How To Marketing Yourself As a Real Estate Photographer

January 11th, 2008

There’s a good discussion going on in the PFRE flickr discussion group on using a marketing brochure to market yourself as a real estate photographer. Jon and Milton are talking about the fine points of using a brochure to get across your message.This discussion made me realize that the need for marketing real estate photography services varies widely in different areas of the world. In markets where agents feel like properties sell easily without much work and commissions are deeply discounted agents need more convincing that professional photography will add to their bottom line.The image on this post is an excerpt from Milton Lowe’s brochure that he spent $2000 designing and producing to promote his services to potential customers in his area ( Tasmania, AU). Having been to a bunch of Realtor marketing seminars in the pass I immediately recognized that Milton is using many of the techniques used by successful service business owners to build their businesses through referrals. The fundamental idea of referral business is that the very best way to get business is to have a satisfied past customer recommends your services to a friend.Milton talks about building his “database”. The idea of a database is that you carefully keep track of past customers and potential customers so you can keep in personal contact with them on a regular basis. The trick is to find the method of regular contact that works and feels best for you. Of coarse personal contact is always the very best. But since your database can be 1000’s of people many successful business people use a mixture of e-mail newsletters, personal handwritten notes and face-to-face contact.Milton doesn’t charge for the first shoot. His goal is to show potential customers what he can do and exceed their service expectations knowing that once they figure out his results are better than what they can do they will become regular customers. He offers 24-hour turnaround and a money-back guarantee and pays attention to detail.Another technique Milton uses to find potential customers is he monitors web, newspaper and magazine listings for properties with sub-standard photos and then goes out and shoots the exterior of same property in good light and sends the photo to the agent for their use. This has got to get a agents attention!I’ve seen these referral techniques work in our own real estate business so I know they work. I’ve also seen that the best customers to work with are the ones that we get through referrals. The extent that you need to work these kind of marketing techniques will depend on your local market. I know of some real estate photographers that have been able to fill up their schedules within a year or so but there are some areas you have to work harder for the customers. In either case a referral business marketing approach works well.

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9 Responses to “How To Marketing Yourself As a Real Estate Photographer”

  • Hey Larry,

    I just wanted to add that a link to Milton’s PDF has been added to the thread for anyone who wants to view it. It’s a great piece of advertising/promotion that let’s the pictures do the talking!

  • “Milton doesn’t charge for the first shoot”

    — WHAT?! FREE first shoot?! That’s why RE Photogs are seen as cheapos, lowering the standard.

    I wonder if I could go to a new restaurant and get my first meal for FREE !!

  • Chester – let me assure you.
    It’s all in your paradigms.
    It’s all about giving. Sometimes you have to give, to get something back. If you don’t expect something something back, I am a great believer in “Karma”…it will come back to you. Maybe not straight away. It’s about building foundations for a life time client, not just a quick cheapie!!
    You get back more in return than you could ever imagine, if you had never been given the chance to work with them.
    Rest assured the next 10 jobs I get from them, are paid more than the 11 jobs I have to fight for.
    And also, I see it as an opportunity to practice my profession. A chance to make mistakes and learn when the pressure is on.
    You can sit at home waiting for someone to give you a paid job, and not be improving your skills, your methods of delivery, your level of service, and the chance to impress a future client.
    That first job you do for a client can make or break you in your association with them.
    If I went to a restaurant for a free first meal, and it was great, they would have a client for life!!
    So I can assure you I have not lowered the standards!! I have perhaps put the pressure on existing pro’s who have got into a comfort zone year after year though!
    Cheers Milton

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  • I have a great love of photography. I have a Canon Rebel XT and was just wondering, when you start out are clients usually looking for advanced photograpy experience?

  • Davida
    From my experience over the past 18 months, the rapport and service I have been able to establish with the Agents is most important.
    I suppose I winged it to start with, as my skill level with DSLR was a steep learning curve (and still is!), but from 16 yrs in real estate sales, I knew what photos would draw enquiry for the agent, and I had the trust and confidence there. It was then a matter of producing the goods!! So the clients were expecting “a better job than they can do”, but in my case, it came down to gaining their confidence to be given the opportunity.
    Your point of difference could be a combination of advanced photography experience; superior knowledge of the real estate market and the workings of an office and the agent/vendor relationship; and quality body, lens & lighting equipment (ie – you look the part, turning up with a little P & S with a built-in flash is not a good look!)
    However I consider if you only have one of above, you may struggle until you prove yourself.

  • Hi ,

    Can anyone tell me how to view milton’s advertising brochure and also how can i post my pics in your photo contest as i am also a real esate and industrial photographer…thnx

  • priyanka,
    To get a copy of Milton’s brochure send him an e-mail at: and he’ll send you one.

    To participate in the photo discussion group associated with this blog go to and sign up for a free account. Then join the Photography for Real Estate group. Then you can participate in photo discussions with other real estate photographers.

  • “Milton doesn’t charge for the first shoot”

    I worked for a real estate photography and floorplan company that started offices in London and Sydney as a photographer for years and we always did a ‘free first shoot’ and it was immensly successful in gaining new clients, I am now starting my own service and will be doing the same thing, great philosophy Milton, all power to you!

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