Starting a Hobby as a Real Estate Photographer

Photography is probably one of the best hobbies an individual can start. Not only can it give you a creative outlet, but it can also give you some extra spending money, especially if you target your photography towards a specific industry. 

As of right now, real estate photography is one of the most lucrative niches in the photography field. Real estate photography has become a crucial part of the industry. Thanks to the Internet, the majority of prospective home buyers start their search online. Because of this, realtors understand the importance of having high-quality photos (and videos) in their listings. So much so, that people who outsource photography work end up earning twice as much on commission

This fact is both good news and bad news for real estate photographers. 

There is a huge demand for photographers who can bring images of a home to life. Unfortunately, that demand has also caused more photographers to jump into the industry, making competition stiffer than ever. 

So if you want to start a hobby where you can express your creativity in a competitive market, real estate photography may be the hobby for you. 

Having the Right Tools and Equipment

Technology is changing at a rapid pace. The photography industry is no exception when it comes to experiencing that growth. It may be one of the industries that experiences it sooner. New gear and equipment become available almost yearly, promoting better features, superior quality, and more user-friendly factors. 

As you dive deeper into your photography hobby, it’s your responsibility to make sure you always have the right equipment in your bag. Staying up-to-date with the latest and greatest is important. You don’t necessarily need to buy into the latest trend. Having natural talent and knowing how to make the most of your current gear can often get you further than paying hundreds (or more) for something new. 

That being said, making sure you have what you need is important. With that in mind, understand that not all cameras and gear are created equally. You might want a different camera for something like food photography or newborn shoots than you would for shooting a home exterior. If you’re wondering which accessories you should always have on hand, the following is a great list of the basics: 

  • Camera bag
  • Multiple lenses
  • Tripod
  • Remote release
  • Flashgun

One area where it’s good to stay up-to-date with technology is your editing software. No matter what program you use, updates tend to come out frequently. It’s a worthwhile investment to upgrade as often as possible so you can remain competitive while learning new editing skills along the way. 

Marketing Yourself

If you want to earn money and grow your hobby of real estate photography, it’s important to think of yourself as a business. To expand upon your experiences, you need to know how to market yourself. Start by creating a strong portfolio that displays your best work and versatility. Ultimately, this portfolio should showcase your strengths in real estate photography. Choose photos that utilize different types of lighting, arrangements, and editing skills when you’re putting together your portfolio or website. 

Once you have your work prominently displayed, learning how to utilize a few marketing skills can help you stand out. Some general marketing tips to keep in mind include: 

  • Offering an occasional free shoot if you’re just getting started
  • Targeting high-value clients
  • Offering discounts or package add-ons
  • Utilizing social media

As you start to create experiences for yourself and even build a small clientele, one of the best ways to market yourself is to ask for referrals. Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best types of advertising for every photographer, even those who only do it as a hobby. If a client is happy with your work, leave them with your information, so they can pass it on to other realtors or those interested in selling their properties. Referrals allow your work to speak for itself without having to put in much extra effort. 

Even as your skills continue to grow and you gain more commissions, it’s more important than ever to keep up your other marketing efforts. This may involve focusing on what photos you’re posting on social media, or even creating a website for your photography. More people will be looking at you and what you have to offer, so make sure you’re always “on your game” when it comes to how you want your photos to appear. 

Putting Yourself in Your Audience’s Shoes

One of the best ways to take your photography to the next level is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. When it comes to real estate photography, this means putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. What would you look for if you were buying a new house? 

Think of different scenarios based on the property you’re shooting. If it’s a small house with only a couple of bedrooms, a young couple might be considering it or perhaps an older individual who wants to downsize. Showcase the number of floors, the size of the house, the closet/storage space, and how cozy and comfortable it can be. 

If you’re shooting a larger house that has a big basement, a large deck, or a swimming pool, it’s probably a safe bet that it will appeal to families. Let your photos reflect that by showing off some of the “fun” and spacious aspects of it. By thinking about what people look for when they’re buying a house, you can uniquely shoot each property, giving it the respect it deserves. Letting the personality of a property shine will help you become a better photographer. It can also give you an avenue to express your creativity, and it can put you ahead of your competition. 

In the end, your work should speak for itself. While getting your foot in the door as a hobbyist real estate photographer might take some groundwork, building an audience from your talent and skill doesn’t have to be difficult. Keep these tips and ideas in mind to grow your skills quickly and to find success in this booming industry.

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