Real Estate Photography Demand By State – From Google Correlate

August 31st, 2014

REPdemandI’ve talked many times in the past about about how shows how it’s possible to see what countries and cities in the world originate the most google searches for real estate photography and thus have the most demand for real estate photgraphy. What’s always been difficult in the past is to get more detailed data about which states have the most demand for real estate photography. With you can get the data only down to the largest metro areas.

When I talk to real estate photographers just starting out I keep hearing that in some states it’s much harder to convince agents to use professional real estate photography in some places than others. So I’ve been looking for some way to get google trends like data for each state in the US. It turns out that you can now get that kind of data from google.

Just recently I was reading a NY Times article that talked about “google correlate”. I’d never heard of that, but it turns out that if you go to and give it a term of real estate photography you get a heat map of the US showing which states do the most google searches for the term “real estate photography”. In the map above the darkest green states (Hawai’i, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, etc) have the highest demand (most google searches) for real estate photography. And you can download a CSV file of the data, which I’ve done here.

So what does this mean to the real estate photography community? Here is my best guess:

  1. This is the best relative measure of the demand for real estate photography by state that I’ve seen and it covers all states.
  2. I believe this measure roughly correlates to the feedback that I get that in some states it’s harder to convince real estate agents to pay for professional real estate photography than other.
  3. It’s not absolute. It just says if you are in the real estate photography business in Bismarck, North Dakota expect to work harder at building your business than if you were in Seattle or Honolulu.
  4. Even though this is listed by state it’s really about cities. That is, I know from experience that the Washington data is about Seattle and the Oregon data is mostly about Portland. That is, I know that while the demand for real estate photography is high in King County (the area around Seattle) it’s not high in other rural areas of Washington like Spokane or Bellingham. So the biggest city in the state dominates the data.
  5. This data will likely change over time if demand (google searches for real estate photography) changes. I’m interested in tracking this measure over time and seeing how it changes.

Surprises in this data: Based on the number of real estate photographers from ID and MA, I find it surprising that the ID demand is number three between WA and AZ and that MA is #34 between MI and NJ. All the rest of the ranking in demand I find believeable. The ID and MA data may have a problem or this may reflect recent changes in demand.


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11 Responses to “Real Estate Photography Demand By State – From Google Correlate”

  • I wonder how much the data is skewed by photographers searching those terms while either seeing what possible competition they have or might have, or simply looking for information on the subject. Wouldn’t a better search term be “Real Estate Photographer”, since that would be indicative of looking for someone who does that type of photography. I did a quick search for that, and the map changed considerably. My state (VA) showed a less negative number than the more generic “Real Estate Photography” term

  • Hi Larry,
    It was interesting comparing real estate photography vs. real estate photographer which is a term more likely used by people/companies searching for a real estate photographer. Thanks for alerting us to another good search / seo tool. Best Regards, Ron

  • What I find interesting is I’m from the Hampton Roads Metro area of Virginia and I tried for years to find an agent that was willing to use a professional photographer. Not long after I moved to New Mexico, I found work. Here in NM they can see the difference in quality and in VA they could not.

  • @Tim & Ron – Yes, you are probably right RE photographer is a better term than RE photography and it does change the results significantly.

  • Earlier this year I seriously contemplated relocating my photography business. Having done a lot of due diligence in the process, I can say what the map shows roughly approximates what I found.

    I also did a fair amount of research on the number of RE photogs in respective areas. A search for real estate photographer would likely be more reflective of ‘us’ than the ‘demand’ for us. Given enough time, aggregating the results across a number of applicable terms would probably be quite useful.

    Thanks for the pointer.

  • Very interesting Larry,

    And very helpful…But there are so many variables here….

    First, different parts of the country have different markets. A hot market may have more searches for real estate photographers than a quiet one. But the quiet market may use more professional photography per capita.

    Location within a given state matters. As you said, “its about cities”. NY seems very low on the list, but then NY is like two different states. The southern tip uses pro photography far more than the vast expanse of upstate NY. So I guess the impact of NYC and surrounds is diluted. In Westchester, the switch to pro-photography has been under way for a while. Agents still hate to pay for it, but their sellers are calling the shots

    The other issue is that as far as opportunities are concerned, high demand areas can be deceptive since the big tour companies fly in like vultures once it looks like they can make money. Lots of people using pro-photography around here, but they want it dirt cheap. I’m sure similar things are happening in states like WA.

    So each area is very unique…Each photographer has to assess their market and look at the variables within their immediate sphere….

    Just my $0.02. Happy Labor Day!

  • Figures. I live in middle Illinois…

  • interesting. when you search for real estate photographer you get completely new results. I’m in FL and that seems to be a rather light search for the term, which I find odd considering our market.

  • The map is interesting. I live in Idaho and it fascinates me that we score so highly. There is a caveat, however. Lest anyone think that this high interest in RE photography equates to money, guess again. I do all kinds of commercial and editorial photography here. I recently shot two realtors at a new listing for an article in our local business newspaper. We chatted and I inquired about what they did for photography. They replied that they hire a women out of a small town in the burbs who does this for…..$35 per listing. 25 shots for MLS. I checked her work and, while it isn’t remarkable in any way that would gain her notice here, they are nonetheless better than what the realtors could probably do for themselves. Of course I told them they could send her as many of those as they want. But it illustrates how geography can effect the marketplace. Idaho is at or near the top of the list for minimum wage jobs. We’re near the bottom in median per capita income. Buy a used Nikon D70, change the oil in the Hyundai and make fractionally more than you would at McDonald’s. It all flows from there. I have a few real estate clients, residential and commercial, and continue to look for more. But, I’m not aggressively pursuing residential work. $35 is a new low, but there are also several people out there charging somewhere in the range of $65-$95 per house. This has caused me to charge far less than what I should. Out-of-state assignments are still my best bet.

  • @Pete Any chance Sun Valley (celebs) or Coeur d’Alene, or maybe Grand Targhee skew the stats? Heck, I almost moved to Boise earlier this year… when I drove through, I’m pretty sure I smelled money.

  • RE Photographers will find well paying work where the avg sales price exceeds $500k. 5 figure commissions after broker split leaves some earnings for the agent. Remember the agents pay the photographer out of pocket on a contingency deal. Very few agents will pay 5-10% of the potential earnings on top of broker split and taxes in a low priced market.
    In a hot market, if the listing sells before the ink is dry on the listing agreement, why add expense?

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