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Real Estate Photography Census

Published: 17/04/2020

After overwhelming demand, PFRE and Aryeo are excited to announce the first official real estate photography industry census. The census is an industry-wide survey asking real estate photographers (anonymously) questions about their business, equipment, editing, services, operational details, and much more. The culmination of the survey will be an official state of the industry, which will be free and publicly available to all.

The goal of the census is to provide accurate, publicly available insights for the entire industry. Insights will range from the percentage of photographers who deliver 3D tours, to how long they’ve been in business, to the average number of listings shot annually by a photographer, etc. This type of information is vital to understanding where the industry sits today and especially valuable as we continue to track it in the future.

The past few years have seen tremendous change across the real estate industry. OpenDoor has set out to change the buying and selling experience, Redfin began bringing their photography in-house; and Zillow expanded into 3D virtual tours. These are trends that will be increasingly important to real estate photographers, and this census will help us understand how industry members are adapting to the changing landscape.

The census will be available to photographers starting on April 24th at Interested parties can subscribe on the site to receive a notification when the census goes live.

This census is being managed by PFRE (Photography for Real Estate) and Aryeo. PFRE is the industry’s leading community, providing years of community forums and blog articles, as well as hosting the industry’s annual conference. Aryeo is a real estate content platform that works with thousands of real estate professionals around the world. In addition to surveying photographers, our team has been surveying thousands of real estate agents and aggregating insights from tens of thousands of individual properties. We will be making all of this research (anonymous and aggregated) publicly available for the industry.

Thank you in advance for your help in making this a success. The more we are able to spread this census, the greater the benefit for everyone. If you have questions or want to get involved, feel free to reach out:

Census Website:

Brandon Cooper

19 comments on “Real Estate Photography Census”

  1. Seriously? What happened to this website? I feel bad for anyone who comes to this website and thinks they're learning anything. I poke my head in here every once in a while because I owe my entire career to this website and Flickr group. People ruined the Flickr group and everyone fled to Facebook. What are you guys doing here? You are stealing content and ideas from other photographers. The contest has turned into a complete scam for you guys to promote your coaching stuff. RIP PFRE I loved you once.

  2. Guys, work with the industry not against it FFS. Let the AP Almanac one run it’s course then do yours - it cannibalises the industry and you come off looking very unoriginal and disrespectful!

  3. While I like the "state of the industry" idea and am curious to see the data (even though you called it "official" who's authority was that again?), I'll echo what others have said here about PFRE behaving like one giant sales job these days. Because of this, I don't know if I could fully trust the results of a survey compiled by a firm who wants to sell me their services. Remember those "Phillip Morris cares" ads? Yeah.

  4. I don't think now is the time to be doing a work census. For many of us, business has changed a lot because of the stay-at-home orders we've been given by our respective state governors and as well for senior citizens like me (over 65), we really don't want to be venturing "out there" just yet. Can you hold this for next year?

  5. Thank you for putting this together! I will be very interesting and informative as to where our industry is going. Larry was absolutely wonderful and tireless in helping us out. The new writers are doing the same. Please get on board and offer construction ideas. All things change as we are all painfully aware of right now.

  6. Well, the "overwhelming demand" happens to come a week after PERC Photography School ( sent surveys out to several hundred RE photographer and videographers, some of whom use PFRE. Brandon has been blocking PERC from contributing training and informational ideas to PFRE because his coaching cabal does not want anyone else in the group. PERC is the largest independent Certification and Accreditation service in the RE Photography and Video industry. Pretty slimy act by PFRE copying the content of my survey.

  7. PFRE as we knew it is gone. I hope that the rebirth under new ownership proves to be community oriented. As many have noted, it is easy to believe that the purpose of the new ownership is to capitalize on the membership base of PFRE for sales, advertising, etc.

    We are all small business owners and capitalists, but this site should be a site that we all share for our common benefit. Many of us believe that it is morphing into a for-profit sales site. Nothing wrong with that, but it reminds of a restaurant I once visited. The name of the place was "Pig Parlour". My wife and I pulled in to get a nice barbeque, only to find that it was a vegan restaurant. We left without ordering.

    Based on the comments so far, It looks to me that, like the restaurant, PFRE is not what the customers want or expect anymore.

    Perhaps it is a good time to hear the future plans. Where is the site headed and what are the monitization plans? Are we a band of people sharing experiences and successes to betterment of all, or are we a purchased marketing list to be incessantly targeted with adverts and membership plans? There are plenty of places wanting to sell me stuff. Only PFRE offers discussion among peers without a profit motive.

    You are in dangerous territory.

  8. Who benefits from this “survey”? Will it be like those ‘tests’ on Facebook where it’s nothing more than a way of getting your information, or serving their marketing needs?

    The industry is changing. Realtors are getting pressure from the big guys, and so are we. How many posts do we read where they're asking "how cheap of a camera can I use"? When I saw the first post on Facebook touting the iPhone for real estate photography I thought it was a joke. Now, I see we’re in a race to the bottom. Big companies hire kids with no creative eye, but the ability to follow instructions. Every soccer mom with a few bucks, or any old camera, is labeling themselves a “Professional Photographer”. Realtors, being realtors, go by price alone and then advertise that they use Pro Photography for their listings. And we sit here, coaching some ninny that will underbid us, and willingly give up our copyright to “keep the customer happy”.

    Yes, this site has changed and I too miss Larry. I think he read the writing on the wall.

  9. Holy Cow that went over like a lead balloon.

    What do Professional Real Estate Photographers need more than anything else?

    In my opinion, they need representation. They need a bar/moat that separates/distinguishes them from the rest.

    What would that look like?


  10. It’s reassuring to read that so many people share the same sentiment about what this site has become. Larry built an amazing community and wanted nothing more than to help move this industry forward. I remember reaching out to him in 2011 and he graciously sent me both of his ebooks for free — he even called my small business advisor who had doubts about whether RE photography was a viable business or not. He was the f*cking best!

    Unfortunately those days are long gone and the new reality of this website is for Brandon and his buddies to make money under the guise of caring for the industry — the purpose of every single post is to get someone to click a link. It’s gross and shameless. It seems that nothing is authentic or from a place of caring. I get it, you’re trying to make money, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just come out and say it!

    As mentioned above, the contest is a complete joke. Go read some of the commentary from the *so called* experts providing feedback. They talk about flagging and scrimming and propping and moving furniture — this is a real estate photography contest FFS! It’s a shame because there are RE photographers producing great work but they sadly get no recognition or feedback because their pictures don’t look as pretty when being compared to images that are highly produced and retouched. These poor folks have zero chance of winning! This isn’t PFAD (Photography for Architecture & Design). Stay in your lane!

    Like Dan Ryan and others, I owe much of my career to this website and the once legendary Flickr group. I‘m sure I sound bitter, and I am, but it’s because I care. I truly wish this community had even a little resemblance to how it used to be. The amount of value it once provided was incredible!

    Also, full disclosure, I was invited to speak at the inaugural PFRE Conference last fall but I withdrew because I just couldn’t stomach being part of a shameless money grab!

  11. Thanks for the input everyone. I’d like to clarify a couple of things:

    We didn’t claim this is an original idea. The idea of doing a census has been floating around for a couple of years but I’ve never had the time or resources to get involved. With AP Almanac putting one out for the arch/Interior world it Re-ignited the interest from RE shooters to have a census specific to our industry. We thought it made sense so we did it. There is no over arching grand plan, it will just be a valuable resource for everyone to share.

    I appreciate everyone’s comments, some of the concerns raised are valid and will be addressed in more detail soon.

  12. The sticking point I've seen with surveys is that they take time and money and it's nearly impossible to have a non-interested sponsor. NAR buyer surveys are one place were it works as the results benefit the dues paying members. In this case however, it's hard to be totally trusting of a partner that operates a middleman service. Are they looking for the data to take the company to be a "full service" provider such as VHT or similar company?

    If PFRE could sponsor the survey on it's own and distribute the information to qualified users for a nominal fee, that gets rid of some of the uneasiness that I feel. Not all of it, though. It's a very competitive business with sensitive profit margins selling to customers that can be interested in price far more than quality. I've spent years learning the craft of making good RE images along with everything else that isn't making photos that goes with it. I'm happy to supply long winded comments, but those comments are only my approach and way of doing things. It's unlikely that the way I do things maximizes profits over everything else. A really broad survey could do that. What gear to buy, process in-house or outsource, pricing guidance by region, basis for pricing (by the image, sqft(m), unlimited), addons, hosting, etc. None of those things are impossible to find out, but it would take diligence and lots of assumptions. Having it all tied up in bows would be so much easier.

    I'd find the survey results fascinating, but I don't think I'd be comfortable contributing.

  13. You guys are hilarious! What did you expect when an ADMITTED run and gunner bought this site (as opposed to creating his own site)?? OF COURSE he's just in it for the money. It's a shame he was able to kill off the vibe of this community so quickly but that's what you get when someone tries to buy his way into a community. And then proclaim himself as the "leader of pfre." LOL

  14. "...this site should be a site that we all share for our common benefit..."

    The site should be whatever the owner wants it to be. He may well thrive as his community evolves. Or not.

    We each get to vote.

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