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Real Estate Photography Business Success In Tampa!

FastpixRegular PFRE blog readers have heard me talk about Peggy Taylor in Tampa, FL ( here and here). Peggy has been keeping me updated on her business status for the last several years because back in the spring of 2011 I noticed that she was charging $99 per shoot. I started asking questions about her expenses and if she was making money. As anyone would be, she was a bit hesitant about taking unsolicited "help" but politely listened to me. In 2012 she told me that she had raised her price and increased the number of shoots she was doing and had thus increased her gross earnings 1.8 times.

This last week Peggy told me that in 2013 she has added an assistant, raised her prices to $250. Both Peggy and her assistant are continually booked two weeks in advance, she now does NO advertising and is on track to increase her gross earnings 1.8 times in 2013 compared to 2012.

Over this same period that Peggy has  been increasing her prices that she was learning a huge amount and increasing the quality of her work significantly. She also has a big focus on customer service. Peggy says:

Two things are going on that are impacting my client base. One, is that my clients love me. I give phenomenal customer service. I never, ever complain. I bend over backwards to accommodate their schedules. I help them make Beds, clean Bathrooms, move toys or whatever it takes to get the shoot done. My clients rarely leave me. If I make a mistake or take a little too long, I am forgiven. I also go back and make it right without complaint.

From what I can see, Tampa is also a vibrant, progressive real estate market that is using real estate photography. This plays some part of Peggy's success. The other important aspect of Peggy's success story is that this kind of success doesn't happen over night she has worked hard for it over the last 5 years. Here it the general time-line of Peggy's business:

  • 2008: Worked for a large national tour company for $30 a shoot.
  • 2009: Bought her first DSLR and launched an independent real estate photography business as a part time business.
  • 2010: Raised prices; learned a lot; quadrupled her earnings from real estate photography.
  • 2011: Raised prices; added multiple flash technique; learned a lot more; tippled her earnings from real estate photography.
  • 2012: Continued learning; added an assistant; increased her earnings by 1.8 times as compared to 2011.
  • 2013 (end of the 1st quarter): Continued learning; upgraded camera; on track to increase earnings by 1.8 compared to 2012.

I convinced Peggy to let me do this post because this kind of a success story can be an encouragement for those just getting in the business of real estate photography. I'm not sure you can do what Peggy has done anywhere, but I think it can be done in most large metro areas.

 

 

17 comments on “Real Estate Photography Business Success In Tampa!”

  1. Hello Peggy,
    First of of all... Congratulations on building such a successful business!
    I was wondering how many Photo Shoots do you schedule per day and how much time do you allow per Photo Shoot (with such a busy schedule you must keep some kind of a limit)?

  2. You said in 2011 she "tipplied" her earnings. I hope you meant she "tripled" her earnings and then "tippled" using the earnings.

  3. It takes dedication and direction, and Peggy, you have applied both!. Congratulations on your success, it will do nothing but grow with your attitude.

  4. Thank you all so much! I expected to succeed but I must admit I am surprised how well it has gone! I know this is partly due to the market turn-around. I try to limit myself to only 2 shoots a day and 2 for my assistant and don't shoot at all on Wednesday so I can catch up; however, sometimes I do end up doing more than that when a good client needs something quickly. Then I will work it in. My assistant is learning processing now so that helps a lot!

  5. Hi Peggy, Congrats. I'm rather new, no clients, not too much for now. What is your proven technique for your shots. It might help deciding which one to use. What are your settings in general. Do you shoot in M, A, S, or automatic and then process with Lightroom, photoshop, Photomatix or any other? I see all the images in this forum and it scares the hell out of me.. Clients expects these retouched photos. For sure, I have to go throught it all .. learning, practicing and where I live, the competition makes it hard to increase the prices. Cheers, and may your success keep on keeping on!!

  6. Congratulations Peggy! Being to close, perhaps one day our pqaths will cross, but sounds like you may be too busy.

  7. Joanne, I shoot a combination of manual with off camera flash and shutter with or without flash depending on the situation. I process with Oloneo Photoengine then import into Lightroom and tweak with Photoshop as needed. It has taken lots of questions and practice to get here and I adjust my techniques regularly as I learn something new! It is always a learning process! As I got better, I was afraid to increase my prices but Larry encouraged me. I learned that customer service is so important that I could increase my prices as long as I provided could service to the customer. I did lose a few clients but I picked up a lot more who didn't want to use a bottom end photographer!

  8. Congratulations Peggy. I remember you started around the same time as me and I remember the answers to some of the questions you asked really helped me. You seem to have gone leaps and bounds ahead of me that's for sure. Good work!

  9. Peggy,

    It is great to hear a success story like this. I am just starting my own company, and I am curious about the effectiveness of choosing a company name instead of a personal name. Have you found that you wish you stuck with one or the other? I have been using a company name in the hopes that I will someday be able to have too much work for me to handle. It would be great if I could manage several qualified photographers that represent my company.

    At the same time, it seems as though it has been a bit harder to sell "Duplex" as opposed to "Mike Finkelstein" Has anyone else had a similar experience?

    Thanks for the post, the timeline is an uplifting reminder that starting a business is not a sprint, it is a marathon!

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