Practicing and gaining experience in real estate and architectural photography can be fun and exciting! In fact, if you already have a few paid gigs under your belt, you might feel like you’re already getting the hang of starting a real estate photography business…

As an artist, however, you might not feel as confident about your marketing and business skills. How do you get more clients? How do you make more money? That’s the question that can feel impossible to answer, for many creative-minded people.

In a previous article, we discussed how to get more photography clients, and in this one, we’ll focus on real estate photography.  We’ll offer seven tips that can help your real estate photography business grow, including useful strategies for getting started, and ways you can expand your business and/or increase your income.

Thank you to HDRsoft for sponsoring this tutorial series and making it possible. The tips given in this tutorial are based on professional experience by our full-time photographer staff, and are our own opinions and advice.

[Related Reading: Ten tips for being profitable as a real estate photographer]

1.) It’s OK To Offer A Free Trial Shoot (But You Must Do It Right!)

Real estate photography business guide tips

There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about doing “free” work. Here’s the RIGHT way: Instead of just throwing your name and business card out there to do free work with no strings attached to build your portfolio, take the time to set up your business, create a price sheet, and make sure that anyone who finds you (and whoever you contact) knows that you’re serious.

Then, when you contact a potential client to offer a “free trial”, you can send them your price sheet as well, and make it clear that $XYZ is what you would charge if they like the work you do on your trial job. That way, there are no surprises, and it makes the struggle of getting your first paying jobs a whole lot easier!

(Also, you can avoid under-cutting existing professional photographers by looking for potential clients who don’t seem to already have a pro photographer that they work with; you can easily find listings online that were clearly photographed with a cell phone…)

2.) Target New and High-Value Clients

real estate photography clients business marketing tips

You don’t need to just cold-call every real estate agent in the phone book at random; you’re better off spending your time slightly more wisely.

Look for potential high-value clients! Look for real estate agents based in specific geographic areas where you know the property values are higher. Look for online listings that are clearly high-end properties.

Of course, some of these potential clients who are already well-established may already have a photographer they work with, and we would NEVER suggest that you try to directly undercut existing photographers’ business. (It will only harm your own potential in the industry down the road!) However, you can eventually find clients who are relatively new to their area, price range, or the business in general. Reach out to them, and be willing to offer them any help they might need in getting started in business, (can you also do headshots?) …and they’ll remember you when their work comes in!

3.) Look For Clients Who Maybe Didn’t Hire A Pro

real estate photography business tips

It’s pretty easy to browse any online real estate website and find quite a few listings that clearly have been photographed hastily on a phone and not by a skilled pro. You could try contacting ALL of these people to see if they’re willing to pay for your services if you’re just starting out, but if you’re looking to grow an existing business, you’ll want to try and be a little pickier about which properties you look at to see who the real estate agent/company is.

You can also use map-based real estate websites to search areas where you know the average home value is pretty high.

4.) Offer New Package Add-Ons For Free Or At A Discount, Once

So, you’ve established a good business and are charging decent money, but you’re looking for ways to make more money besides just raising your prices again. Maybe you want to start offering a new product/service add-on?

It’s OK to offer it for free to an existing client or two, however, remember to let them know the price you’re going to charge in the long run; send them an updated price sheet.

This way, the client goes into the trial knowing exactly what they’ll have to pay next time if they really like that product/service. If the client sees the value, they’ll add your new service to their usual bookings.

Examples of additional services include drone photography or “aerial angle” photography, (camera on a really tall pole!) twilight or nightscape exterior photo shoots.

5.) Social Media – Do It, But Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin!

real estate photography clients social media marketing

The realm of social media is massive now, including everything from highly picture-oriented platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, to highly professional, job-finding platforms like Linkedin, …or of course, the all-encompassing Facebook.

Could any of these platforms potentially help you get clients? Sure, but not if you waste your time barely setting up accounts and then neglecting them most of the time. The key to driving traffic and business through social media is, indeed, consistency.

The best thing you can do is, to pick one or two platforms and focus on them. Otherwise, you’ll spread yourself too thin across all the different platforms, and your voice, or “reach”, will become so small that it’s not worth your time.

Pinterest? Linkedin? Instagram? Facebook? What works best for your area and clientele may vary.  And, after posting consistently for a while, if one platform turns out to work a lot better than another, then focus more on that one, and forget the others!

6.) SEO – It Takes Time, But It’s Worth It!

Real estate photography sunset twilight golden hour photoshop

In the days of so many powerful social media platforms, there is still value in the “old-fashioned” method, that is, using your own website and/or blog to build SEO for regular search engine traffic. If you build your website so that it shows up when anybody in your area searches for real estate photos/photographers, you’ll always have a steady source of various types of inquiries.

There are innumerable courses out there that get in-depth with how to master SEO, so we’ll leave that up to you, but suffice it to say, your goal should be to think about exactly what it is that a client might be looking for. In other words, don’t just SEO for the keyword of “(your location) +real estate photographer” …and zero other things!

Real Estate Photographer Blog & Content Ideas

  • Educate Real Estate Agents On What Good Photography Looks Like

Most real estate agents aren’t about to buy a professional camera, a tripod, and/or a strobe lighting kit. There are, however, still plenty of things you can recommend that they can implement if they’re taking cell phone pictures of a low-value property that they can’t afford to hire a pro photographer for.

Which lights in the room should be left on or off? How should you set the blinds in the windows for the best interior light? How can you utilize exposure compensation on a cell phone?

Basic tips like these can really help anyone improve the overall look of their photos, without really threatening your own business as a professional who can deliver images that are on a much higher level.

  • Educate potential customers on the benefits of hiring a professional

Simply put, show two sets of photos side-by-side, one set of casual snapshots (made by you, never shame anyone else’s photos!) and one set of well-shot, perfectly-processed pro images, and the difference will be obvious.

Always remind clients that this can not only help them sell a property much sooner, but in some cases even help them reach a higher asking price!

  • Offer general tips for things like staging a home, or how to maximize a room’s attractive features.

Again, even if some of the real estate agents who read your blog wind up taking their own pictures, that’s OK. They’ll keep coming back to your blog for inspiration and tips, and if they ever have a really big job, and they appreciate your quality of work, they might give you a call.

7.) If You’re Good At Public Speaking, Give A Presentation To Multiple Agents At Once!

Real estate photography clients presentation

This tactic might not be right for you, of course, if you hate being in front of a crowd, and that’s OK! But, if you happen to have the gift of public speaking, or if you’re willing to learn, then giving a small presentation can be a great use of your time. (By the way; even if you don’t do public speaking, it really helps to have your own “elevator sales pitch” down solid! You should have a “reasons why you should hire ME, instead of doing it yourself or hiring someone else…” speech very well-memorized.)

The presentation can be as simple as offering the same type of tips that you’re posting on your blog, while taking questions at the same time. In other words, it doesn’t have to be a “sales pitch” presentation that contains nothing but reasons why everyone should hire you. Everyone should leave the presentation feeling like they gained something.

If there aren’t any real-estate related get-togethers that you can ask to go and speak to, try hosting your own lunch for a few local agents, or start a Facebook group for agents in your area and publish a video or two in that group introducing yourself and showcasing your work, etc.

Conclusion | Thank You HDRsoft!

Thanks again to HDRsoft for sponsoring this content. We’ve been using their software for over ten years and appreciate the efficiency and versatility, whenever we need to create HDR images.

Good luck with your business, folks!

Our complete series of guides for Real Estate Photography

How To Fix Lens Distortion In Real Estate Photos
A Step By Step Guide On How To Become A Real Estate Photographer

Ten Tips To Be Profitable In Real Estate Photography
Real Estate Photography Equipment Guide: Cameras, Lenses, Accessories & Software
HDR Versus Flash In Real Estate Photography
Real Estate Photography Lighting Guide
Six Common Real Estate Photography Mistakes And How To Avoid Them