In this blog post I will try to help people, who wants to get into the property photography business and at the same time people who are looking to hire a professional property photographer, by providing some information on the topic.
London is ever growing megapolis, especially in the current period there is an extraordinary amount of property development going throughout our capital. This situation represents very good opportunities for both, developers who are trying to sell more houses and for property photographers – who are trying to get more work.
As always, both sides will be playing the old game – of finding the best service and/or finding the best job opportunity.
As a London based professional photographer, I had my fear share of property photography done for several property management companies. Based on this, I will try to share some of my experience on the field and also a selection of images (please note that the images bellow are product from a basic package, which include taking the picture in a simple way – one on camera flash, no extra lighting)
Let’s start with – being a property developer or, perhaps, an estate agent who is looking for professional property/estate photographer to take good quality images of the properties they are representing. Off course your aim always will be to hire the best photographer for the job, which not always will be in harmony with the wish of also being the cheaper (I will cover the correlation shortly, below).
Things you need to know when hiring professional property photographer:
- The very first thing to do will be to check his/her photography portfolio – this will be the best indicator for the quality of work the photographer could provide. When comes to visuals, words do not count – try to avoid websites where the main emphasis is on writing how good the services are, instead of showing good examples of previously done work/projects.
- Make sure of what the professional property photographer is offering, some basic information need to be cleared before even contacting the person. Information such as what sort of equipment is being used, approach to photographing, some basic rates or packages. The more details presented, besides the photographer’s portfolio, about the services being offered the more trustworthy the photographer will be, as this shows that he/she knows what is doing and also that they have already some experience.
- Equipment – part of the info provided, on photographer’s page, should be, proudly including the professional equipment they are using for capturing the professional quality images. This can include, tripod, preferably full frame DSLR camera, a speedlite and a wide angle lens – good glass/optic is one of the most important piece of equipment.
- Specific services offered/required – as I mentioned in point 2, above, in order to avoid awkward situation – make sure everything you require as a client is accepted and provided, as service, by the photographer you are about to hire. I’ve been there before and is not a pleasant experience, for both sides. Most photographers are specializing in certain services – and although I absolutely understand people without any professional photographic background, as very often I’m dealing with such issues, please make sure to clarify what exactly are your needs and requirements. This will not only help photographer to provide you with good estimate of the cost for the job but also stress free experience.
- Price – this could, easily, turn into very complex and lengthy topic but I will try to keep it brief. Basically it goes like this – if you are looking for cheap option, probably you don’t need professional photographer who can provide you with professional results – your best bid will be to get a photography student, or perhaps someone who just decided to be photographer. The option of hiring professional photographer will, obviously, come with a cost – how much is too much? Ok, pricing photography projects can be tricky thing but if you do something a bit more standard, on a daily/weekly basis, things can be simplified by creating standard fee for a standard service. For example – If I need to go out and photograph One or Two bedroom property, the minimum I will charge is £200. In case you say, this is too much – let’s take a minute and think about it. Firstly, as a freelance professional photographers don’t get to work on permanent basis. Secondly, even if it takes me only one hour to photograph the property, I still got to travel forth and back, edit the images (by my high standards), resize them and finally send to my clients. So essentially this is well more than a half day job, also let’s not forget that you won’t be licensing the images but instead will be using them over and over again, until the property undergo some major renovation and then, perhaps, You’ll find the need to hire photographer again.
Ok, let’s see now how is the situation on the side of the professional photographers – contacted by potential client, or looking to get into the property photography business.
- Portfolio – As a professional photographer this is your only weapon in the battle to capture the attention, of potential clients, and stand out of the competition. It will be enormous, almost impossible, task to capture the attention of people who will be likely to offer the job you are looking for – if you can’t show that you are up to the level.
- Pricing – If you are well established photographer, with good connections on the market, obviously, you can dictate your price – other ways you need to stick to some industry standards or even, if you are trying to still build on portfolio, consider going very cheap, just on getting the chance to gain an access and photograph something decent (which eventually will help you building your portfolio)
- The Client – Our clients also comes in different “flavors”, from my own experience, the way I recognize the better clients is – when they contact me, their email are well structured in a way that shows they know very well what they want from you and every detail is well covered in the brief. Another thing is acceptance of, reasonable, price – after receiving well written and constructive email, which shows you are dealing with people holding some good experience and knowledge of working with photographers, you shouldn’t be expecting to being pushed and pressed for unreasonably lower fee. Normally, in such situation is clear that you are dealing with people who won’t be appreciating your services and, from my point of view, will be wasted time dealing with them, also they are not the type of customers for establishing longer and healthier business relationship.
- Personality – In order to establish ourselves, in such tough industry like photography, one of the most important quality, regardless the niche, is being a great person. Being ready to go step further for your clients is priceless and this little personal touch will bring you only success. Also creating good friendship with the people you work with can bring you only more work!
- Marketing – many photographers, like me writing blogs, will be advising on a different marketing strategies but one important thing, I think need to be established here, is the fact that everyone finds their way – as I mentioned photography, especially here in UK, is very competitive industry. One important thing to remember is, once you get entrance to doing some property photography get hold of it well, as it will take time to establish and develop yourself into successful property photographer
I really hope that, with the info provided above, I managed to shine a bit of light over such complex topic. If you really find the information here of any help, or perhaps you’d like to add something – will be my pleasure to share your comments or suggestions.
Please feel free to contact me, by pressing the button bellow, for any inquiries – regarding your property photography needs.