Are you looking for a real estate / architectural photographer job and curious how much money you can earn in this business?
Here we picked up very practical information on how to get into this business, what photography courses and job offers to check… We also interviewed photographers about their work so that we could share their views about real estate / architectural photography with you.
How to become a real estate photographer?
Real estate photography is the photographing of commercial and residential properties for marketing purposes. Although architectural photography is a broader subject and involves the capture of buildings and similar structures.
A real estate photographer Sherry shares, that she started out as a licensed real estate assistant then progressed to office manager for a leading real estate team. In the beginning, she did mostly direct mail, marketing and client follow up work for 10 agents and some photography.
Architectural photographer Thierry says that his beginning with photography started from the art school:
Mostly I learned about graphic design, typography, photography and painting, so all these bases drived me to photography and especially to an architectural photography.
And photographer Tommy answering the question of how he became an architectural photographer, says: “I did many other forms of photography first. Weddings, portraits, seniors, commercial product, fashion, modeling, and even photojournalism. I got involved in the Google Trusted Photographer program, which led to me photographing businesses. Through a networking group, I connected with a real estate agent and started photographing some of his listings. I found that I enjoyed the architectural niche more than anything else I’d ever done and that it was the form of photography that I was the best at. I decided to specialize in just that niche and eventually stopped offering other types of services and focused exclusively on architectural and interiors”.
Secondly, look for the memberships with different organizations, associations, e.g.:
- The Real Estate Photographers of America and International REPAI
- The Association of Independent Architectural Photographers AIAP
And then practice a lot. As photographer Tommy advices: “start off with real estate. It’s relatively easy to get into and a great way to build a portfolio. Then go and just photograph buildings as personal projects. This will help when it comes to getting commercial jobs. Take time to practice controlling light and study as many resources as you can. Never stop growing your craft. Once you have a good body of real estate work you can start marketing to builders, architects, designers, and the like”.
So, practice in your own environment. Take pictures every day as much as you can. Actually, shoot more than you can!
How much do real estate photographers make?
We searched for a real estate photographer’s salary and look, what we found:
Payscale (data updated on 13 May 2019) provides that:
- the lowest real estate photographer’s salary is $14,000 per year
- the median yearly salary $41,535
- and the highest salary reaches up to $77,000 per year
Although in ZipRecruiter (data updated on 9 May 2019) we found that:
- as a starting real estate photographer’s salary is $21,000 per year
- the average annual pay $56,034
- and the highest salary reaches up to $158,500 per year
Looks like pretty good money, is it really possible to make so much? So to make sure it’s really possible, we’ve checked a few websites (indeed, glassdoor) and found real job offers. Check them out:
- Real 3d Space for a real estate photographer offers from $35,000.00 to $60,000.00 per year.
Equipment preferred: DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens (at least 17mm) and a sturdy tripod.
- Mountain home photo for a real estate / architectural photographer offers: from $35,000.00 to $60,000.00 per year.
- Real Estate Exposures - $50.00 to $80.00 per hour.
Equipment, which is used for shooting: DSLR Camera, Heavy Duty Tripod, Wide Angle Lens, PC/Mac Computer.
- Keri Shull for property photographer offers from $30,000.00 to $42,000.00 per year.
So these job offers could be as a starting point, but if you don’t find anything that suits your needs in the job offers websites, you can always contact the employer directly. Photographer Thierry says that 80% of the clients in this business are the brokers, builders, interiors designers, architects, developers. So feel free to reach them.
What gear do you need for real estate photography?
Probably everyone knows that the most important piece of a gear in a real estate photography is the lens. A lens can have a huge impact on final image.
Photographer Tommy says, that: “for serious architectural photography a Tilt/Shift lens is critical. It allows you to correct for the keystone effect that makes things look like they’re falling away and helps achieve straight horizontal and vertical lines. I recommend starting out with the 24mm as it’s the focal length I use by far and away the most”.
Although photographer Sherry for a real estate photography goes with a Sigma 10-20 lens and Nikon 18-150 lens for long shots and feature close-ups.
And how about the camera? It’s true that for real estate photography you don’t need the most expensive camera to get great pictures as needed for example in action photography. So a camera with a large full frame sensor will work.
Photographer Sherry shares, that she uses Nikon 600S. Photographer Thierry - Canon 5D mark IV and Canon 5D mark III.
However, what is essential to have in a gear for real estate photography is tripod and flash! Tripod will hold the camera in stable position and you will be able to make clear photos. While flash will help to capture more detailed and color-rich photos. The choice of flash depends on the style of shooting and the details you want to highlight.
So if you have these items, you will get good photos and will totally impress your clients!