September 7th, 2015
Real estate photography is an unusual business opportunity! It has relatively low startup costs, yet in most, but not all locations, you can earn more than the average local wage. I’ve become more and more aware of this as I talk to more real estate photographers over the world the last several years. This really hit home with me after reading a recent comment in the PFRE Flickr discussion where a Seattle photographer pointed out the same thing I’ve been observing:
I can’t think of many jobs that I could find where I work 9 months full-time and 3 part-time and still make more than twice the average wage for Seattle. I helped a friend get started shooting homes, he takes it very casually and still earns a good income on what amounts to a part-time work schedule.
This is a business you can capitalize for under $3,000 and start making money fairly quickly.
A day after I ran across this comment a voice in my head said, “yea, this is the essence of why real estate photography is so popular.” It’s a great summary of what I’ve been observing over the last 10 years that I’ve been promoting this blog. According to an op-ed in the New York Times, today freelancing is a huge trend going on in the US. More and more people are choosing to freelance because it offers the flexibility and independence that tradition jobs can’t provide. The benefits of real estate photography freelancing are the following:
- Relatively not much investment required to get going.
- Earn a better than average hourly wage.
- Work for yourself.
- You can start out part time or just do it to the level you need or want to.
- Increase your income over time by either improving your quality or increasing your volume.
Sure, it takes the initiative to start and manage your own business and some technical know-how but wow, what a great opportunity in the overall scheme of things. In a world where college graduates that have spent huge amounts on their education have difficulties finding a job, real estate photography as a full or part-time job has amazing potential!
To make independent real estate photography work you need to:
- Be independent: That is, be careful not let 3rd parties like post processors and tour companies that do your marketing suck off your profits. There are 3rd parties that will help you scale your business but be careful having control of all aspects of your business is usually the best strategy in the long run.
- Learn to Market: Marketing skill is probably more important than photographic skill. Good marketing can sell average work.
- Focus on Your Passion: For some it’s the artistic or quality part and for others it’s the marketing/business part. There’s no right way. Both approaches work.
While there are downsides to freelance jobs, on balance freelance opportunities are pretty amazing compared to many traditional types of jobs. And the pay can be better!