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How Many Photos Do You Deliver for a Typical Real Estate Shoot?

December 10th, 2018

Marea in Florida asks:

What are professional photographers charging for additional photos now that MLS is allowing 50 images?

The fact is that many MLSs have allowed unlimited photos for many many years! So this is by no means a new issue. Back in 2015, we had a fairly extensive discussion on the subject of how many photos PFRE readers provide their clients. See this post.

As you can see from the poll, only 30% of real estate photographers deliver more than 30 photos. This confirms the feeling that I’ve always had that I could present any property very nicely with 20 to 25 quality photos. More than 25 photos become a distraction. This idea that some Realtors have that somehow more photos are better is ridiculous!

Of course, you need to supply your clients with what they want, just make sure you are charging enough to recover your time and energy to supply more photos. Also, check out what others in your market are charging for more than 25 photos if you want to compete with them.


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23 Responses to “How Many Photos Do You Deliver for a Typical Real Estate Shoot?”

  • “More than 25 photos become a distraction”…Who says that? Where is the current data to back that statement up?
    From that type of thinking, then video is definitely Over Kill….yet it is gaining popularity.

    “This idea that some Realtors have that somehow more photos are better is ridiculous!”…Again, back it up with data, not some general assumption that this or that is right or wrong.

    Bottom line, you supply your client with only 25 photos, then they have no choice but to use those. If you supply your client with 50 photos, then they have the luxury of selecting the 25 photos that THEY feel represents the property they way they want to market it. They also have the option to change out the photos to freshen the look over the course of the listing.

  • My normal service is for a nominal 20 images (16-24) where I am making the decision on the number that shows the main features of the home. If a client wants more than 20 images that they choose themselves, the additional images are $6.50ea and up depending on if it means more sky replacement work, window pulls, etc. What the local MLS does isn’t a good guideline on what you provide. While it could be handy to be able to submit 50 images on a multi-tenant property, it’s nearly always overkill for a SFH/condo, even with community images. My local MLS’ are accessible only by members unless they are sending a client a link to a curated list of properties. Mostly it’s used by agents and not the general public and it’s set up for agents to get things like comps, trends and stuff that consumer facing web sites don’t provide. If we were only making images for the MLS, we’d be out of a job. We need to wow people shopping for a home and make listing agent’s marketing look top notch so they can sign up more clients.

    The number of images you provide and what you charge for them has to make sense. You should have some idea of how much time it takes you to capture and finish an image as an average for a whole house and at least a bracket of how much time for a simple basic bedroom vs something more complex such as a master batch or kitchen. If it takes you 6 minutes on average for each image, 50 images is 300 minutes of work plus load-in/load-out, prep and paperwork. That’s 5 hours plus for one job! If you only charge $150-$200, that’s a pretty dismal hourly rate as a sole proprietor and you can only book a couple of jobs a day that aren’t too far away. If your business model is based on a run ‘n gun style where your services are more of a commodity, you could deliver 50 HDR/Fusion images for that $150, but you open yourself up to being knocked off by somebody willing to do the same thing for $125 who has also purchased similar gear and software. Personally, I agree with Larry that 20-25 images is enough to show off a home and even fewer will work for many of those although it starts getting hard to sell agents that fewer, better quality images have more value than a bunch of so-so ones. I’d really love to spend a two hour session crafting no more than 10 images. Three hours would be even better.

  • Two sides of the coin here for my 2 cents…

    While shooting, I agree that I can cover most houses with 15-30 photos max and won’t do more without more compensation…

    While house shopping I prefer to see as many photos as I can get my hands on. Especially when shopping from a different state. I think it helps with spacial awareness, to understand the house and size of things when you start piecing them together. The more you see, the more puzzle pieces you can put together. I also prefer the amateur stack of photos over pro photos. (Not the crappy blurred no idea how a camera works photos, just the mid grade so to speak?). They seem to show the house in reality while we spruce it up to show the best that it can and often exaggerate the scale of the rooms.

  • @ Ken
    Your numbers don’t add up. I don’t mean to get into a pissing match with you, but if it takes you an average of 6 minutes to shoot each image, than you would indeed have a problem. At your numbers, it takes you a couple of hours to produce 20 images. I on the other hand have been doing this awhile….and it takes a fraction of the time to evaluate, compose and capture an RE image. I say RE image, because that is what the industry will pay for….NOT something that every image will be worthy of magazine publicity.

    It always amazes me that some in this industry think it is necessary to go beyond the scope of the project and into the realm of architecture, art or whatever that they are not being paid for. I for one, know that I can produce that kind of work, but only if I am paid for it. You get what you pay for… you want transportation? I can get you there in a Ford Pinto or a Lamborghini….What do you want to pay for?

  • Agree totally with Jerry…Ken and Mike too – but hey different shoes for different courses – as in today – I was up country and mentioned that fact to the agent 3 hours ago (of course a good agent already knows this and agree’s 100%) and it centred on the fact that most times I see no benefit in laundry/toilet/garage photos – they are pretty much self-explanatory – and unfortunately in some cases – actually offer up to a potential buyer a reason to cross that property off their list – can be as inconsequential as the usual basics – wrong colour/wrong curtains/etc. (or worst case – someone left cleaning/toilet brush/cleaning agents/alter stuff in the shot- YES true fact) So would that potential buyer have visited the property if those scenes were left out.
    I would say (after nearly 10 years on the other side of the counter) that yes most times they still would have decided to visit the property physically. But then we get into the price discussion?
    Yup sure there are exceptions – but overall – most photogs on here tend to over criticize the number of shots taken.

    So…

    At the end of the day give an agent so many photos that they can (at least from New Zealand perspective) offer up a minimum 20 fantastic shots.

    Our local MLS is Realestate.co.nz or Trademe.co.nz and these guys are about 10 years behind in terms of resolution – so you don’t need to loose any sleep over image quality down under.

    And then…

    Ok …while I’m on a roll – down under here – properties priced correctly usually sell quite fast – 3-4 weeks seems to be the current status quo.

    But if not….

    Then the agent needs to step up to the plate and change that hero shot – in fact sometimes they really need to change the pics so much that they are attracting a whole different category of buyer than they first originally “Ryan Serhant’ed.”

    Obviously that means enough new pics are on hand “in the agent’s photo basket” that the agent doesn’t even have to think about it – they simply go to “Plan B.”
    Actually with the amount of photos I send to them – they can change that whole campaign focus in about 30-45 minutes. And folks – it happens.
    Why do I make such a long post…..

    Things like this https://career.diakrit.com/jobs/150635-real-estate-photographer-hamilton-nz

    From them guys – yes we have seen them before but they are telling the world they have hundreds of photogs (hundreds of employees, et al..) ready to go at “a hat drop” means we have to offer that extra customer service at every drop in 2018/19 if you want to continue in this industry.

    Dudes/ Gals let me tell you this will not be the first attack on the real estate industry – there are plenty getting 1st round financing out here right now in late 2018…and I’m talking millions.

    So the future…Look after your clients – no thats wrong – LOOK after your CUSTOMERS and do everything it takes to keep them.

  • @Jerry,

    Yes, I spend two hours making photos of a typical home and I’ve been doing RE for almost 7 years now. I am not a run ‘n gun shooter and I rarely use HDR/Fusion to make images. I was pulling a six minute average out of thin air, but it’s not too far off of the mark. Basic beds and baths don’t take nearly that long and kitchens and living rooms may take longer. While I don’t promise to do any grooming/staging, I will wind up doing some from time to time so I can deliver quality images to the agent. If the home is a complete wreck, the agent will either get photos that accurately show that mess or they can pay a rescheduling charge to have me come back another time. I could be a stickler and point to my ToS, but as a service company, I have to bend a bit here and there or lose customers.

    I always do a walk through and know what images I intend to make very quickly. I don’t spend time agonizing over it like I used to. I even have a pretty good notion of how I’m going to light a room if it needs it. I’m not going way over the top and trying to make every image something that would be acceptable to the photo editor at a magazine but, glare, flare, CA, color casts, bad focus and compositions that don’t tell the story aren’t going to get me any referrals and will just open the door to competition. Great service is a key to RE photography, but quality images are required no matter how good the service is.

    Regardless of how I or anybody makes images, it’s important for a RE photographer that’s wants to stay in business to know what their costs are PER IMAGE and a good approximation of how much time each one of those images will take to finish and deliver to the client. That’s the only way to know if you have any chance of earning a good living or if they are wearing their gear out and making less than the kids at the fast food drive through. Marea’s question sounds a lot like many others where a photographer starts thinking that now that the MLS is allowing more images, they have to start providing more images… at the same price. Gas stations sell gas by the gallon, not by the tank full. If they did that, people would get as big of a tank as they could and put them out of business.

    There was a study that I think was done in 2017 that suggested that the sweet spot in terms of image count was 11-14. High end magazines publish 8-12 images of the homes they feature and if it’s 12, several of them are small. If it’s 8, most of them are large. They might be selecting from a larger gallery, but not too much larger. There isn’t the budget to shoot and edit 25 images at that level when the layout is only calling for 10. The AD is going to look at the home and make those 10 selections with, maybe, one or two alternates. I don’t see how you can state that it’s worthwhile to deliver 50 images to a client so they can select 25. You’ve either not ascertained correctly what the client wants/needs or you are way over-delivering. If I deliver 50 images to my editor when I’m doing journalism work when they only need 2, I’ll get a talking to. If I don’t know what’s the right image or a very narrow range of what’s needed, I’m not doing my job. I do get asked every so often if I have another version/angle/comp that might work better with the story after it’s written, but not very often these days. I know what my best images are and I’m not doing the editor any favors by flooding them with lots of choices.

    When I started RE photography I didn’t own my own home, but I was looking. It was easy to see that listings with lots (50+) of images were tedious to go through. 2-3 photos of most kitchens tells the story. I don’t need 10. Nor do I need 8 photos of the front of the house and pictures of each plant in the garden. Frankly, I didn’t even need to see that 3rd or 4th small bedroom or the closeup of the toilet. That they are there is in the information along with the square footage of the home. I’ve seen closeups of the nameplate affixed to the gas meter. Why was a picture taken of it? It was there. Hey, I can see Mt. Everest from the hotel bar, I really don’t need to go climb it to make it more real. Past a point, more images are a negative value. You have convinced somebody to book a showing or not. Too many and the chances go up that there will be something that makes them not want to call.

  • I do agree with understanding exactly how long it takes to shoot and process an “acceptable” image. Build that into your business plan. Then go a bit further and make it just a bit nicer but in the shortest time required.

    Agents all have different styles of marketing. You will succeed if you meet those demands of the agent but charge what it takes in terms of per hour rates, to meet those demands. Some of them want more images for a variety of reasons.

    As for me I shoot from 25 to 50 or more images. The number of images are set in my pricing tiers that are based on the listing price of the home. In each of three tiers I have time limits “not to be exceeded x time on site” and number of images “not to exceeded x images” go over and I charge more. 99% of the time I make or exceed my target rate.

    I am making a concerted effort to cut down on the number of images delivered for obvious reasons, more money per hour. I doubt if I will ever go below 25 images just because no agent here will accept 10-15 images no matter how good they are.

    So hey I react to the market demand. I don’t determine what the market demand is I deliver it. More images less quality… I’m ok with that, pay me. More Quality fewer images… I’m ok with that, pay me. More images higher quality… I’m ok with that, pay me. Want more images, higher quality, lower price… I know just the guy for you, here is his number. I’m a Pro and a business man. Give the competition all the low rate per hour business they want. I’m smart enough to understand what bad business means and does to a company. Kind of like when GM built that “Volt” that cost $80k to build but sold for $40k. They never made it up in volume because the market did not want it.

    Give them what they want and charge them for it, don’t tell them what they want. So my answer to the questions is “I give them as many as they are willing to pay for. They are willing to pay for anywhere between 25 and 50 images.” 50 images cost twice as much as 25 images… duh. The number just doesn’t matter, the money does.

  • I choose to let the agent decide. My agents order through my online site which gives them a choice to the size of package they want. I understand they are dealing with sellers that have different ideas, brokers that have different style guides and ideas and coaches that are telling them one thing or another. So rather than try and figure out what is best for them based off my opinion, I give them a choice to buy however many they deem necessary. I obviously charge more for larger photo packages because it is more time shooting and more time processing. I have gotten zero complaints other than a few cheap agents that want 50 photos now for what they were paying for 25 two months ago. We aren’t the cheapest company in town and these agents aren’t our target client anyway. Why try and figure out what is best where the data is in water that is so muddy, its nothing more than opinion on how many photos are needed?

    I also found that when I have them a choice of photos and a choice of other things they can add on during the ordering/checkout method online, my $$ per shoot has gone way up. Before I did this I was ave about $175 per shoot now I am averaging $368 per shoot. There is something about the psychology of letting them pick they extras rather than me trying to sell extras to them. We live in an Amazon world where its easy to opt in to buy things.

    Here is our pricing which comes in the form of “click to buy” on our order page:

    Here are our prices – we have thousands of combinations so it isn’t as easy as just sending a few prices.

    Silver Level Photography which includes the following:

    Hi-Def Still Images
    MLS & Print Property Photos
    Virtual Property Profile Page
    Branded and Unbranded Virtual Tours
    Enhanced Image Retouching
    Blue Skies, Green Grass, Bluing Pool Waters
    Images on TV’s and Monitors & Fire in Fireplace
    Flyer Print Creator
    Two Business Day Turn Around
    On-Line Image Delivery
    MLS Use Rights
    Custom Web Address

    number of photos delivered and price:
    20 images $150
    25 images $175
    35 images $225
    50 images $275

    Gold package you get everything in silver and in addition an animated slide show with stills set to royalty free music:

    20 images $209
    25 images $239
    35 images $269
    50 images $399

    Platinum Level

    same as Gold with the addition of:

    3D floorpan interactive tour
    guide view reports
    analytic reports
    pdf of floor plan

    these are priced per sq ft they start at $249 for 1500 sq ft and go up to $749 for up to 7500 sq ft

    here are the costs for additional add on services to the still phots above mentioned:

    Twilight Photography

    Twilight Photography Session – Exteriors (When scheduled with interior shoot) $125

    Premium Twilight Photography Session – Interiors and Exteriors (When scheduled at alternate time) $175

    ———

    Preparing your property for our photography is essential and your property must be ready before we arrive. We offer a full home photo prep service where we’ll turn on the lights, adjust blinds, remove trash cans, roll up hoses, remove personal photos, make beds, remove kids’ toys, place shoes in closets, etc. so you don’t have to. $100

    ____

    Video

    Full lifestyle video prices vary by number of locations, length of video, talent needed and usage. Prices start at $750. Please call to discuss project details and to get an accurate estimate. starting at $750

    curb appeal plus video – This is a video that shows the property highlights from outside and a few key shots of interiors with use of aerial photography and High End motion stabilization – these are very cinematic and will be added to your Zillow listing for high visibility. $350

    premium curb appeal – This does everything that the curb appeal does with addition of having 2 other locations shot to show lifestyle (locations must be within a 2 mile radius of property) $500

    Add a custom script and voice-over narration to your video. You decide on the gender, ethnicity, and style, and we’ll handle the rest. (Includes script writing with 1 round of revisions) $250

    Add a voice-over narration to any video. You decide on the gender, ethnicity, and style, and we’ll handle the rest. (Does not include script writing) $125

    Agent Intro Outro – Personalize your listing with a short, on-camera appearance where you describe
    the key features of your property. Includes an on-camera sign off letting people know how to contact you. Great for agents wanting to build their own brand. Must be included with a video package from above. $125

    Social Media teaser – Convert any video shoot into a :30 second social media teaser video to be used on Facebook or Instagram. Research shows that social videos get triple the engagement as non-video posts. We’ll write, edit, and supply you with a short video you can push out on your Facebook or Instagram pages. Includes: concept development, copywriting, editing, and agent logo/info card. (this is an add on to one of our other video packages.) $150

    ________________

    aerials

    Aerial Drone Still Images – No Video (When scheduled at time of interior shoot) $125

    Aerial Drone Video SkyScapes – Exclusive Property SkyScapes. A professional 18-35 second aerial video of your property set to music. Includes: MLS use rights, and royalty-free music. Fully insured pilots. Standard 3 business day turnaround. $295

    __________________

    social Media

    Facebook Property Post – You have the property photos. Now what? Let us turn that property content into a unique Facebook post that gets more traffic to your listing. We’ll create and supply the post content and you publish it to your Facebook page. Includes: concept development, copywriting, and 1 post creation. Can also be used for Instagram. $150

    Facebook Post – Monthly – We offer monthly social media content packages for high producing agents or brokers. We’ll work with you to create an overall content strategy and then supply 1 unique Facebook post per week. This is great package for agents and brokers building their own brand and searching for ways to stand out. Includes: concept development, copywriting, and post creation. Max 4 posts per month. Can also be used for Instagram. $500

    Facebook Page Set Up – Just getting started and not sure how to set up a Facebook business page for your brand? We’ll help you by creating all of the necessary pieces to make it happen. We’ll set up your account, create the art, write the copy, connect to your website, and then turn over the keys so you get off to a good social media start. $500

    Instagram Page Set Up – Over 400 Million people are currently using Instagram, which is now second to Facebook for social media platforms. We’ll set up your Instagram account to match your Facebook business profile so you can be found on all platforms. (“Facebook Brand Set Up” service must be included with this package) $100

  • I am a real estate agent and do all my own pictures and videos (with help from a drone pro). Long vs. short slideshows and videos is an interesting question. All the pros seem to like shore vs. long. The data does support the idea that if you have a long video (> 3 minutes) that most people who view it will not watch the entire video. However, that is not the real issue, it is WHO will watch the entire video, and as an agent do I care about the others? The 98% who don’t watch all of a video or all of a slideshow are not the important demographic. The important demographic is the 2% who do watch the whole thing, because they are the BUYERS. The one advantage I have as an agent is that I get to talk to the actual buyers of a house. What I learned from almost all of them is LONG is better. I created a 123 picture, 55 page, interactive eMagazine for a $3M house. The buyer told me that they (husband and wife and others) went through that entire presentation once or twice EVERY DAY. I created a 26-minute Virtual Showing video and the buyer of that house told me that she watched it every day for a month before she was able to make an offer. The day she actually walked into the house for the first time, I met her in the mudroom so she really had not seen the house yer, yet she immediately said, “I love this house, I want to buy it.” I don’t know how many others watched this video and gave up after 2 minutes, but I really don’t care. To me the optimum video size is a 2-3 minute video “Trailer” and a 20-30 minute “Virtual Showing.” And, the optimum number of pictures is the maximum # allowed by your MLS and a 50-150 picture, on-line, interactive slideshow/magazine.

  • It depends on the size of the house, the size of the property, the number of outbuildings and guest houses, pastures, fields, groves or none of the above. My market goes from mansions and ranches with many acres and agricultural land to small 2 bedroom 1.5 bathroom houses on 1/8 acre. So I shoot whatever seems to capture the property giving my clients options of what photos they feel will best fit in with their marketing aims. While I discuss their marketing points in advance, which image works best for me may not work best for them. I seldom shoot for less than 1.5 hours and often shoot all day for the high end properties; about 3 hours in the morning and then another 3 hours in the afternoon. Sometimes more when I am shooting video as well. So definately a sliding scale. And I charge enough to make this a profitable business model.

    And MLS is only one platform for their marketing. We also have the property site and print advertising. So many options to find photos to fill. And the larger properties often stay on the market a long time, some a year or two, so my clients want different views so their marketing, especially the print ads, can look fresh over time. That is for the sellers benefit so they don’t decide the agent (my client) is sitting on their hands. My clients don’e want to loose multi million dollar listings.

    So I work to satisfy not the narrow scope of MLS at time of listing but where my client might want to go in the future. A small starter house then probably gets about 20 – 25 images while a larger property or very large property usually gets 50+ images. And then of course there is the video. Realtors with small houses seem to want my intro video of less than a minute, I call it a “teaser”, that I can shoot in about 20 minutes when on location to shoot the stills and produce in an hour or so in post and charge $150 when part of the still shoot. For the large properties, they want my full video which always include drone stills and video plus ground based video which results in a full video coverage of anywhere up to 4-5 minutes plus a “teaser” version for MLS, social media and the property site to appear first with the full one accessible via the VIDEO button on the menu bar.

    So clearly my business model is more of a bespoke approach that depends on what my clients want from any particular property rather than a cookie cutter approach that better suits photographers who shoot many properties a week and have no choice but to establish firm standards based on shooting time and processing time. I feel fortunate to be living in a market that allows me to shoot and have a business model that best suits me as well as my clients. And I realize I am not typical of most RE photographers. But you did ask.

  • Each home is different.. some require more, some less. We don’t charge by the number of photos or time on site. Our pricing is roughly based on sqft where 90% of our shoots are the same price. If you hold true to the no more than X pics, it won’t be long before you hear ” why didn’t you shoot the……..? ” Are you going to go back only if the client pays more? Now your making 2 trips and/ or on the verge of loosing your client.
    We have decided to let the house dictate how many photos are required and let the client decide which or how many they want to use. While it may be true that SOME MLS systems limit the # of photos, each has their unique maximum. Also, agents can enhance their listings thru Realtor.com and IIRC, there is no max or a much higher max # of images.

    Who are we to say what is “enough”?

  • My licensing is done on square foot basis, in the end the average price ends up being around $10 per image. This includes full on lighting with strobe and ambient capture for compositing. Generally I deliver 6 to 8 exterior images, 2 to 3 for kitchens, 2-3 for each living area, 1-2 for home offices and other ancillary spaces, 2-3 for entertaining areas such as a Billiards room or home theater (both of which seem to be quite popular and my higher-end market), 1-3 for master bedroom, 2-4 for master bath, 85% of the time ancillary bedrooms can be covered in 1 shot, same for other baths.

    Here in my area finished basements are extremely popular in the high-end and sometimes it’s like a whole nother house down there with Top Notch finishes so the same formulas above apply to those types of basements.

    In the end I would say on your average three-bed two-bath home delivering somewhere between 25 to 35. When you start getting into the larger homes with lots of rooms and elaborate detail the number of images can start stacking up fairly significantly. The most I’ve ever delivered was 65 and that was for if 14000 square foot mansion (except one occasion for a builder’s ongoing marketing photos of another gargantuan mansion that was over a hundred, however that is what they asked and paid for). Most of my homes are four bedrooms and in the neighborhood of 3500 to 5000 square feet and those generally add up to 35 to 45 pics. The way I approach things don’t worry about the number of pics too much because with the square foot pricing you’re making what you should if you price your square foot unit correctly.

    Additionally, my minimum price is based off a 2500 square foot home, so the smaller ones will be worth my while and since my agents use me a lot, some of their smaller properties help balance out some of the larger ones where I may have had to go a little bit overboard.

    Not exactly relevant but wanted to add that If you are lighting and compositing your images with quality flash / ambient blending technique you should charge appropriately for it. I know there are many shooters out there trying to work the volume angle and be producing what I call good enough work and that’s fine if that’s what you want to do but believe me when I tell you this, that is how I started out and certainly gave me valuable experience but heading towards a quality over quantity approach and charging accordingly is a far better business model. You get some dedicated agents that you work with frequently that have lots of listings and it is far less stress than trying to Market to a bunch of people and juggle a ton of different things at once. Don’t get me wrong there’s still plenty of juggling but it’s a lot more controlled when you’re dealing with fewer agents.

    If you consistently produce good work the business comes and sustains itself and you don’t have to worry about competing with the “auto everything ambient bracket Enfuse/HDR crowd” because they are no competition when a savvy agent is your audience. What I’m getting at is don’t be overly concerned about the numbers, focus on quality and just do what makes sense.

  • I’m a real estate agent also, in FL. Until recently, our MLS allowed 25 images and I would deliver 30-40. This summer, the MLS increased to 50. So, for my clients, I was already close to 50 anyway and have been delivering 40-60 images at the same price.
    However, now that the holidays are here and it’s time to think about pricing for the new year, I’ve decided to offer a second tier.
    It will be something like 25-35 images, no change in pricing. For 40-60 images, it will have to be more. I haven’t decided the actual amounts yet.
    I expect the average client will only want the 25-35 images, and expect the higher tier service to appeal to high-end, large properties.

    Still working for cheap here in FL…

  • The number of images I deliver is determined by the client.
    We walk the property and discuss what we want to do and then I can deliver what they want.
    I price my projects on the scope of the job, my time, image usage and the PP load.
    I work with a small number of clients on higher end homes and they NEVER want too many images. The fantasy they are trying to project in the lifestyle homes they are offering can be destroyed by the inclusion of images that bring the viewer down to the realities of pool maintenance, water softeners and garbage pickup.
    The photos are supposed to say “I am attractive, funny and like long walks on the beach”. Not “And, by the way, I have a lot of gas sometimes and I like to pick my teeth with a knife.”

    The images are the bait to get a nibble, the job of the agent and the property is to set the hook.

  • Before Austin went to 40 images, I typically delivered 20-25 images; maybe less for a smaller, simpler house, more for more complex higher end homes. When the MLS went to 40 images, they also set it up so that the number of photos affected listing ranking, so *every* realtor wanted a minimum of 40 images, regardless of the house size… this effectively doubled my time on the property, and was one of the reasons I went to HDR and a flat rate for 40 images. The higher rate (sometimes doubled) cut into business quite a bit (everyone wants more, but they don’t want to pay for it), but at least my per-shoot average went up significantly. The problem was that many of my competitors produced the 40 without raising their prices. The good news was that this filtered out the properties that I didn’t like shooting anyway…

  • The question, “How Many Photos Do You Deliver for a Typical Real Estate Shoot?” is not well-formed to get good, comparative data, since the question is not standardized. An RE photographer who typically shoots >3000 sq/ft properties would likely produce larger photo sets than one who typically shoots <1000 sq/ft properties. Standardizing the question might look like the following: "On average, how many photos do you deliver per every 500 sq/ft for a typical real estate shoot?" Thus, the polling results of the original question are not particularly meaningful–either descriptively or prescriptively–due to the question's lack of standardization.

  • I usually deliver all of them.

  • @Mark, The work on your website looks awesome. It’s easy to see why your customers are perfectly happy to market their listings with just the minimum number of your images. If a buyer doesn’t want the home after viewing them, 20 more aren’t going to help.

    It seems we have the same outlook when it comes quality vs. quantity. The top agents are going to want the quality and as Scott pointed out, you wind up with a consistent client base and don’t have to spend time going back and forth with agents over the number of images, discounts, etc.

    I’ll take the 100g Kobi beef steak over a whole bag full of Big Macs every time.

  • “The images are the bait to get a nibble, the job of the agent and the property is to set the hook.”

    This is of course the initial usage for the images. However, some agents will continue to use the images for a substantial
    period of time after they they have sold the property that is the subject of the photos, not only on their websites and in private listing presentations
    to prospective clients, but also in advertising and direct mail promotions, to gain additional business. When this usage is an important
    consideration, clients may tend to place more importance on the quality, rather than large quantities, of the images.

  • @David, Precisely.
    Thus one can get proper compensation for a well done image that has value beyond the original sale.
    What is being hinted at in this discussion is the segmentation of the market into commodity and premium products.
    When one is touting the quantity of images, speed of delivery and price, they are declaring their incremental superiority over their competition in a commodity market.
    A premium product is selected because of its unavailability elsewhere. E.G. You can’t buy a Porsche made by anyone other than Porsche.
    Pricing as a commodity means razor thin margins as the market sets your compensation. There is no wheat farmer on Earth that tells the market what they will take for their wheat. The market tells them.
    That is why commodities are traded in the millions of bushels, tons or cubic feet.
    I also have learned that the agent that wants 40+ images is not a smart one. I have also learned that a 2000 sq/ft home can sell for $3 million dollars and that the smart agent will not be looking for the guy with the best price.
    Markets vary and business models vary but I guiding principle of small business is that it can never be a high volume/ low price business and expect to have a confident future.

  • In all seriousness, I am with Mark on this.

    I always compare the number of images posted to the length of time a feature film preview at the movie theatres. For a 2 hour movie, they show you maybe 2 mins of what they think will want you to pay more to see the movie.

    If we post 50 images of the entire house why bother to drive there and see it in real life. Let’s show them less to make them want more.

  • I am very much on the other end of this. I shoot the photos of the house in a logical order. That is…to take them on a tour of the house via my photos. These “25 shot” packages by default mean the photographer does not have that goal in mind.

    Let’s just run through the shots on a bread-and-bitter 4br 2.1ba 3,000 sqft hous with a finished basement.

    Exterior Front
    2 front elevation
    1 Garage
    1 walkway
    1 front door

    Interior
    1 threshold
    2 living room
    1 dining room
    2 wide kitchen
    2 detail kitchen
    1 kitchenette
    2 wide family room
    1 detail family room (fireplace shot)
    1 half bath
    1 staircase (indicates transition to upper level to viewer)
    2 master bedroom (one direct on and one showing master bath door)
    2 master bath
    3 spare bedroom
    1 full bath
    3 finished basement
    1 laundry (if really nice)

    Exterior Back
    1 deck/patio
    1 back yard looking out from house
    2 rear elevations showing “big picture”.

    Let’s add them up. 5 exterior front, 4 exterior back, 26 interior. So 35 total.

    This is the minimum. There may be extra features if the house is on the water with a bunch of dock space and onto. Boat hoists or other stuff that needs to be highlighted. Sauna in the house? Include it. Library? Add it in. Bonus room? Better be there.

    But all of the these shots listed except the laundry room are non-negotiable if you ask me. Every one of them makes sense and failing to include any of them means you are making a choice to compromise the set just to fit your total number of delivered images into a “box” know. As a “package” that you sell from your site because you chose to base your business on package pricing.

    That being the case…it blows my mind that people are delivering less than 32 on average.

  • @Brian, From my perspective you are overshooting the home. 5 images of the front? For a tract home, I might do 2 but more than often it’s just one that will capture it fine. I’ll leave off the powder room many times if it’s small and rather plain and other times I’ll look for a composition that gives a peek into it to show it’s there. Finished basements are pretty rare here so that’s another 3 deleted. What we may have every once in a while is a “Casita” or a pool house and in that case I will be making 2-3 images for that but it’s not that common. Living room might only be one. 2 shots for the kitchen. If the fireplace is in the other photos, I don’t bother with a detail image. It is already seen and it’s designer/builder image more than something with much value for RE.

    If you have a home with upgraded fixtures, a few detail shots are in order. If the fixtures are bog standard builder selected, I don’t bother. They’ll already be visible in another image.

    Backyards are always variable for me. They’re easy images to make unless I’m having to work around the sun and I make the number that shows the overall layout. If there are side yards with space for an RV, I’ll frame for that. If the sides are narrow and have AC units, trash cans, pool mechanicals, I’ll frame to not show them.

    The whole time I am trying to compose images that tie spaces together so I am showing common areas with a slice of the adjoining room if I can so if there is a door from a formal dining area into the kitchen, it will be seen in a photo from one side or the other. Unless a stairway is ornate, It will be shown, but won’t have a dedicated image. Some architects put stairs in that make a statement and some put stairs in to be able to walk up/down one level.

    My goal is to make better images first of all and make them faster secondly. Making very good images is self-explanatory. Making them faster is so I can earn a good living doing it, not so I can necessarily deliver more photos on each job. I want each image working as hard as it can to sell the house and the agent not twice as many images working half as hard. You can call my approach minimalist. I personally don’t see the value in lots of ho-hum photos or massive coverage of every room. If you want that, sell the agent video and make the stills package something special so people want to watch the video. Pretty much the same as Tim was saying about feature film trailers. Even then, I’ve seen trailers that ruined watching the movie since all of the big scenes were shown and not much was left.

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