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Once you have the right equipment and lens, an up to date portfolio and the necessary skills to work in the industry you will need to market your services effectively and in the right places to attract customers to your fledgling business.
There are many different ways that you can work in the real estate photography industry. You can either select one ‘genre’ of real estate photography business or work in a broader and more opportunistic manner. Usually the best strategy for success, particularly if you are just starting out is to combine the two approaches by developing certain specialties while also keeping your ear to the ground for new opportunities that may arise at any time.
Be Proactive and Prepared to Make Your Future Clients Feel Special.
Taking well targeted and proactive action is essential to successfully market your real estate photography skills and business to attract new clients and grow your business. Marketing is an ongoing activity and not a one off event however making special efforts and being prepared to impress your clients with unique offers and bargains is a fantastic way to stand out from the competition.
If you are marketing to a company or client who will be able to offer you longer term ongoing work then it may be worth offering them the first photo shoot free of charge. This will allow you to show off your skills and talents while getting your foot in the door.
Another practical tactic that you can employ is to attend open house events in order to meet the realtors themselves. This will demonstrate your proactive mindset and give you the perfect opportunity to show them your portfolio. Make sure you choose your moment wisely though and don’t interrupt the realtor while they are talking to a potential buyer!
A free drinks event might cost a few dollars to put on but if you give a brief presentation where you detail your services, showcase your portfolio and meet local realtors is another unique and memorable way to put yourself on the map in your locality.
Create a social media profile for your real estate photography business to display your portfolio and then take active steps to put your work in front of potential customers. An extremely efficient way to do this is to pay for advertising which on platforms such as Facebook can be highly targeted based on users interests. This means that you won’t waste your advertising budget on putting your portfolio in front of people who have no interest in employing your services. Your social media platform is also a brilliant place to gather reviews and comments about your past work. This will help to build trust and lasting relationships with your clients.
Who Can You Market Your Real Estate Photography To?
You can market your skills to many different groups and individuals.
Real Estate Agents – Commercial and Retail
One of the easiest ways to market your work in the real estate photography market is to work directly with residential realtors. They will have a large portfolio of clients that you can work for as the real estate agent buys and sells property (In Center City Philadelphia alone there are probably a hundred real estate agents. There are many agents who work part-time. Initially you should target those agents who help people buy and sell property full time). You can get steady and reliable work as you develop your skills, experience and confidence levels which will put you in a better position to expand your client base in other areas of the industry.
You can develop a great portfolio while working with real estate agents. As you work you will rapidly grow your portfolio of work which is essential to continue to market yourself in the future and set you apart as an authority in the industry.
Commercial and Retail estate agents work with a huge variety of properties, from shop fronts to industrial units, hospitality sector structures to service industry properties. This is an exciting field of photography for you to work in as the great diversity of projects will not only keep you on your toes but it will also help you to create a unique portfolio of your work.
It’s vital for owners of rental properties, such as airbnb owners, to have some great photos of their properties to advertise them online. Great pictures of a property will help to attract clients again and again. For this reason many owners prefer to contract out the photography to a professional freelancer.
Marketing yourself as a photographer for airbnb owners is a lucrative business that you can get into fairly easily without a huge amount of experience. This is a particularly good option for a real estate freelance photographer if you live in a large city or in a location where there are a lot of airbnb owners that you can work for.
To find new clients you can contact the owners directly and offer to provide them with your services. You will need a good portfolio and a professional manner to succeed in this sector of real estate photography as well as a good entrepreneurial spirit.
Rental Companies and Apartments
Larger companies that rent apartments and homes present a fantastic opportunity for real estate photographers because of the large volume of work they will require. Rental companies will have factored the costs of photography into their budgets so you can expect a standard industry rate for your work which is a definite perk, especially if you are starting out in the field.
Rental companies and apartments are regularly renovated and redecorated in between tenants to stay at the top of their potential market price for rentals. This equates to regular work for you as a contracted photographer for these companies.
Insurance agencies can provide well paying and regular work for photographers. When a property has been damaged the insurance agency will send a photographer to the site to document the state of property in order to process the insurance claim. Insurance companies may also send a photographer to document the property before the owner takes out an insurance policy.
For this type of real estate photography you will need to work in an extremely detailed and documentary manner meaning that this will require a different skill set than other types of real estate photography. To apply for work with insurance agencies you’ll also need to have a fairly good understanding of the industry.
Design and Architecture Firms
In order to work successfully with design and architectural firms you will need to be able to take inspiring, often highly imaginative photos with a big vision! You will need a background in design, art or architecture and an extremely strong portfolio to back up your abilities.
Contact design and architecture firms directly with targeted emails or go in person to their offices with your portfolio in hand! Make sure you present a highly professional and competent front and be prepared to be sent on some very interesting projects.
Venues, sports stadiums and art galleries regularly use staging companies to set up exhibitions, shows and backdrops. This is a highly creative industry and staging companies will need a great portfolio of images to showcase the kind of work they are capable of – and this is where you come in!
As a photographer working for a staging company it will be your job to present the best image of the work they do and will play an important part in the future success of the company. You can expect pretty good rates of pay and an extremely varied career.
Website and Blog – the Key to Marketing Your Real Estate Photography.
Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned pro in the real estate photography industry having your own website and, ideally, blog, will give you the chance to display your best work.
Maintaining a memorable online presence is the key to success in marketing your services in the modern world. You can direct new clients or prospects to your website from your social media account and use the website to develop lasting relationships.
If you’re using advertising to promote your work then you will need a website to direct your audience to. Once they have landed on your website, and been impressed by your portfolio and work ethic, then you can include an easy to use contact form to begin a dialogue with your would be customer!
Incorporating a blog on your website will help to drive organic traffic to your pages, give your clients an insight into your interests, knowledge and personality and provide extra value for your customers. Blog posts can be used in your social media marketing and are an effective way of driving new traffic to your website.
Does Marketing Your Real Estate Photography Sound Complicated?
When you first set out to market yourself and your services in the real estate photography industry it might seem a little complicated but once you narrow down and choose an appropriate sector to focus on you can quickly develop a working strategy.
Once you have set up a website, put together a good portfolio and prepared a marketing strategy you will need to work hard, be tenacious and prepared to go over and above the expectations of your clients. This will help you to build a great reputation which will soon be doing the work of marketing for you as you get references and valuable referrals from others in the industry.
How do you market your real estate photography business?