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How Long Does It Take to Photograph a House?

Published: 22/06/2021

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Similar to other kinds of photography, photographing real estate properties involves variables like natural lighting and composition. To determine how long it should take for professional real estate photographers to photograph a home, we're going to help you plan a timeline to capture quality real estate photos.

How Long Does It Take to Photograph a House?

It may take 1.5 hours, more or less, to take photos of an average home. The time you spend taking real estate photos depends on the property size and style. As long as your light sources and equipment are ready, you can spend around 3 minutes on each shot.

We're using an average-sized 2,000 square foot home as an example for this article. Now, let's look at the variables and tips to efficiently capture real estate photographs for realtor clients and earn more money for your photo business.

Real Estate Photography Timeline

During a real estate photo shoot, spend at least 15 minutes for a walkthrough of the space to determine the selling point of a property.

Walk around the house and see how you can prevent image distortion based on the furniture arrangement, architectural features, and size of every room.

Unlike pathways or entryways that may only consume a few minutes, about two-thirds of your photo shoot time would most likely go to the bigger rooms, such as the master's bedroom, dining room, and kitchen. 

Depending on the setup, it may only take about 5 to 10 minutes for you to take photos of a bathroom or an auxiliary room. Generally, you only need 2 to 3 pictures per area, so it shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes per area.

House interior with high ceiling

Factors to Consider in a Real Estate Photo Shoot Timeline

For the good of your business (and your own well-being), there is way more to consider when taking photos of an interior or exterior photos. These variables would influence whether you can spend less than 90 minutes or not.

Setup Time

Hiring a professional home stager or stylist can cut your preparation time. In contrast, preparing the space by yourself would add to the time, especially when decluttering or rearranging furniture to improve camera angles and image compositions.

Natural Light

Lighting is among the most vital elements in any kind of photography. When an exterior has limited natural light sources or an interior contains small windows, it might take you about 15 minutes to set up external lights and try flash power.

Picture Count

The number of shots may depend on the real estate agent, online listing requirements, or your service offering. You need to take at least 20 to 25 photos for real estate marketing. Your efficiency influences how long it would take to complete the shots, although 90 minutes should be enough.


The weather and time of day impact the condition of the space, and consequently, the quality of pictures. For example, dusk or sunset can provide a dramatic effect on your shots. The schedule often depends on the realtors, so coordinate with them how much time you need to take photographs.

Readjusting Time Depending on the Photos

Unlike portraits, real estate photography requires you to think on behalf of the buyers. It's your job to view the space through pictures as if they only have less than 90 minutes to tour their next potential home.

Real estate photography style also varies depending on the photographer. Hence, mixing two or more techniques may either shorten or lengthen your working time.

Open plan living area interior
  • HDR photography: Better than photographing complicated areas straight-on, HDR photography allows you to take three images of the same scene, yet with varying shutter speeds and lighting setups. This takes only a few seconds to modify camera settings, although it accumulates more minutes when applying this style in each room.
  • Virtual staging: If you have a high volume of 5 to 8 houses per day, it would be impossible to spend an hour or so for each place, especially when the locations are far away from each other. As you do a walkthrough, consider what spaces you could incorporate visual staging.
  • Drone photography: Particularly when photographing massive spaces, drone or aerial footage enables you to take a wide-angle shot to show buyers the spaciousness of the structure or neighborhood. However, your experience in aerial photography may affect how long you need to control an aerial camera.
  • Lightroom workflow: Even before the appointment or as you're doing a walkthrough, consider the presets you'll be using for post-processing. In this way, you can take RAW shots and readjust the colors when photo editing. This saves you precious seconds in modifying contrast and highlights while shooting.

Related Questions

What Equipment Should I Prepare for a Real Estate Photo?

Use a wide-angle lens, weatherproof camera body, tripod, and flash as your primary real estate photography equipment. For bright and clear blue skies, bring UV and polarizing filters for exterior shots. As opposed to a sunny day, gloomy weather may need an external light and softbox.

How Long Does It Take to Take Real Estate Videos?

Depending on the realtor client's requirements or the features, a real estate video typically lasts for 2 to 6 minutes. This kind of work would take around 240 to 300 minutes to finish, so consider this when combining photos and videos in a single session.

What's the Turnover Time for Real Estate Photos?

Agents usually demand a quick turnaround for real estate pictures, so try to deliver the files within 1 to 2 business days. This is why it's crucial that you complete the session in more or less 90 minutes so that you have ample time for post processing and sending the files.


Real estate agents need photos for marketing to attract buyers and earn money. As a professional real estate photographer, you need to plan a hyper-efficient approach to take photos of an average-sized home for only 90 minutes. With these tips, you can provide high-quality services that your competitors can't match. Along with some interior design advice, you'll be able to clients to make properties look more appealing.

40 comments on “How Long Does It Take to Photograph a House?”

  1. There is another side to the issue, are your clients there with you and are you holding them up? Also, you didn't say how long you do spend.

  2. I am along the same line of work as Brandon. Those like Tony and others that want to spend the time and effort to get what "they"want....Okay by me. I am in this for the business. I have a long career where I had a studio and did weddings for major bucks. When I got burned out doing that, I was turned on to RE work by an associate. At first, I could not believe the low amount photographers were getting for their work..., then I saw the work and understood. This was a long time ago and while I still had to bite my tongue about what I could charge, I put my line into the water to see what would/could happen.

    Long story short, Agents are not going to pay more than they want to risk (they don't always sell the property....even with our pretty pics). So, that left the volume to be the engine of profit, not the quality. Can I produce higher quality images by spending 1.5 hours for a 2,000 sq ft property....Yep, but then I would be giving away my time, effort and expertise to someone who does not want to pay for it. So, I have found a "sweat spot" where the agents love what they get and what they are willing to pay for.

  3. I second Brandon's times. I am hitting right at the 30-35 min mark for a 2k home. 2/3 of my time is spent on the complicated/bigger sections. Kitchen, dining, family, master. I can knock out the auxiliary bedrooms and bathrooms in about 3-5 minutes and about 5 minutes on exteriors. My post production takes about 30-40 minutes per home.

    A key to speeding up is to remove conversation. It's cool to talk to the owner, agent or listing coordinator while on site but you can really spend a lot of extra time chit chatting and worse miss a shot or a lighting scenario you will need in post. I have chatted my butt into an extra 20-30 minutes before and always prefer to knock out a home alone. I have shot 2k sq ft homes in 20 minutes before being left alone when lighting was easy. You will get better as you work the same style over and over. When I was shooting just HDR I was crushing large 3k homes in 15-20 minutes now that I light nearly every room I'm a tad slower in home but post is faster for me and my product is much better because of it.

    A king of speed in our industry is Scott DuBose he let me shadow him on a few of his shoots and the man is dialed in. He spends 30 min for the shoot and post combined. Guy is an animal so faster can be done. You just need to dial in your style and tweak it for years.

  4. Hi @Jennifer. Im in the same boat as you regarding time in this business and have the same question. I agree with @Jacob’s comment about how being chatty can eat up time. So like many others, I’m working on building up my speed as I perfect my style of shooting. The issue for me has been to provide superior service with each shoot which takes time. I am learning to stick to a routine (camera and flash settings, room and picture count workflow, scaling down on equipment used, etc) and that has helped tremendously. I took on @Garey Gomez’s challenge and bought a sling bag to reduce my equipment I take on site. This has helped build my confidence. Now on to building up my customer count. Best wishes... and don’t worry so much.

  5. Wow, its nice to hear I'm at least on par! Always nice to read along with other new folks as well as veteran professionals. My 2 cents; I've been photographing real estate for about 6 years now both contract and independently. Independently of late. My average listing is around 3k sq/ft and I average between 1/2 to 1hr per property. In my market I will say my biggest stumbling block is whether or not the home is "photo-ready." Many times, if onsite, the homeowner, agent, or stager insists on moving items around during he session. Even after being advised how to plan for marketing photography prior to the appointment. This may raise another question here maybe?? In any event @Jennifer, Congratulations on your endeavour and I wish you MUCH success!!!

  6. I seem to be the odd man out. I take as much time as I need to do it right and complete the requirements given by my clients. That may be 1.5 hours, my usual minimum, or all day. But then I don’t have any average houses in my market. Occasionally I shoot a 3 BR, 2.5 BA ranch but almost always owners have remodeled and added other features. And most exteriors are complex with everything from pools, spas, other waterworks, patios and decks, groves of trees and so on. And my prices start at $365 and go up with add ons from drone stills to twilight coverages. Then add in video of all of the above and we have a lot of time involved even for what had started as a standard 1960’s ranch.
    But then I have a feeling that my market is not typical since even a standard unimproved ranch is going for half a million so my clients have a decent commission to draw on.
    So I think the question has to addressed based on each photographers market and what they want as a life style. Do you want to shoot 2 or 3 houses a day or 2 or 3 a week? How much you can charge for your work. How much you need to make to house and feed your family. It is such a personal decision that I don’t think you can come up with a rule of thumb. There are many factors for each photographer to consider. Today for example a client is having me shoot a truncated session so she can get her ad design into local publications even though the property is not fully ready to shoot. When it is staged, garage sale over, then I will be going back for the stills, drone and video. So I just can’t find much commonality with my set of clients in my market.

  7. I’ll throw a different perspective out there and say that I could shoot faster than I do, but choose not to. I enjoy this too much to run around all day, because then it does truly and only become a “job.”

    In my market the average home is ~2000ft and ~$700k. That home takes me 1.5 hours to shoot (including drone), and about the same time to edit. I try not to do more than 2 homes per day, and my average invoice is around $300.

    Though I do change lenses pretty often, of late the only lighting I’ll use is a single AD200, which I keep in a lens pouch on my belt. I do always have an AD400 in the truck if I need it, but I’ll usually instead choose to pop flashes and composite large spaces instead of blasting it with bigger lights.

    Having said all that, my business is starting to grow beyond what I can handle myself, so as much as I love the artistic nature of this work, I find myself needing to standardize the process for consistency among multiple shooters.

  8. I'm a newb in the field as well. I've only been doing this for 10 months now. I'm a bit more in line with Brian and Peter in that I take more time. Partly because I want to move slowly and deliberately, and partly because I am so new at this. Everything takes me quite a bit of time, from set up to shoot to post. I'm am still DEEP in the learning curve(that won't ever change, which is one reason why I love doing this). I'm blown away by what I see the times are for shoots and post by many. I wonder "how do they do that???"! It's impressive! I don't want to run and gun like that at this point but I respect the efficiency of the workflow for sure. I do want to increase my efficiency in all areas and am working to do so. In time...

    That being said, a 2k sq/ft home takes me about 2-3 hours to shoot and about 3 in post. I shoot flambient with only a bit of bracketing and no HDR. Also, I have been shooting mostly vacation rental properties that want more long term quality shots. I shoot in the same style for real estate with only a few corner to corner shots to appease. My clients like my work. One thing I'd recommend is to try to find someone where you are that does this and ask to tag along to see their workflow. This is something I would like to do but I live in a small town where there are no true solo RE shooters that shoot in the run and gun style, at least that I know at this point.

    Good luck in your new endevour Jennifer!

  9. Sometimes the smallest homes take the MOST time... A 1200-1500 sf home in my area is upwards of $1M. A 3000 sf home around $3M-$4M. That being said, we have some super selective clients. These homes NEED to look like a million bucks... A 1200 sf home, if properly prepared, I can shoot in about 45min to an hour. When there is clutter, and we have to move stuff in and out of the shots, it can take closer to 2 hours if I have a chatty agent/seller "helping". I use quotes on "helping" because 85% of the time I'm trying to get them out of a shot or reflection. It is very difficult for them to hide in a 1200 sf home. At least in the big homes I can send them to another floor...

    My average appointment, is about 1.5 hrs - and I won't do more than 3 in a day so as not to become overwhelmed on edits. My ideal week is 3 on Monday, edit Tuesday. 3 on Wednesday, edit Thursday. 1 on Friday morning, edit that one Friday afternoon. I'll flex on days if I have a client that can't do a M/W/F shoot... but for the most part I'm in a good rhythm with it.

    Instead of trying to spend LESS time at a home, I'm in a position now where I'm trying to spend MORE time per house to add extra services like 360, teaser videos, floor plans, etc. If I can grow the $ per home, then I spend less time dealing with a volume based "run & gun" and instead focus on the creativity and higher dollar packages. Just a thought if your homes are spread out and you find traveling between homes a time eater...

  10. In our area, average is around 1,900sqft, priced around $266k. My goal is around 30 minutes at each home. Some homes have amazing lighting and it makes my job much easier and I can be in and out in 15 minutes. We also have a huge share of homes around here with most windows shuttered tightly and blackout drapes covering everything without shutters, which also makes the job go quickly. For larger homes (like a 5600 sqft home I photographed the other day) I was on site for around 2 hours. Different clientele, different techniques, much different price point.
    I found out what kinds of budgets agents in the area were willing to spend for their photography, and then over 10 years I've come up with my own way of shooting that makes use of that budget with my time constraints.
    When I get to editing, again, I budget about 20 minutes per home. If I've got a good rythm going and homes aren't spread apart, I'm able to shoot, drive to my next appointment, edit the previous home and the repeat the process.

  11. The agents set the time for our appointments so travel time is hard to plan for. Sometimes they will cooperate so there is no harm asking for that cooperation. Many things prevent the agent from changing when the images can be taken. To cut time at the location you can stop using a flash and outsource. Take 5 brackets raw. If there is very low ambient or no ambient then you have to pop one maybe two raw flash images by pulling the yn560iv out of your vest pocket and bounce the light. Every home is different so no set time is possible. Plan for your travel time and time at the home to be 1.5 hours. You might be faster or slower depending on many variables. Always call the agents to let them know you are going to be late or early. They love early.

  12. I am a 55-bracket ambient shooter and I outsource. I just left my last appointment. 35 photos took 50 minutes. I'm unhappy it took that long.

  13. Average house for me is around 2200 sq.ft. I shoot 3 brackets with flash and use HDR. On site for 1.5-2.0 hours and spend 2 hours editing. I shoot just one house per day.

  14. I allocate 2 hours for each property from arrival the pulling out of the driveway. If I know that the interior finishes are dark and shiny, I add more time. A 2/1 home is obviously going to take far less time than 3/4, 4,000sqft home that's nicely appointed. Constrained to 2 hours, I can get through all of the homes I've encountered in my area. If I had doubts, I'd do all of the most important photos so anything left off would be a utility room or the Nth small bedroom. I could even leave off a bunch of exterior photos as I can always pick those up later without anybody needing to be on site to let me in and supervise.

    My goal is to keep working towards getting primarily higher end properties. If I'm not spending the time to really nail the photos of the middle class homes I do now, I'm not going to have a portfolio that's going to attract the higher end clients. Temperament is going to be an issue too. Doing high volume work is far more technical than artistic. The images have to be very formulaic because you can't spend anything thinking about them if you are going to make 35 images in less than an hour. To me that sort of pace seems athletic.

    A tightly booked day also means that any hiccups lead to cascading problems. If an agent is 10 minutes late, you have to cancel their job and move to the next one or that job will get pushed back and on through the rest of the day. If weather, road closures, fires, etc lose you a day of shooting, you have to find some place in your schedule to put those jobs or risk the agent finding another photographer so they can get their listing up. Some good clients may work with you on rescheduling, but as fast paced photographer, you have to be more like a vending machine without any time to establish a good personal relationship.

    The upside of doing "run and gun" is volume and money. If you can net $75/house after expenses and outsourced editing, that's $600 at 8 jobs per day, $3,000/week, $13,200/month provided you can keep the pipeline full all of the time. Some people can do that and are happy with their job. It certainly pays the bills.

    If you can photograph/video 2 homes each day at $400 ea, that's $800/day. Work 3 days a week and it's $2,400/week times 10 months/year is $96,000 less expenses and taxes. More time to craft each image and a slower pace which might be important to people past a certain age. Tack on extra charges for aerial and twilight images and it's not a stretch to be grossing $100k/year with plenty of time off in the slow season.

  15. I just shot a 3300 SQ FT home built in 1903. It took me 2 hours on the nose for the inside and outside. Processing will take another 2 hours.
    When I first started, that home would have taken a lot longer to shoot.
    Two weeks ago, I shot a home that was 5000 SQ FT. That took 3 hours to shoot and about as long to process.
    I shoot what a home has to offer. I can now include nuance shots that show off the homes character since the Washington MLS is now offering up to 40 shots per home.
    No more that two homes per day to keep quality at a high point.

  16. This is such a great thread, I am glad that it is here.
    This brings up so many questions so I am not sure if this is the right place to ask them, but I will and hope to receive some feedback.

    Is there a place / training video that provides the right place to stand when taking shots? I know every room is different but I have heard so many... take the longest wall and split into thirds and stand in the middle. I have heard always stand at an angle...
    What do you all do? What is the best to capture great angle - being very efficient with time

    What lighting set up do you use
    Do you use two lights (flash +1)? Please share what has given you the best success in lighting

    If you shoot bracketed
    Are you walking around the room to light dark areas and brush in during post-processing?

    For your pricing
    what is the best model to mold to smaller communities? I charge $135.00 for 35 shots. Shoot bracketing (5 shots) +1 ambient
    Any suggestions on how to raise prices without losing clients?

  17. @Dara, that's a lot of ground to cover. A whole bunch of it is available on the site. Even though I often type long replies, I'll just cover your last question.

    One of the first things you need to know to set your price schedule is what your costs are. Just being in business costs money. A local business license, bank fees, insurance, business cards and so on. Start with listing out your fixed costs that you have to cover regardless of whether you get any work or not. Second is what it costs you to do a particular job. Mostly, that's going to be travel costs such as gas/electricity but either work out maintenance costs per mile or add $.40-$.50/mile as a catch all for things like oil changes, tire wear, depreciation, etc. The shutter on your camera has a certain lifetime so there is a cost per click. Flashes give out over time and may not be repairable. Batteries lose a little on every cycle. You need to come to grips with at least an approximation on how fast your gear gets used up per click, per job or whatever. You should consider yourself as an employee and pay yourself a reasonable rate for your services. Taxes are also going to take a bit bite. The company also needs to make a profit after all of the above. It needs to cover gear replacements, upgrades and repairs. You may need to rent gear if you break something. At the end of the year the company can pay you a dividend on what's left.

    To get to a price that achieves your goals, you need to estimate the minimum number of jobs you might get in a month and your optimum target number. If you plan to be a more methodical shooter and limit yourself to no more than 3 bookings each day, you will start to be able to estimate what you have to charge if you can book 3 jobs/day 5 days a week. If you can command $1,000/job and agents will pay you that much, you could do one or two jobs a week. If the going rate is $200/job, you may have to book at least one job per day to stay afloat. Remember that the tax man hates having to allow you to be self-employed so there are extra taxes for it. Earning $48k/year with your photo business nets less than making a gross salary of $48k as an employee. If you have an old version of TurboTax, play around with some scenarios.

    Be sure to break down what you may charge into different units. If it's taking you 4 hours to make the excessive number of 35 photos for a middle class home, that's $33.75/hour. Expenses drop that more and you AND the company both need to be paid so you wind up "taking home" maybe $15/hour. Seeing as that's minimum wage in many places now or very close, you'd be better off at Home Depot where you're covered by workman's comp insurance and would pay less money in taxes along with a more consistent schedule.

    How to raise prices can be two-fold. 35 images of a 3/2 is too many. I can cover all of the important shots in 14 or less. Unfortunately, to keep agents happy, I have to deliver between 16 and 24 depending on the property so my standard quote is for a nominal 20 images with additional images charged per image. Each tier of my pricing is based on distance. You can make fewer images for the same charge which might let you squeeze in another booking each day. You might just add 10% to your current rates. If you haven't raised prices in some time, you could be effectively charging much less then when your pricing went into effect. You could do both. Charge a little more and cut down the base number of photos.

    Do you know how much time per photo it takes you over one job? The paperwork isn't going to be the same whether it's 10 photos or 50 so that's a constant. Try to find the average. A light and bright home with nice big windows might be a quick job and a dark and shiny interior can be really time consuming to get to look good so taking the time of either one is misleading. The last time I did my estimates, I kept track of jobs over a week and did the math from that. It's probably time to do it again and I will when it gets a bit busier. I expect that it will be close since I'm on site roughly the same amount of time and while I can process images faster since I come home with better ones, I do a bit more color work then I used to which puts me back where I started.

    The worst way to determine pricing is to look at what your competition is charging. Cheap operators will come and go. If you have a firm grip on your costs, you can easily estimate what that el cheapo has to be netting. I've figured a few at less than $10/hour. They'll pack it in soon enough or have to up their prices a large amount. If your competitor is a run and gunner that sends their images off to Vietnam for processing, they might be cheaper. You have to have differentiate yourself with better quality and customer service. I see a couple competitors in my area that have the look of using outsourced processing. The local MLS is rumbling about clamping down on over-processed images as they look more like CGI than photographs. It's also not a popular look for higher end properties. The competitors pricing will tell you if what you have to charge to earn a living is too much more than the local market may support. That doesn't mean you can't get your rates, it just means you will have to be better at sales. You could even be in with some good luck if agents are not happy with the service and quality that they have been getting and are willing to pay more for something better. It's the difference between a big bag of McDonalds hamburgers or a small but quality steak at a fancy restaurant. If I can afford the latter, steak it is.

  18. I really need to spend more time proof reading. "The paperwork isn’t going to be the same whether it’s 10 photos or 50 so that’s a constant." Would read much more accurately if that "isn't" was more properly "is". It's late and past bedtime. The streetlights came on hours ago.

  19. @ Dara ... In terms of your question re: composition, I would suggest that rather that starting the composition by finding the the "right place to stand", you should consider spending a few moments thinking about what you want to capture that will show off the room/space in the best possible way. From there, *then* you can figure out where to stand. Doing so allows you to make a better decision about choosing a camera angle that will allow you capture the most important parts of the room, within the shot.

    You asked about a video related to these things...forgive me for making a shameless plug, but I've done a video that focuses exclusively on these sorts of composition questions and many more. You can get more information about it, read testimonials and order, all at:

  20. I shoot a lot of big homes for VRBO and Airbnb and I take my time, because I like to take my time - it helps me create beautiful compositions. For a "usual" 2,500 sq.ft. home and 25 shots it will take me 2.5 to 3 hours and the same time for processing. Bigger homes take longer even if they don't want more images. For some of my rental management companies that I shoot 8 or 9 shots for: I'm in and out in less than an hour and about an hour or so processing.

  21. I personally can't come up with a specific number because it really varies with the situation. If people are in the home, it becomes more of a time management situation. There are also times where the homeowner meets me at the door and mentions that they need to move things around while I shoot. Typically though I can have a 2k home completed within 45-60 minutes.

  22. I work at about the rate of 10 images per hour for a nice house/flat, regardless of square footage. When pressed for time I can go much quicker - maybe 20 images in an hour - but this rarely happens as I usually allow an appropriate amount of time and have a good idea of how many images will be required for each job. I think the question "how long should I take?" will generally be answered by determining what quality of image you're after.

  23. Ken Brown:

    I worked on trying to advertise to VRBO/HomeAway for some time: I wrote stories about photography and posted them, I offered to write stories for them. But my posts were taken down and they wouldn't pay for me to write nor even allow me to use my company name. They do offer a "Partner's Page" where you can make special offers to their membership. I do that consistently, however I have never had a VRBO/HomeAway owner tell me that is how they found me. They all say they found me on google. Go to: to become a partner if you are so inclined.

    I applied to be a photographer for Airbnb a few times and they finally asked me to be a photographer for their Airbnb Plus program. I went through a bit of training to get an idea of exactly what they wanted, as they have a VERY specific shot list for every home. Then I found out what they proposed to pay and how far away the jobs were. They wanted 30 - 70 shots of a 0 - 1 bedroom and an inspection (you use some sort of app on your phone. They offered to pay $200 for that. For larger homes the rate went up but not by much.

    I expected all the jobs to be within 25 miles of my location as there are 5 ski areas within 25 miles. They wanted me to go to places that were 150 - 200 miles away (one way). They would pay mileage at a pretty low rate, but nothing else. I told them if they had something close I would give it a try to see how long it would take me, as I figured I could do a few when I didn't have anything else on the books and pick up a few bucks. They have never called. And I did all of this back in the summer of 2019.

  24. I allocate an hour to properties like that, but am usually out around 45 minutes. If it goes over an hour you need to make sure and reschedule. That may even be more import t than your original question: whatever time you do decide upon per house, you need to reschedule and charge more if you go over due to the home not being ready.

  25. For real estate I probably average about 20-30 images per hour of shooting, depending on the house, but I also charge a bit more than my competitors, so my time is covered. I prefer to work for the images everyone wants, as opposed to what's "good enough". I also shoot "tighter" focal lengths, which require a bit more time for composition (I try to avoid the more popular "shoot wide, crop later" method). Most agents here also want to max-out the MLS limit of 40 images, regardless of property size, plus a few extra for marketing options, so I tend to spend 1.5 hours or more on the property, and high end properties can take a few hours, especially if we do a 2-part AM/PM shoot. Editing ranges from 1 minute average per image using my base automation and actions and minimal lens correction, to 10+ minutes for more attention to details and/or custom editing for my more discriminating customers.

  26. @Michael Yearout,

    The AirBnb Plus requirements sounds a lot like another "opportunity" I'd seen before. I believe the company supplied marketing to independent and small chain hotels/motels. They wanted a photographer that could take assignments on 24hour notice, shoot and deliver a whole load of photos and upload them within an hour of finishing. The pay was very low and assignments could be a 100 miles away with something like a $25 mileage bump. All on a Work Made For Hire contract. The kicker was they could reject your submissions and pay you nothing. I'm sure they have a minimum equipment requirement as well. At the time I was looking for some off season bread and butter work but the contract was so atrocious that I told them "no way" about an hour after they sent it to me to review. I also let them know why. Didn't I just. I might even have the contract somewhere on the computer. I'll send it along for laughs if you want.

    I'd like to pick up proper BnBs as well as small hostelries to expand my portfolio. It couldn't hurt to have some of that in my portfolio to pursue larger chains and resorts. Most of the skill set is the same so it's not too much of a transition. I generally prefer cash, but some vouchers in trade might not be a bad deal as partial payment on some small jobs.

    I looked at the Partners page and it wanted me to hand over my information in the sign up before disclosing anything so I gave it a miss. I get nearly all of my work through meeting people face to face and referrals. Not having a web site would be a big fail, so I try to keep it up. I should be reworking the gallery right now, but I'm here wasting time.

    @Casey, 20-30 images/hour is a pretty good pace. I don't care what the MLS will allow since my local ones don't have a limit. 40 images is nearly always going to be massive overkill. If you can't tell the story in half that, chances aren't good that people are going to look at the whole gallery. My concern is boring people before they get to some photos that might pique their interest. Short and sweet, that's the ticket. Lots of photos also kills my $/hour and how many jobs I can turn around quickly.

  27. When agents ask me how long I will be at the property, I tell them "1 hour for the first 1,000 square feet and 30 minutes each additional 1,000 square feet." That number is for interior and exterior stills only. That is a pretty accurate estimate based on my experience and current efficiency level. My post is relatively quick with about 45-60 minutes for most properties. 90% of my photos shoots are of properties under 2,000 square feet.
    I am fortunate to have a pretty stable client base and most of the time, I am the only one at the property. As mentioned above, that helps keep the speed up.

  28. I do this for income, obviously, but ultimately I do it for me. I'm in and out of a medium sized house in less than an hour, which is necessary because I typically have another in line, but this Saturday was a good example of breaking the rule. I just bought a Flashpoint 600 and a 200, and experimented putting the 200 in a separate room, and firing multiple flashes. It was my last shoot, and a house that lent itself to that, and I can't remember having so much fun screwing around. The shoot took 2 hours. I walked out smiling, shocked that I get paid to enjoy myself this much.

  29. The one I did today was 3 hours. Divorce sale and the guy liked to chat. I was also working slow as it's the best looking property I've had in a while and I know I'll have at least two portfolio photos from the job. A third factor is it was the first job for this client and I don't have any brownie points stocked up to cover gaffs. The dark finish small kitchen was kickin' my backside too. I had 4 speedlights going both inside and out to put light where I needed it.

    I had all day with just that one appointment that started at 9am so no big deal. I visited some open houses in the area, drove home and hit a couple more open houses a few blocks from my house. I'm pretty sure I have finally been able to lasso a broker I've been after for a few years. She's older, getting tired of trying to make her own images (and not getting good ones) and the young whippersnapper in town has been sucking up all of the listings. Musa uses a "professional" photographer on his listings. I used quotes as it's blah HDR, overshot and UFWA. Maybe I'll bring him back from the dork side this year.

    Gotta go edit.

  30. My average is about 30-40mins however particular types of shoots will have me there for about an hour (twilights, very messy/cluttered, extra large homes or acreage). (Australia)

  31. I typically shoot Photo's and Video which both include drone work. I plan to spend about 3 hrs on site but that is because 99% of the time the properties here are not 100% shoot ready. There is always something that needs to be moved, hung, cleaned etc. I help my clients with that and then help them put things back at the end. Also the home owners usually like to chat, it is just the culture here in Hawaii. I like the laid back pace and thing I would get burned out quickly and really bored trying to speed through homes.

  32. I allocate 90 minutes/house for still photography. Sometimes it takes more or less depending on the house. I did 4 houses yesterday. The longest took 90 minutes and the shortest took 45 minutes. If I do a 360 tour it usually takes less than 30 minutes if I use an InstaOne 360. If I use my DSLR with a pano rig it takes closer 45-60 minutes. I add about 30 minutes for video and about 20 minutes for a drone flight. If I do twilight, it usually takes about another 30 minutes. The first thing when I do when I get to a house is do a walk-through (I leave my gear in the car). While walking through the house I make adjustments to the blinds, etc., and if the homeowner is there I tell them what needs to be moved or removed (pet stuff, cars, etc.). I will move things as I take photos (trash cans, etc.) and put the toilet seats down (if up), and sometimes a small piece of furniture or light fixture if I think it will benefit the shot. I focus on high quality, not high production. Most of my good realtor clients and all of my builder clients use stagers, so that helps. For the rest I have a downloadable staging guide on my website and it is almost surprising how many people download and use it (thankfully). It really helps.

  33. I did it kind of the other way around. I said to myself, "How much money do I really want to be making per house?" Then worked it backwards from there.

    Even before I bought my first camera I had this conversation with myself. I did some initial sizing-up of the competition and knew that the average price for a house was under $200 for "unlimited" photos. Our market is not a 25-shots-is-good-enough kinda market. For as long as I can remember our local MLS has had an upper limit of at least 100 shots and on up from there as time has gone on. That being the case, when you look at a homes online you see that it's the norm of have a photos of EVERY room and EVERY bathroom, half-bath, etc. Plus the typical 2 to 3 shots for the "power rooms" such as the great room, kitchen, master bedroom, and master bath. It's rare that you see any home with less than 35 photos. Even small 1,000 sqft homes have 35 photos. So that had to be built into the plan too.

    My theory going in was "I want to make $500 per stop. That would mean that three stops per day would gross me $1,500. Now how am I going to pull that off?"

    Right-out-of-the-gate my plan was to make video the backbone of what I did. Because I saw that I would never be able to get that with photos only AND actually get enough volume to keep the calendar full. could charge $500 a house. But it could take you a year or more to get to the point where you had more than 1 order PER WEEK. And 3 or 4 years in you MIGHT get to the point where you have 3 or 4 assignments per WEEK. I didn't see that as a viable approach to the business. So photo+video had to happen in order to justify the higher price point AND get the kind of volume that would keep my checking account flush with the kind of cash I needed to power of 5-person family forward through life.

    Furthermore, I found Fred Light's YouTube channel and website early on and looked at his pricing and he was charging on average $450 for "regular" sized homes, $550 for "larger" homes and more for the really big ones. That told me that it is possible to get an average sale of $500 by making photo/video combos the backbone of your business. So that was the plan going in.

    I didn't have the money to buy all the photography gear AND the video gear. I knew that every house "needs" photos but most don't "need" video. The photography is what gets the phone to ring and the video would be what got the price point pumped up. So I started with photos.

    I decided in my "photos only" stage to target an average price point of around $250. This would put me "above the line in the sand" of $200. Almost ALL my competitors were under that line. I knew that if I could get an average of $250 a shoot then I could make $750 a day on three assignments. That would give me the kind of margin I needed to be able to shoot flash/ambient composite style imagery without feeling adversely pressured that I wasn't making enough for the time I was spending on-site.

    Also...the people who DID decide to hire me would be agents who are not making decisions based on "lowest price". Those agents would just use someone else. It was important to me that those kinds of agents do so because "lowest price" agents wouldn't be buying video and I wanted to be building relationships with people who COULD upgrade to +Video on every house once I was able to buy the gear and show them some samples. So $250 was set as the average with $185 available for 2-bedroom condos and higher price points for bigger homes.

    Now I hear someone saying, "That's great Brian...but what does this have to do with the time it takes to shoot a house?" Well...let's circle back to that.

    I secured my first customers and started doing my thing. Within about 6 months I discovered that 90% of my homes are all the same. Under 3,000 sqft. 4 bedrooms. 2.1 bathrooms. Finished basement. It took on average 90 minutes to create the photos the way I wanted to. And at $250 a pop I didn't feel that I was selling myself short. $750 a day for three 90-minute sessions of work plus editing seemed fair for someone firing up a new business from scratch with zero photography experience and no customer base. So 90 minutes became my "normal".

    When I was able to buy my video gear I went through the same "figure it out" on the first 10 or so assignments and learned that for my typical 3,000 sqft or less, 4br/2.1ba takes about 2 hours to complete a photo/video combo. If the homes is over 4,000 sqft...I need to budget 3 hours for a photo/video combo. I might get done early...and that's fine. But I can always get it done in 3 hours...even if there's extra stuff that needs to be included.

    I also have made modifications to my workflow which enable me to to speed my photos-only sessions up quite a bit...on-demand. I found a good editor and so now I can deliver images that are 90% - 95% as good as my main flambient workflow just by shooting ambient brackets and sending to an editor. The customers don't really see a significant difference and it's a cold day in hell that I have any questions about quality. That tells me that my all-ambient workflow is "within tolerance" for the internalized standards of acceptability that my customer base has.

    Translation: I can shoot a standard home for photos-only in 45 to 60 minutes if my schedule dictates it so that I can get to the next appointment on time AND do it without disappointing/alienating my customers.

    In conclusion...I have three different time slots in my scheduling software now:

    60 Minutes - this gets applied to appointments on homes under 4,000 sqft that need photos only.

    120 Minutes - applied to homes under 4,000 sqft that need a photo/video combo OR photos-only assignments on homes 4,000 to 5,500 sqft

    180 Minutes - applied to homes needing photo/video combo over 4,000 sqft and photos/only homes needing that are larger than 5,500 sqft.

    Those are the only available time portions I can assign to orders once they come in. So those are the time frames I force myself to work within. Work expands to the time allotted and all that.

  34. @Naomi, how many photos are you delivering? What's the norm down under? In some parts of the world, 8 photos is what most photographer deliver and agents expect.


    Good point about bargain hunting agents not likely to add video and putting marketing efforts into more savvy agents that will. Video still isn't very big where I am so agents don't feel any need to do it. When I ask them about what they might spend for video if it were offered, they come back with figures around $30-$40 additional. That's about what they were saying when Part 107 drone licenses where about to come out when it came to aerial images. Once there were services around that could get licensed, aerial photos got a lot more traction. I'm getting the feeling that video might be more sought after by 2021, but spending the money now for the gear just isn't going to have much ROI so I'm going to wait and just offer aerial video which is doing pretty good. One broker I talked with a couple of days ago is getting big click through numbers from short orbit/reveal videos. 30 seconds works the best. One minute is so-so and two minutes has a big drop off. We are going to work on optimizing shots to hit the 20-30 second mark to drive people to the stills and the listing information. In the mean time, I'll be working on developing a good video workflow based on minimal gear. Maybe just adding a stabilizer and upgrading the computer. If it goes well, I'll get a dedicated video camera and a couple of really good prime lenses.

  35. Thanks for sharing this kind of article with us as this kind of information is so beneficial to keep our home clean and make our home more beautiful. So keep sharing.

  36. Does everyone here understand CODB (Cost of Doing Business) and Cost per Billable Hour? There are plenty of calculators online. This is critical to know. My CODB for real estate is around $75, now how many Billable hours to invoice. For up to 2000 sq ft that's 1 hour shoot time, 30 min travel time, 1 hour edit time, 30 min admin time, 30 min consultation. So that is 3.5 hours for invoice. (You need to get paid for all your time not just the shoot time). That is around $260 for that property. That will set me up for 9 houses/week. At 9 houses a week thats 9x3.5hours = 31 hours/week working. That will take care of business cost and taxes and give me a 40k pre-tax income. If you shoot for anything less then your CODB then your hourly rate decreases per property and the amount of total time you work increases. What is your CODB? Remember real estate is advertising. Do you understand what a real estate agent makes per property sold? Every market is different so let's say a property sells for 150k. 6% of that sell is $9000. Divide by 2 half for seller half for buyer agent split. Now the agent your shooting for has $4500. Now that agent has to give some of that to the brooker. Let's say 60/40. So the agent gets to keep 60% of $4500. That's $2700. 5% of 2700 would be $135. 10% of 2700 is $270. If you understand the market and do the calculations and your CODB rates then you can charge more plain and simple. Don't saturate the market with low prices.

  37. Interesting. I'm sure that as you do more and more real estate shoots it will take less time and error to get the shot just right.

  38. It really comes down to what you think your time is worth verses what others think your time is worth. There is a significant sunk cost in entering and excelling in this profession from equipment to technical knowledge. Like many professions people will have different degrees of competence. Once one takes into account the costs of operating as a true business one will be less willing to throw away valuable time. Lastly I'd like to emphasize that the market dictates the quality of a product.

    I used to do a lot of compositing in post. Moving up to six strobes around to make beautiful images. This helped me to refine my craft but this approach is simply unsustainable. One needs to step back and look at the process objectively not through the "lens" of an enthusiast. I've now moved away from those time intensive methods except for when something special comes along where it truly is required.

    There are ways to save time without compromising too much. These are things like having one's items prepared/organized, having presets for certain functions, having billing solutions for various types of photographic labor. If one can't quantify the labor it is wasted labor.

    I've been shooting real estate for ten years now. I continue to learn and refine my techniques and business practices.

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