Being asked by a real estate agent if you can do a photo shoot for free can put you in an awkward position and you may experience a roller coaster of emotions rushing through you. You may find yourself asking one of the following questions;
Does the agent not respect me?
If the landlord can’t even afford photography, why are they in the property game?
Can’t they just pay me once they lease or sell the property?
Is this real estate agency going bust?
There are a number of reasons the agent may ask for a photo shoot for free, with the most common being that the landlord hasn’t been ‘sold’ on the benefits of using a professional photographer to photograph their property for the marketing campaign.
The only scenario where you should willingly be open to shooting a property for free is if you are just starting out and do not have a portfolio to justify your pricing. In this situation you are not missing out on other paid opportunities, because your calendar is not full, and your primary goal is to gain experience shooting real estate and to build a solid portfolio of images to utilize in your website, social media, and print and digital marketing materials to help win new (paying clients) and grow your business.
If you are not in this position, you can try to assist the agent in selling the importance of using professional real estate photography by providing them a brochure that includes your work and some key benefits of professional photography. If you really want their business, you can also try to add more value to your basic service. An example of this would be adding a few extra images for free, adding a floor plan for free (ideal if it is a small unit), or adding a free aerial photo if you do not contract out your aerial photography services.
If the agent requesting a photo shoot for free has provided plenty of paid work prior to this request, you may like to just make their life easier by providing them with a one-off discount for this property. This gesture can pay off in the future when the agent refers you to other colleagues as a return favor.
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