Real estate photography is always in high demand. Every day thousands of homes, offices and businesses are going on and off the market, and each one requires great photos to help it sell – and that’s where you step in!
It may sound easy and it certainly can be! However, because making a mistake in business can cost you money and clients there are certain best practices that you should keep in mind to ensure that your business operations run smoothly and efficiently.
The Most Important Best Practices in Real Estate Photography.
The following are some of the best practices that you should follow as a real estate photographer.
Always Sign a Contract.
It’s always crucial to sign a contract even if you know the client and have worked with them before. This is vital, not only for legal purposes, but it can also help you when it comes time to pay the dreaded state taxes! Having a record of the contracts you have fulfilled and the amount of money that you earnt will keep you well organized too.
If you don’t know how to write up a legal contract, which is fine since your main skill set is photography, then you have several options. You can go and see a lawyer who will draw up some contracts that you can use over and over again in your business or else you can get contract templates on the web which you can modify to fulfill your needs.
A contract also protects you in the case that your client lets you down or changes their mind at the last minute. Using a formal contract also comes across to your clients as a professional approach to business which they will appreciate.
Before You Shoot the Photos Tour the Property in Advance.
Every time you get a new job, take the extra time to view the property in advance. This will give you an idea of the equipment you will need to take with you and help you plan the shoot the night before. It might sound like a waste of time but once you get used to incorporating it into your schedule it will become second nature and the final results of your work will be that much better.
Taking a tour through the property in advance will allow you to figure out the best angles and let you know which rooms might take some more time to prepare for the shoot. You’ll know if you need to tidy up or whether the space is empty and ready to go. Allowing yourself the time to explore the setting before the day of the shoot will take away any headaches that may arise from last minute rushing around which could spoil a job and lose you a client.
In addition to taking a good look around before the shoot it’s also handy to bring along a notepad so you can write down anything that you need to remember.
Understand the Expectations of the Client.
No matter who you are working for, whether it’s a private seller or a real estate agent, you need to understand what they expect from you. Of course having a written contract will help to clarify this but you should also consult directly with them to work out any practical details that may arise. Your client may expect something from you which they assume to be obvious however if you don’t talk to them about it then you may miss something that’s important. This could mean that you might have to go back and reshoot the property! Avoiding this is not only economically a wise thing to do but it’s also more professional to work through their expectations in advance of any problem occurring.
If you can arrange it try to meet the agents or representatives of the sale on-site on the actual day of the shoot. This will let you walk through the property with them in order to get the shots just right and create the outcomes they want. While you are together at the property ask if there are any particular features that they would like to highlight in the photo shoot.
Always Take Backup Equipment.
When you go on a photo shoot you should always take a spare camera, lens and extra batteries. The last thing you want is to be half way through a shoot and find out that you forgot to charge your camera last night and be unable to complete the job. Then you’ll have to rush back home, recharge or change batteries and then get back to the job. This is a terrible mistake to make and even though it sounds simple, many professional photographers have found themselves in that situation! So try to get used to packing spares of everything before you go to any assignment so that you can be on the job and ready to roll!
Tripods are Vital in Real Estate Photography.
Using a tripod will massively improve the quality of your photos particularly if you are working in poorly lit conditions. Make it a habit to bring your tripod with you on every job. You want to make your work as easy and problem free as possible and using a tripod will help you do this.
Always Tidy and Declutter.
If you are given an assignment and the property is cluttered and messy then you are going to have to deal with the mess. Allow yourself time to do this. However, even if the property is not messy, make sure that you rearrange the furniture if there is any, to make the rooms look spacious and neat. Nobody wants to move into, yet alone buy, a cluttered chaotic property. Think in terms of Feng Shui and you’ll get great results although don’t forget to use your artistic vision to make the space look its very best!
If the property is empty, then it’s a great idea to bring some props with you. For example, in an empty kitchen space a simple vase of flowers can really make all the difference between a stunning stand out property and a forgettable one. A good pro tip is that you don’t even need to use real flowers since plastic reusable flowers work just fine in a photo! Other props that you can use are decorative cushions for couches and the occasion rug, which can really help to tie the room together. When using props in real estate photography always check with your client first to make sure that they approve. Using props, or ‘setting the stage’, in real estate photography is definitely a case of ‘less is more’ so don’t go overboard but just give the hint of the possibilities that a new owner could enjoy.
Prepare in Advance.
Always prepare your equipment the night before. Lay out your gear, make sure it’s all in good working order and charge up the batteries. Having everything ready will allow you to focus on what you do the best, which is take superb photos that will sell your clients property for them!
Real Estate Photography Best Practices – Get Them Right and Thrive.
Getting into good habits and constantly improving your technique, methods and practise is the only way to stay at the top of your game and ahead of the competition. Don’t forget that real estate photography is a competitive business to be in and anything you can do to sharpen your workflow will boost your appeal to potential clients and make your life easier too.
Do you visit the property prior to the shoot?