How can I find expensive homes, to shoot for my portfolio when I'm just starting out?
I'm been writing to staging companies, offering free images in exchange for a photography session. The staging companies are not responding as enthusiastically as I had hoped for.
I know I could offer real estate agents, free photos, but is there another way to access expensive homes for my portfolio? The reason I don't want to offer real estate agents free images is because those same agents could be my future clients and I don't think they'd like the change from free to charge for photos. Also, they'll know that I'm new to the industry.
I also contacted large development companies for model homes and condos, but none returned a response. How can I find expensive homes, for my portfolio? What would you recommend?
Don't even try to cover up the fact you are a beginner. Any experienced agent will probably see that you are a beginner.
- Model homes in new developments: You don't call or contact the builders! Of course, they won't bother to call you back. They already have marketing photos... probably better than you can produce! You simply SHOW UP at the model home when it's open. Typically, the person that will be there will be the listing agent for the development. You tell her, "I'm a beginning real estate photographer, I'd like to practice on your beautiful model home". She won't care. Just don't get in the way in a busy time. Choose a time when there aren't many people around. These kind of model homes are te best place to practice because they are beautifully staged and nobody cares if you photograph the place unless as long as you don't become a nuisance.
- Home stagers: Yeah, this is more of a long shot. You'll have to do a selling job just to give them free photos. Most good stagers already work with photographers. You have to find one that's a beginner too and can benefit from some free photography. You'll have to convince them that your work is worth their time inviting you to shoot some of their work. Best to talk to these people face to face and do a selling job.
- Free shoots for listing agents that do upper-end listings: I've heard arguments on both sides. Some beginning real estate photographers tell me that giving a free shoot of a multi-million dollar property was a huge advantage to them. Others will argue as you do that you don't want to give away free shoots. The fact is this may be the only way a beginner will get to shoot a multi-million dollar custom property! You are not going to fool many upper-end listing agents that you are an experienced shooter! Be honest, and completely truthful. Tell them you are just beginning and you'd like to shoot some expensive properties for your portfolio. You'll may have to show them examples of your work just to let you do a free shoot. Letting you shoot is an investment in time and a risk for them.
Again, #1 is the best and easiest option because you don't have to sell anyone... you just do it and stay out of the way.
Does anyone else have any advice for Geoffrey?