I'm continually amazed by the number of beginning real estate photographers who don't have a website. Social media does NOT replace a website! You MUST have a website. The sooner you create a website, the better.
Your portfolio of images is at the center of promoting yourself. Your website is a way to present your business and yourself to people and let them know what you are doing and how to contact you. Malia Campbell's site is a great example that follows most of the principles below. It's one of my favorite real estate photographer sites:
- The site must look good on mobile devices. Mobile device usage is widespread. First of all, don't use Adobe Flash and take the time to check out your site on all the popular smartphones and tablets. It is amazing the number of people who don't do this. You must look good on smartphones!
- Dedicate a site to real estate photography. A general purpose photography site where people have to look for the real estate section says to people, "I'm just playing around with a lot of things." It makes you look like an amateur. The cost of a template website at someplace like Squarespace.com ($150 USD/yr) is small in the overall scheme of a successful business.
- Carefully review your portfolio images. Have as many experienced professional photographers review your portfolio as possible. Others will see things you don't. Remove everything but the very best images. Ask the PFRE flickr group to review your portfolio and site.
- Use large images in your portfolio. Bigger images have more impact. You want to knock viewers' socks off!
- Portfolio slideshows should play automatically. When a visitor hits your URL, your portfolio slideshow should just play continuously. Don't make the viewer hunt for your portfolio or click on thumbnails or next buttons or have to figure out the site's navigation.
- Have a photo of yourself on your Contact or About page. This is about giving your site and business a more personal feel. The online world is cold, anonymous, and impersonal. Do what you can to give your business a personal feel.
- Have your cell phone number on the Contact page. This is a customer service issue. Most Realtors are people-oriented and would prefer to call you as an initial contact.
- Have as many images of upper-end homes in your portfolio as possible. Upper-end photos say, "I shoot for upper-end agents." Upper-end homes make you look more professional, even if most of the homes you shoot are not upper-end homes.
Follow these principles and you'll have a good base to build the rest of your marketing on.