Starting Up In RE Photography - Essentials?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by chée, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am looking to start up my photography business and will be focusing on Real Estate for the foreseeable future (eventually I will branch into portraiture but that is irrelevant for now). However, I am feeling a tad overwhelmed at all the little things that need to be sorted before I put myself out there. I don't want to have a lame duck start, so would like to make sure I have up to date knowledge on what the market is looking for at the moment (specifically the DC metro area).

    I was a Real Estate photographer in my home country for over 2 years and things were pretty simple. Rock up with the agent, take a bunch of photos, blend with HDR techniques, export sRGB for web and pop the final files into DropBox. My pricing was a flat rate (most houses were more or less the same size and difficulty give or take so this worked at the time). But the more research I do, the more it seems that everything in the US is more complicated. More specialized websites/programs, complicated pricing structures etc. I'm worried I'll end up way out of my depth if I just go in with the same systems and mindset I used before, which was fine in my laid back area back home. It's also been a few years since I was in the business so I imagine a lot has changed in that time anyway.

    Some questions:

    1. How do most agents prefer to have their files delivered? As in, by what medium? Is there a specific site or method that is preferred?
    2. What is the most foolproof way to export final images to work in all websites and print? Is sRGB still the best for all websites? Etc.
    3. At the moment, I do not have off camera flash so will need to rely on HDR blending. Is HDR acceptable for low to mid end properties or is every photographer expected to come geared out with multiple strobes and an assistant? I am not expecting to go into anything even remotely high end for now.
    4. What is a reasonable price to set, or how do photographer's pricing structures work? (sorry I realize this is like asking "how long is a piece of string", but just looking for some general guidance, especially if anyone has some inside knowledge of the DC area).
    5. What are the normal expectations of most agents in terms of average time per shoot, amount of images etc?
    6. What is the normal way to market oneself? Is it best to email/call agents directly?
    7. I have attached some of my previous RE work to this thread (all HDR). Would work at this level be likely to be acceptable or would I be laughed out of town?
    8. In general, what are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid in the RE Photo business?

    Any other tips you may have for the business in general or techniques and structures in particular are extremely appreciated - again, especially if one has any first hand knowledge of the market in northern Virginia/DC metro. I want to make sure I'm making all the right decisions (as far as is possible) right from the outset so I don't bungle up my first foray into the US market. Thanks for your time.

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