The Switch to Digital Real Estate Photography
Shooting real estate photography with a 35mm SLR film camera was much more difficult than shooting with a digital SLR camera. The technology has improved so much over the last 30 years that you can compose the image with your ‘flip-up’ live-view LCD screen as the camera sits on your tripod.
You can change the ISO by pressing a few buttons (instead of changing the film) and can even export the property images wirelessly to your laptop computer. You can see the real estate photo’s composition in real-time, see the result of different lighting positions and you know exactly how it’s going to turn out.
These camera technology improvements have resulted in an influx of ‘professional photographers’ in all genres of photography with portraiture, wedding and landscape photography being the most
popular. Thankfully, real estate photography has remained a ‘niche’ genre which means there is still some great opportunities to establish a thriving real estate photography business with relatively
The Growth in Demand for Professional Real Estate Photography
The two greatest influences on the demand for real estate photography from agents are the property market and the education level of the real estate industry. Over the last decade, there have
been fluctuations in demand for real estate photography as the technology improvements in smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras had a slight edge on some of the low-medium range digital SLR cameras.
Many real estate agents did not understand the value of professional real estate photography and believed a high number of megapixels in their phone or digital camera gave them the ability to produce high-quality property images quickly for their real estate listings. Thankfully, in recent times technology in digital SLR cameras has considerably improved and the real estate industry is much better educated on the value of hiring a professional real estate photographer to shoot their property listings.
Large online property platforms and (proptech companies) have invested in educating their clients (real estate agents) on the importance of high-quality photography as it helps the aesthetics and performance of their own platform by improving the quality of the listings and photographs which generate results for their users.
Property Market’s Influence on Demand for Real Estate Photographers
The property market fluctuates over time according to interest rates, government expenditure, and microeconomic factors such as consumer demand and rates of unemployment. If the market is
tightly held and there are very few sales or rental listings, this is great for investors as property prices will increase. However, there are fewer listings for agents to sell and in turn fewer listings for
photographers to shoot. This increases competition between photographers and can lead to some photographers reducing their prices to encourage bookings and maintain cash flow for their
business. Learn more about setting your prices for real estate photography here.
During these times it’s best to maintain your prices but also to ensure that you are offering great value to your customers by adding extra value and providing same-day turn-around, processing
a few additional photos or even bringing them coffee occasionally.
When there is an oversupply of properties, it can be bad news for investors and agents as their listings may sit empty or unsold on the market for an extended period, resulting in lost rental income or reduced sale price.
Although this is unfortunate for investors and those real estate agents and property managers relying on commissions, it is beneficial for real estate photographers because an oversupply causes the property market to become even more competitive. As more options become available to buyers and renters, smart agents will invest more in their marketing campaign to help their listings stand out. It provides greater demand for real estate photographers and their professional photography, floor plans, and other marketing services.
The rental property market is most active during the third quarter of the year as families put their home up for sale or rent and settle into a new home before the Christmas holiday season. Spring is a popular time for people to sell their property as their home tends to look its best due to the enhanced greenery and colors that this season brings.
Understanding when the peak seasons are for sales and rental activity in your local market will assist you with planning your marketing activities and allocating staff or contractors throughout the year.
Note: This article is an extract from the resources on the Education page on this website.
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