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What Services Should Real Estate Photographers Offer besides Still Photos?

Published: 23/02/2017
By: larry

Peter in Calgary asks:

I've been doing real estate photography for the last few years. I've been asked numerous times what other services I offer other than photography. I do want to offer measurements and floor plans but I am not sure where to start. Any suggestions on how I can go about learning to offer other services than still photography?

Yes, there are many other services besides still photos that real estate listing agents typically want and need. It can be a big advantage for agents to only have to deal with one service provider to obtain many or all of their listing marketing services. And there is an economic benefit to the service provider from only needing to make one trip to the property yet providing many services.

Here are some typical add-on products that real estate photographers provide:

  1. Floorplans: Measure and construct floorplan diagrams for both online and offline marketing.
  2. Flyers, brochures, and "just listed" postcards: These kinds of products are easy to provide but many real estate offices have assistants that will supply these for listing agents.
  3. Tours and property sites: Mini websites that can be used to promote the property.
  4. 360 Images: There are many alternative technologies for providing these. Matterport is currently the most popular.
  5. Property video: Property video takes a while to learn. It is much more difficult than still interior photography.
  6. Elevated photography: Most real estate photographers provide some form of elevated exterior shots. On the PFRE blog, it is referred to as PAP (Pole Aerial Photography).
  7. Twilight shots: This typically takes an additional trip at the right time of day. This is a very important service.
  8. Drone photography/video: This has been becoming a must-have service within the past few years.

As far as how to learn how to provide each of these services the PFRE blog has articles on all of these subjects along with reader discussion. Floorplans and Drone photography have their own post category so you can see all the articles on floorplans by just clicking the Floorplan category link on the lower left sidebar of the blog. For articles on the other subjects just use the search box at the top of the left sidebar to search for the bolded topics listed above.

Many of these services can significantly add to your income but research your market carefully before investing in the gear to provide these add-on services.

13 comments on “What Services Should Real Estate Photographers Offer besides Still Photos?”

  1. Agree with Larry....Research your market area for viability. Understand that offering some of your add-on's could actually cost you money. The time spent doing the add on for x amount of money, may be less than if you just did your photo thing... And then there is the time you have to do it. Will you have time during your busy season or will you lose business because you don't have the time

    Some items I think are mandatory to offer are Twilight, elevated and tours/websites. All very easy to offer and supply. If you don't offer some of these items, your client at some point will be looking for someone who can.

    Look at your competition as well, are they getting clients just because they offer this or that widget? If they are.....

  2. One platform offers a large number of additional services is the RTV - Real Tour Vision system. I think it costs about 700.00$ to be a vendor. and then 20.00 a tour after that plus a few bucks for add ons. I have had it for a couple of years but have used Tourbuzz because it had a great mobile app. Recently though RTV just released the new HTML Player. Now it is usable. The RTV system probably has the most whistles and bells of any tour platform. Their support and training is excellent... which good because it is a pretty complicated system.

  3. Great list of additional services to offer. In my own market in suburban NJ most clients are more focused on fast turn around for photography to get MLS updated versus bells and whistles. I do see value in the photographer studying all of the recommended services above though.

  4. Another product is called an Aerial Fly In. Get Google Earth Pro which is free. Record the movement to various locations and the listing. It is great for when you do not have a drone or it is a drone no fly zone. Here is a sample I make an mp4 for the TourBuzz virtual tour. If the MP4 is too big you can reduce the size using a Freeware called Handbrake. Many agents love it. They will buy a virtual tour just because I offer the Aerial Fly In free of charge. They take me about 5 minutes to make and ready to upload. They play for approx. 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  5. Agreed. The more flexibility and variety of your services offered (added value), the more chance you could outrun your competitors. But just consider whether your current market is mature enough to be added more values or else you would have a hard time educating your clients.

  6. In my market area (CT), most buyers have the expectation to see floorplans. So, for me, offering this service is a no-brainer. I have many clients on my book that left their previous photographers because they do not offer the service. In addition, I also offer aerial imaging. The demand for this is going to continue to grow and grow, and most agents don't bat an eyelash at the additional cost. Although it is only appropriate for select homes, I also offer my clients Matterport 3D tours. The demand is still small, but I believe there is a place for it in my market area. In the near future, I plan on adding full motion video to my offerings as well. I personally believe that this may end up being a huge part of future real estate marketing strategies for many agents. Luckily for me, I am affiliated with FloorPlanOnline, who takes care of all the back end technical work, billing, and collections, which frees me up to spend my time out in the field servicing my clients.

  7. Here's my best advise... simply look at your original statement:

    "I’ve been asked numerous times what other services I offer other than photography."

    Just ask all of your clients what they really need, how frequently they'll use it, and what they're willing to invest. Convince a few others to buy in where it will benefit them and run your numbers.

    I understand your desire to offer measurements and floor plans. Make sure that's what they want and that the bottom line supports such an endeavor. You may discover that you and your clients are best served by concentrating more on videography, 360, etc.

  8. I want my clients to be interested in the types of things I am interested in. For example, I've been concentrating more and more on trying to get a nice little set of detail shots after a shoot is over. I'm even hoping to take this to the next level soon and start spending more time on them. By doing this, I'm creating something I enjoy in hopes clients feel it adds emotion to the set of photos. I'm a photographer and I think it send out a good message that I'm sort of specializing in all things photography, and that you will probably get some nice unique pieces if you use me over most of my competitors.

  9. I definitely think you need to provide packages, but I also will not offer services which I don't believe in or just purely don't want to do. I would rather stab my eye out with a fork than do floor plans, so I will not do them. Ever. However, I work with an outfit who does, and who somehow actually ENJOYS that process, so I go that route. I schedule and bill (on one bill) for all services, so it's still convenient for the agent and I don't lose business. I mark it up a bit to cover my minuscule labor involved in scheduling.

    3D Matterport I also despise and it will never be something I offer. A trained monkeys can operate these things and therefore it will become a commodity very soon - I see offices purchasing the camera and just letting agents use it to do their own as it takes no skill really (just patience and the luxury of wasting time pushing a button as you scan a house... forever). Why would I want to compete with THAT?

    I believe in doing what you love, what you're passionate about and doing THAT well. If someone wants floor plans, I can arrange it. For the few that ask about Matterport, I talk them into doing video instead which I believe is an infinitely better product, more user friendly, more SEO friendly and buyers I believe prefer it over pushing their mouse around a 3D model trying to figure out how to get out of the bathroom upstairs where they're trapped..... I win every time.

  10. I would love to offer more services, like video and drone footage. I believe we need to tell story and provide a better experience. However, the issue is the way pricing seems to be for real estate photography work. Photo, video, drone work all adds up for time on site and time processing. Especially when it comes to video editing. Or am I overthinking video?

  11. A good list which pretty much sums it up. Whether a realtor will use them is another issue altogether. We've offered video, matter port, floor plans etc but the fact is a realtor wants to keep their costs low and will only consider it on a special listing. When the market is hot and houses selling quickly they don't see the point in the extras as they know the house will sell regardless.

    In end I guess it depends on the type of listings you do, your local market and whether you can have the $$$ in equipment lying around.

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