My experience is that in real estate photography you must work for yourself to make a living.
I've seen a bunch of discussion lately about people wanting to find real estate photography jobs as a part time or weekend job to make extra money and allow you to transition to being a full time real estate photographer.
Here is one:
I would LOVE to some how talk a brokerage into hiring me as their full time “staff photographer”
Here's a quote from someone that is a full time "staff photographer" for a large brokerage:
I'm just starting out in the real estate photography and I'm fully aware that I'm underpaid. I do the photography, put up/take down signs, do the lock boxes and take measurements and get just under $10 an hour. All for one of the largest realtors in my area. Ugh, that actually hurt to type that out haha.
Over the last 7 or 8 years I've run into a huge number of situations where photographers work for large tour companies or large brokerages and they end up making about as much as they would if they worked for MickyDs or Walmart. Ten dollars an hour or less.
What needs to be understood about real estate photography is the profit margin is small because there is frequently a lot of photographer competition and listing agents in many areas are not willing to pay much for a real estate shoot. So if you get some other company like a tour company in the food chain the photographer doesn't make much.
In 2010 I spent time helping Robert in Woodinville, WA who was making $30/shoot working for a large tour company where he covered equipment costs and travel costs traveling throughout the Seattle area. You can't make a living in these circumstances! Peggy Taylor in Tampa is another example of starting out working for a big tour company and then becoming independent. Both Robert and Peggy couldn't make it working for a tour company but built very successful businesses when they became independent.
The bottom line is you may be able to get some experience working for a large brokerage or a tour company but you have to be independent to create a worthwhile job that you can many enough to support a family on. It's hard work but if you want to be successful you must be independent in this business. If anyone has evidence to the contrary please enlighten us.