January 5th, 2016
Dave in New York asks:
I am wondering how much work real estate photographers do for businesses such as home stagers, interior designers, builders, remodelers, etc. And how that is different from basic real estate photography.
1- From a photography standpoint: I assume there would be many of the same concerns as with real estate photography. In addition, I assume you’d need to deliver product close-ups (in a kitchen or bath remodel, for example) and well composed vignettes (for a home stager, for example). What other differences are there? Is a wide angle lens generally the best choice or is lens choice more situational?
2- On the business side: I assume the license would be for a longer (and clearly dated) term and that the value (and therefore cost) would be greater. How do you determine the value of (and how much to charge for) a license for home stagers, interior designers, builders, remodelers, etc.?
Working for interior designers, builders and architects is something that real estate photographers usually grow into as they raise the quality of their work. I’ve personally never worked for architects or interior designers so what I say here is learned from photographers that I’ve talked to and friends I have that are designers, architects, and builders. I have worked for home stagers and remodelers which wasn’t any different from working for Realtors.
Shooting for designers, architects, and builders (usually you interface with a designer on their staff) is more challenging that working for Realtors because these people are typically trained in the arts and are visually more sophisticated than Realtors and therefore, more demanding.
- From a photography standpoint: My experience is that interior designers and builders tend to be much fussier about photos than listing agents. Listing agents like wide-angle shots because the exaggerate the space. People trained in the arts don’t like the exaggerated perspective and distorted objects. Also, designers and architects are going to want to be involved in and direct the shots – listing agents frequently don’t even want to show up at the shoot if they can avoid it.
- On the business side: The value and the licensing depends on how the client wants to use the photos. They are more likely to want to either use the photos long term on a website for their advertising or in print media. Both of these uses are significantly different and more valuable that what a real estate listing agent’s usage so you have to charge more. How much, I can’t tell you. You have to negotiate with the client based on their intended usage.
In summary, as you get more accomplished as an interiors photographer it’s a natural progression to move from shooting high-end real estate to shooting for designers, architects and builders. And if you can deliver quality work, you make more shooting for designers, architects and builders than Realtors.
I’m sure that those that shoot for designers and architects can add to this.
Update Jan 6: Be sure to check out the comments below in this post – many great insights on this subject.