Can You Sell Lifestyle and Community Real Estate Photos as Stock Photos?

December 27th, 2018

NeighborHoodRay in North Carolina asks:

I have sold approx. $8,500 worth of “Lifestyle” photos over the past few years without even promoting. I want to proactively market these photos going forward and sell them on an stock photo website.  Is anyone actively selling lifestyle photos via a stock photo website?

Offering community photos for the major neighborhoods you shoot is a great idea because most listing agents don’t do a very good job of selling the neighborhood. So to me, it seems like a better approach to use your library of neighborhood photos as another reason for Realtors to choose you as their real estate photographer. Offer 5 or so neighborhood photos for all listings you shoot in certain neighborhoods where you do a lot of shoots.

When we’ve talked about this subject before, very few readers have said that they make much money off selling real estate images as stock photos.

Anyone making money off selling stock photos?

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9 Responses to “Can You Sell Lifestyle and Community Real Estate Photos as Stock Photos?”

  • Selling community photos is a one time thing per agent. We took the approach that we will shoot the communities, update them on a regular time frame and provide them to our agents for “Free”…. as long as they only use them for properties that our company has photographed. They use someone else to shoot…then let them provide the images.

  • I just figured out how to set up a SmugMug account to sell stock photos. I loaded up some old ones just to see how it works.

    My thinking is to make a page on my website with a list of areas available… to make it easy to see what’s available in the area of interest I will embed a custom google map and add a placemark for area photos Here is a sample of the type of map I’m going to try.

    If you want to use Smug Mug just to sell “Downloadable” photos you have to go in and set up a price list, Delete all the category options to sell prints. Then set your prices for downloads. NOTE: WHEN YOU MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR PRICE LIST FOR DOWNLOADS YOU HAVE TO “LOG OUT” TO SEE THE CHANGES ON YOUR SITE!

    Link to selling stills and videos on smug mug…

  • Stock photography is “dead”!
    I do have images on Getty as well as Adobe Stock. The problem today, they are selling images at really “silly” prices.
    Consider the work involved, Title, Description and Keyword like the buyer thinks. All this involves an incredible amount of time and for what?
    Getting is offering images for $9.90 each, even cheaper when they are bought as part of a packet. My reward? 15% of $9.90, which one still has to pay tax on the earnings.
    My Getty account for all my sales stands at the monumental sum of $28.xx. A sum far less than my CODB.

    My contribution today may be a bit off key but it is to highlight the downfalls of Stock platforms.

    Recently I sold my first image on Adobe Stock, one day an email arrived announcing “we have sold your image xyz”.
    The only thing that was missing were the trumpet fanfares and the hoisting of flags. My earnings for the sale? The tremendous sum of $0.99! It just wasn’t worth the bother!!

    To be successful one needs no less than 5000 images on a vendor’s platform. Then there is a little chance of making a bit more. But just think, how long will it take to Post Process, Tag, Title, Describe and Keyword 5000 images?

    Adobe had a presentation a few months ago pushing their iStock. They had an attorney present bragging how he make a four figure income as a contributor to their Stock. I say this was utter BS as he didn’t present any proof of this income!

    Alamy, a UK founded platform used to be good offering us 50% of the sale. Unfortunately they realise this is not sustainable in the cut throat market of today and announced they must drop the commission to 40%. This is the second time they have dropped the contributor commission in the last couple of years which has caused a rebellion amongst some of the contributors, many of which have removed their images.

    May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous 2019 – forgetting the most import wish of all, GOOD HEALTH!

  • PS that should be “NOT” forgetting the most import wish of all, GOOD HEALTH!

  • Out of curiosity I have just tried out the translation you offer into German.
    It is very poor! On many occasions the meaning of the text is lost completely.

    I am biased, German is my second language with my wife (German mother tongue) being an international simultaneous conference interpreter.

  • Has anyone considered selling their “community” photos through an annual subscription package? I’ve considered this in the past but have never gone through with it. Maybe something like $149/per year gains you access to community images, local highlights (parks, rec areas, etc.), aerials of desirable neighborhoods, etc.

  • I make community photos when I have time between jobs of local parks and points of interest for agents to use on listings when they license the listing images from me. If they would like to use them on their website outside of listings, I charge a very reasonable price that reflects on how good of a customer they are for me. Most of my area is SFH, but there are a few walled-gardens with basketball/tennis courts, gyms, etc. It’s a kicker to get more work and to help the agent get more listings.

    The images that I make money on secondary licensing from aren’t the community shots that anybody could make. They’re interiors, backyard landscape and so on. Most middle class people are moving for work or to be closer to family so selling the “lifestyle” of the area doesn’t really come into play. For agents selling homes in retirement villages, ski areas and other vacation spots, lifestyle images can be more important. If it is that important, the client should be requesting the images and be ready to pay for them. If you have some ready, that’s great but it can be a lot of spec work for very little return if you aren’t prepared to track down and market to potential clients that are shopping for those images.

  • Thanks for the replies. Two items I should have better detailed in my question are: 1) The sales I have generated have come from Builders, not Listing Agents. Most of my builders are big in promoting the local “lifestyle” (parks, shopping, dining, etc.) one enjoys when buying one of their homes, and 2) By community I didn’t mean neighborhood, I meant the entire town area the neighborhood is located in. Sorry for the confusion. Examples of photos I’ve sold: Local Balloon Festival, Outdoor concert venues, fireworks over downtown skyline, local park amenities, major shopping areas, etc.

    Any other thoughts?

  • Ok, So I just set up what I think might be a good way to accomplish this and make it user-friendly. I set up a web page using GoDaddy web builder. I set up a Smug Mug portfolio account and set up a Google My Maps custom map and embedded it on my site. I made a custom map markers on the Google my Map that had the locations of the photos with a link to the Smug Mug Gallery of that site where they can be purchased at any price you set.

    Note: When setting up your price list you will have to delete a large number of options if you want to sell downloads only. To see the changes YOU HAVE TO LOG OUT OF SMUGMUG.

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