How Many, How Long, How Much?

July 9th, 2017

Last week, I was talking to John McBay whom many of you know as the author of the e-book and video series, Image Editing for Real Estate Photography. John is also listed on the coaching page and does real estate photography coaching.

John asked me to pass along his coaching/mentoring document (click the blue rectangle above to download). Everyone is free to use this document in any way they want. It gives quite a good in-depth discussion of the three of the major questions that beginning real estate photographers need to understand:

  1. How many pictures should I take?
  2. How long will it take me to photograph the listing?
  3. How much should I charge?

As John says:

Lots of photographers new to the real estate photography business ask these questions. There are no easy answers because each one depends upon a number of different factors. I will try my best to give you workable guidelines to at least get you started.

Remember, every market is different. Every agent is different. Every MLS is different. In spite of whatever my recommendation may be on a particular issue, a request from the agent or the practice in the particular market or a local law or regulation may determine otherwise.

If you’d like to talk to John about coaching you can contact him through his website.

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5 Responses to “How Many, How Long, How Much?”

  • Great information and quite timely as I’m early in my career. So far I’ve been concentrating on aerial shots via drone because I do not yet have a decent hand held camera.


  • Excellent document John! Thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you for sharing John. Thank you also to Larry for your hard work and making this site possible. Although I am a real estate appraiser I have a variety of vacant homes to practice on, I would like some day to make the transition to real estate photography in the mean time appraising pays the bills. Always look forward to the topic of the day!

  • Thank you so much, I also am rather new myself and every bit of info helps!

  • Hello All!
    Thanks for posting this as I enjoyed reading it, although I felt compelled to put in my 2 cents. I have been doing real estate photography for 9 years and have done thousands of homes. My experience is pretty much the complete opposite of this article. I have found it’s all about speed and making the realtors happy. I found out many years ago it makes life more difficult to charge by the number of photos. I have also been a Realtor for 6 years and I can say with certainty that Realtors over all are incredibly cheap. At least 60 percent of million dollar homes in my area are shot with the agents phone. The trick is to find a price point that keeps you happy, them happy and keeps them from using someone else. Although it makes us happy to take pride in our work and create amazing images the Realtors don’t care. In contrast to the the article I find they would much rather have 100 ok images than 15 great ones. Our MLS now holds 50 images and 100% of Realtors want at least that many images because their clients will be mad if the MLS photo area isn’t “full”. I spent years learning and developing my style and getting faster but now my clients know they get me for 1 hour at the property and 1 hour of editing and they get 60 to 100 very good images that make homes sell fast! Sure I could spend 2 or 3 times that amount of time and make the photos even better, but Realtors won’t pay for that. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what our actual job is. It’s not to take perfect photos, it’s to make homes sell! All of us should learn as much as we can and strive to be able to create amazing images and little works of art, but most of the time that part gets relegated to being a hobby because the people that hire us won’t pay for that. Most of us work on volume and doing 3 to 5 houses a day, so speed becomes super important. If you can find enough business that only wants high end photos and pays a high end price that would be awesome, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in most of the country. It’s all about streamlining your workflow both at the property and while editing. Vacant homes are faster, and some have chatty owners but it all averages out. Doing it this way I look at it as charging for my time, not by the photo…so as long as I am making $1 a minute I think this is a pretty good gig. If there is some variable that makes me take longer than I charge them accordingly, so that it keeps it at $60/hr.
    This is a great job and I could never go back to having a boss! There is nothing better than shooting a beautiful property on a beautiful day. #1 bit of advice…get those verticles verticle!


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