rapidly towards online video learning. Khan Academy and MIT’s MOOC experiments are showing that online classes mixed with a regular teacher personal interaction is highly effective, inexpensive and scalable to large numbers.
- PFRE flickr group: This flickr group is a open forum for getting feedback on your work from many of the best real estate photographers in the business.
- PFRE Monthly Contests: The monthly still and video contests are a way to study what the best in this business are doing. Every month the entries in two contests are judged and commented on my past contest winners.
- PFRE coaching network: This last summer we launched the PFRE coaching network which is a group of some of the very best real estate photographers worldwide that are willing to coach beginning real estate photographers. These coaches use Skype and Google Hangouts to tailor their coaching to students needs. Coaching provides that much needed, complementary personal contact to e-books and video tutorials
In summary, I’m a big advocate of the classroom style real estate photography and videography workshops that Scott, Malia and Oliver provide. They are the best choice when they are available. However, the fact is, in the future there is going to be more training done in this new online/personal style than there is in a personal face-to-face classroom setting. That’s just a fact of life driven by the cost and effectiveness of online/remote learning.