How much should you charge for real estate photography? For those of you who are in need of a quick answer: Anywhere from $150-$500 depending on the quality of your work, the size of the home and the city you live in. For those of you who are serious about building a successful real estate photography business, keep reading.
There are many things to consider when you open a new business and pricing is one of them. As a photographer you know this is especially difficult since there is no definitive guide for photographers when it comes to the subject of pricing.
Understanding Your Value
A few years ago American Express conducted a survey on over 1000 consumers and what they found was that 73% of respondents were willing to pay more for a merchant that provided a higher quality product and excellent customer service. People are easily able to part with their money when they know they are getting something of value in return. Real estate photography is the single most important marketing tool a Realtor or homeowner has at their disposal which means a professional who is able to consistently deliver high quality imagery is an incredibly valuable asset.
Study The Market
The average price for a real estate photographer in Toronto is a little higher than that of one in a smaller city where the price of an average home and more importantly the cost of living is much lower. Does that mean you have to charge less? Absolutely not. It just means you need to be a little bit more creative with your marketing strategy. To determine the average price of a real estate photographer in your area all you need to do is pick up the phone. Quick tip: Say for example you find a photographer who charges $1000 (or on the cheaper end $50) for just photography and the rest are charging $200-$300 do yourself a favor and try not to let that influence your average price too much. You want to be in the meat of the market.
Cost of Doing Business
This is probably the most important thing to consider when determining your prices. Marketing, licenses, insurance, automotive expenses, phone bills, internet, software, photography equipment, time, meals, entertainment, education, kickbacks, repairs etc. All these things add up and without knowing how much all of this costs how are you going to be able to sustain a profitable business? Did you know that your DSLR camera has a shutter life? For example, my D800E has a shutter life of 200,000 actuation’s. That means it costs me 2 cents for every picture I take. I know that doesn’t sound like much on its own but I promise you it adds up. Another good rule of thumb is to determine how much it would cost to rent your equipment for the day and incorporate that into your pricing along with other expenses.
Put simply your cost of doing business is your total annual costs (expenses+desired salary) divided the number of billable days.
Unless you are Mother Theresa you are going to want to earn a profit from your work. For example, let’s say your goal is to book 200 jobs and earn $100k this year in profit. That means you need to charge $500 ON TOP of the amount per job that you’ve determined to be your expenses.
As a creative industry professional pricing your work for the first time can be a very nerve-racking experience. There may come a time when somebody asks you to lower your prices because you’re “too expensive” or “the competition is cheaper”. Do not fall into this trap. These people do not pay your bills and have no right to tell you what you should or should not be charging. Create value, set your prices, learn how to deliver it to the right demographics and everything else will fall into place.
It is my hope that this article helps those who needed it. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think!