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Real Estate Photographers and Stagers - A Mutual Business Opportunity

I recently got a question asking what to charge a Stager for reuse of some photos for the stager's web site. I realized that it's been a long time since I've talked about the potential synergy between real estate photography and staging.

In upper-end interior photography stagers, frequently called stylists almost always are an integral part of a shoot. Similarly, top real estate agents frequently hire a stager to get a property ready for market. This can involve either rearranging  the home owners furniture, removing some of the home owners furniture or moving in furniture when listing a vacant property.

Getting to know one or more stagers can help a real estate photographer get to know the top agents in an area because only top agents have homes staged and agents that hire a stager are likely to care about good photography too. Stagers and real estate photographers have the same clients! So I've always recommended that real estate photographers do everything in their power to build a business relationship with one or more stagers. By business relationship, I mean refer business to each other. Stagers probably have more opportunities to refer business to photographers but it can work both ways.

Comments on previous post about working with stagers indicate that many understand the possibilities of working with stagers but few actually manage to partner with them. Specifically here are suggestions for what a joint business relation looks like from Mike Martin who's had joint business relationship with stagers for some time:

  1. Both will share links on each others website.
  2. When the photographer has tours of staging photos let the stager use the tour without restrictions.
  3. Suggest the stagger include photography services in their staging package. Negotiate a rate that the photographer will get from a staging/photography package.
  4. The photographer should allow the stager to use photography from staging/photography package deals to market their staging services in any medium.
  5. Promote services jointly to all new and existing clients.

So my answer to the question about what to charge a stager for using photos on their web site was, see if you can use this as an relationship building opportunity.

4 comments on “Real Estate Photographers and Stagers - A Mutual Business Opportunity”

  1. With regards to pricing, if the agent / vendor / developer is getting a property staged, then you should be thinking in terms of commercial rates not RE rates. I was asked by a client to source a quote for staging a small apartment, and approached a company which had staged a property I had recently shot, the base quote was £2500, plus ongoing monthly hire fees in the region of £1000 for the furniture and accessories, this was excluding any window dressing.
    Maybe there are cheaper stylists, but this was from an established compny servicing a lot of UK developers.
    With those sums bing invested in presenting the property it's laughable that the photographer should be charging just a few hundred bucks to provide the images that will be used in the advertising materials.
    I charged double my usual rate, and suspect that I still undersold my service by a considerable amount.

  2. Hi Larry,

    I look at it this way: Together, the services are a winning combination. If a homeowner or Realtor invests in staging a home, what's the point in then wasting that investment with less than stellar photography? And, if they invest in top notch photography but don't bother to have it staged, they've set themselves (and you) up for failure. Staging is the content of the image and without it, we have nothing special to photograph. Photography brings beautiful staging into the light, without which, the chances of their hard work making an impact on a buyer are greatly reduced.

    I've been working with a homestager here in Nova Scotia for the last 10 months or so. We are working together to meet with Realtors, participate in trade and community shows, running contests, donating joint gift certificates and referring one another to clients. For me, there was never any question about providing a copy of the images to the stager; she always recommends my services to her clients and other stagers in the area.

    I'm also planning an info session for Realtors with another stager in the fall. I suspect the complimentary session will net more results once the Realtors understand how the two services work together.

  3. I work with a stager, whenever an order is placed for a shoot the client gets an email from my stager (really from my server) with helpful advice on preparing the home for photography. This improves her branding and recognition with local realtors, biz owners, and home owners, with a chance of offering more. In return this helps me by defining the seperation between photographer and stager and helps gives me more time to shoot the home (less time wasted turning off fans etc). There are, of course, the referal benefits as well!

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