Are you a photographer who has a nationwide home builder inquiring about rates and wanting all rights to your photos? Are clients asking for free licensing? Perhaps you're wondering how much above your current shoot rate should you sell to be compensated for giving up the license of your images.
When offering real estate photography services, you should find the right and calculated approach when setting prices, particularly for your digital files. To lead you in the right direction, we're going to look into how you can set reasonable rates for selling photo rights and licensing.
To ensure you're not giving away your files for free or look as if you're not selling the license or rights, we're going to look into the right ways on how you can add value to your digital images, how to calculate rates, and different photo pricing models to use.
Digital images appeal to real estate buyers, sellers, and agents because of the broad online market. The goal is to assign an attainable value to the license of a digital photo by being affordable, yet the overall fee shouldn't negatively impact your earnings.
In general, this method is a reliable way of licensing real estate photography files because, first of all, it involves adding up the inputs, like materials and labor. Next, you can multiply it by a markup price. Here's an example:
Labor (5 minutes retouching, 1-minute uploading, 1-minute file uploading for each image) + Materials ($15.50 for editing device and software) = 22.50
Multiplying that with a 2.85 markup factor gives you a selling price of $64.13 or $65. While the computation tends to make prints look expensive, the value makes the files affordable and more enticing since this allows the clients to reproduce the photos.
To better see how the cost of goods model would give you a consistent way of turning over rights for digital goods, here's a quick computation for an 8x10 print.
Labor (9 minutes from retouching, ordering, packing, and meetup) + Materials ($11.25 for printing, shipping, and packaging) = 20.25
20.25 x 2.85 markup factor = $57.71 or $52 for an 8x10 print
Unlike digital goods, printing actual products may take longer production time, resources, and steps, so there's a chance that you can even offer it for more.
Know that being a professional photographer also means managing a profitable business. Keep in mind that you will likely lose an amount of revenue if you sell your rights or license without proper computation.
To guide you in deciding, these are the different types of models you can try when you want to sell licensing of photos.
This type considers what income you might lose by offering the rights of a photo. For instance, offering digital files means you will lose sales of print versions. If you think you would most likely sell an 8x10 print for at least $50, then the digital file should be greater than $50.
If you'll have a whole-day shoot of a property and have a fixed package of $1200 for the digital price, you can set at least $1500 to include rights.
As opposed to opportunity cost, per usage involves selling the rights of even up to $2000 for every photo per year, especially when a seller or real estate agent intends to use the image for advertising.
If your customer would print 10,000 brochures, then that means they may only pay about $0.20 for each photo.
Suppose a client's listing website gets thousands of page views, which means a photo might only charge them $0.002 or less for every view. You can charge even more for a total licensing buyout.
One of the common mistakes real estate photographers commit is the failure to include post-production time to beat the competition, which results in loss of income.
Per image is ideal for people who want more control over their budget. While we have more advanced pre-production systems in today's real estate photography industry than years ago, we also have more demanding post-production tasks.
A bit like the previous system, be sure to consider the number of photos for purchasing and the planned use of your pictures. After that, you can incorporate the licensing into your hourly or day rates.
Like commercial project costs, this allows a photographer to sell many photos while offering bulk order discounts. For example, you can present a range of reasonably priced options that suit the needs and budget of your clients.
Let's say, you can set a lower price to the copyright of 20 photos rather than when a client buys them individually.
For this licensing type, clients would buy and get the rights of a photo for a specific project or timeline. While rights-managed tend to sell less than the previous one, this type can give you a higher income.
It all depends on whether you want solid control over the use of your images by managing the selling of rights. Remember that a real estate client should pay a higher fee for the exclusive use of your pictures over a period of time.
Royalty-free refers to a system where a client secures permission to use your photograph through a one-time payment. However, unlike the previous types, royalty-free gives clients the liberty to use your photographs in multiple ways without additional payment.
Royalty free is a good starting model if you want to make a high volume of small sales as you gain exposure. Likewise, royalty-free is an easy way to sell the rights of your photos without complex computation, especially when you use sites like ShutterStock, iStock, and AdobeStock.
Find a microstock website where you can get a commission offer of $0.25 to $40 for a single photo. Next time, you can get ideas from such sites for your future rates.
Digital files are common additional products for most photographers. Being in the real estate industry, it's hard to say no to requests, and it's your job to give digital photos for listings, websites, portfolios, and marketing. Besides, this is an excellent way to advertise your work and get more clients.
The US IRS believes that business mileage is worth 54 cents a mile. First, have a standard area of service where your costs are built into your price. Then set a travel time fee of 54 cents a mile plus at least, $15/hour beyond that.
A good option is to automatically increase your photography rates by at least 5% every year. Another way is to consider your cost of goods and other expenses when you only want to increase the rate of a particular product or service. Overall, have a predetermined percentage when changing fees.
Offering printed products alongside digital files improves your perceived value. Similar to digital output, prints enable people to relive moments and maximize budget by displaying their photos. For a professional photographer, prints can boost earnings, market the business, and help see areas to improve.
There are many approaches to how much real estate photographers can sell photo rights for, and the right system should depend on your business model, needs, and bills. Make sure to set at least $20 per image so that you can secure your income while compensating for labor and materials.