Do Your Homework Before You Contract To Shoot For A Company

August 6th, 2010

OK, I’m going to try this again. This time I’ve worked harder at being clear and concise. My previous post on this subject got too many people worked up and that was not my intent. There are no comments allowed on this post because the negative comments about any specific company can be damaging and I can’t sort out what the truth is and don’t want to facilitate in bad-mouthing any company.

What got me going on this subject is that I’ve gotten many e-mails in the last few weeks from people that feel they have had bad experiences shooting for real estate photography companies. There’s no way I can sort out the facts from these complaints but I think it’s important for people to understand that everything is not sunshine and roses out there. Here are some general points I’d like to make:

  1. My goal with this blog and my e-books is to help independent real estate photographers get started and be successful. I purposely don’t do any advertising so I can be as unbiased as possible. So in that sense I’m biased. I’m biased towards promoting independent real estate photography.
  2. At the same time I realize that being a good marketing person is not everyones thing. It takes a time and a lot of hard work to get started. Not everyone has the time it takes to go this route. So there are many photographers that work for companies to make some cash quickly and minimize startup time.
  3. You can find photographers that have complaints about any company out there.
  4. You can also find photographers that are happy working for any given company.
  5. I think it is perfectly clear that real estate photography is NOT a high profit margin business. It’s very competitive. The more people you have trying to make money off of a shoot the less the shooter is going to get. This isn’t rocket science, it’s simple arithmetic.
  6. There are hundreds and probably thousands of independent real estate photographers with all business they they want. There are huge advantages to working for yourself but it’s not for everyone.

So the bottom line is because there are a significant number of complaints from photographers shooting for companies, you need to spend some time carefully researching the company you are thinking about working for and evaluating if this approach is for you. A great way to do this is to participate in the PFRE flickr discussion group and talk to other photographers who work or have worked for these companies. You can get a diverse set of opinions and great insights from this group on most any aspect of real estate photography… they are awesome! You also have to be careful in any forum like this because some people don’t identify themselves. The best advice comes from regular contributors that do not hide their identity.

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