This is a guest post by Mike Miriello.
I began my professional photography career photographing approximately 400 listings a year for 65 different agents. I voluntarily handed that contract off to another photographer just shy of 3 years later because I had a different photographic opportunity offered to me, and I couldn’t pass it up. The offer was to be the University Photographer for James Madison University. So what’s this got to do with getting better at real estate photography? Well, when I stepped away from photographing real estate full-time, I was still photographing boutique/luxury apartments and completed projects for builders for my business. I began to see things from a different perspective. The space was the same, but the client was different. The client didn’t want to show 2 or 3 corners of the room, they wanted an intimate perspective of what they physically created. They didn’t want one shot of each room, they wanted to see multiple shots of the same room from slightly different positions to show the details of their work and to give the viewer an understanding of how each room connected. Most importantly, they weren’t dictating their terms to me, they were asking me for my services to help show off their work - they trusted me to do what they were hiring me to do. I do not want to imply that all agents give their photographers a hard time, I’m saying that shooting for clients who have different incentives direct their photographers differently.
Over the 2 years I didn’t shoot real estate, and instead shot for the apartments industry and builders, I gained a significant amount of experience telling a story about a space in a much different fashion than I did shooting strictly for agents. Due to building a different kind of portfolio, I was able to gain the attention of a competing agency who wasn’t interested in hiring my business to photograph 400 listings a year, they were only interested in 15-20 listings each year, at a much higher rate, and those listings are only to be their premier properties. The most important lesson I took away from this experience was that marketable skills can be gained by photographing non-directly-related subject matter. Thanks for reading!
Mike Miriello is a photographer located in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He specializes in interior and architectural photography, wedding photojournalism, and corporate photojournalism. In addition to specializing in those areas, Mike also serves as the University Photographer at James Madison University. Mike can be found at www.thedowntowncreative.com.