Patientzero
Patientzero GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/15/21 12:51 a.m.

I've been kicking around the idea of trying some real estate photography as a side hustle for awhile.  Maybe more than a side hustle depending on the demand.  I've been doing photography for a long time and even as a side hustle in the past doing couples pictures, engagements, senior pictures, etc.  Also a lot of automotive photography but only a couple paying jobs.

I already have some pretty good gear; Nikon D600, assortment of lenses, external flash, etc.  I was also looking at getting a DJI Mavic 2 drone for some aerial shots.  It seems like the going rate for a real estate shoot is anywhere from $100-$500 depending on location, house size, house price, etc.

Does anyone have some real world experience?  Tips?  Is it even worth it?  At some point in my life I want to get away from a 9-5 and work for myself.  I've just yet to figure out exactly what I want to do or how to get there.  I enjoy photography and have made money on it in the past so this is just something I'm exploring.  My wife also enjoys photography and has assisted me on shoots in the past but is also more than capable of doing a shoot on her own also so that adds some versatility.

 

 

bgkast
bgkast GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/15/21 1:05 a.m.

As a buyer and seller of real estate I can tell you that the photos in a listing can make or break a sale. Most listings in the my area have too few, small and close angle shots that do not flatter the property, and make it very hard to get a sense of the property.

A professional photographer solves these issues, but they are often quite expensive and booked out a long way, which slows getting the house on the market. Typically only higher end homes tend to use professional photos.

When we were selling some rentals last year I had to resort to taking the photos myself with an old DLSR. I think there would be a good market for quality photos that can be turned around quickly for $5-800 per shoot on a small house, or more on a larger one.

Patientzero
Patientzero GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/15/21 1:09 a.m.

In reply to bgkast :

That's helpful, thanks.  What area are you in?

bgkast
bgkast GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/15/21 1:20 a.m.

I am in Southwest Washington, near Portland Oregon.

Another area that might go hand in hand with a real estate photography business is property staging. Like professional photos staging seems to usually be done only on high end homes, and is typically costly and can take time to book. It's amazing how a few pieces of wall art and some fake plants can make a house look more appealing, both in photos and when touring. When my wife and I were renting and then selling we bought a small storage unit worth of decorations and would put them up to make things look more homey.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
10/15/21 5:36 a.m.

I'm a professional drone pilot. Real estate is the bottom of the barrel. 
Agents don't want to pay what it's worth because they can just use their phone. 
as far as drone shots, same rules apply. They either buy a toy like the Mavic air, or get the kid down the street to do it for a Bic Mac. 
now, IF you find an agent that realizes that good photos add some real value, you can make decent money. Another note on drone work, get FAA certified or be prepared to get fines when the FAA finds out. And they will. 
$1,100 fine for you, $11,100 for the agent. 
you would do well to also be able to offer virtual tours with a 360 camera, then you can offer a complete package. 
all that being said, in this crazy market most agents realize they could list the house with some crayola drawings and get 15% above asking. 

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
10/15/21 5:57 a.m.

Oh, and screw DJI. They will make you hate them and yourself in time. 
Horrific customer service. Another issue is that DJI is like apple, they insist on controlling the drone YOU OWN in US airspace that YOU have FAA authorization to fly in. 
here is a scenario I've lived through three times:

I accept a job in controlled airspace. This requires FAA clearance to fly so I get it. I arrive on site, call the tower to file my flight plan and get the go-ahead for the mission.

Got it. I enter my FAA waiver info into the controller to unlock the drone. See, DJI has geo-fencing to prevent people from flying illegally. My Waiver info is entered and uploaded to the drone and the drone will not spin up. Dead. The DJI overlords won't unlock my drone. I have to call the tower to cancel my flight plan. Now I spend the next 45 minutes on the phone with DJI to get them to unlock MY drone that I'm flying in US airspace that I have authorization from the US GOVERNMENT to fly. Yup, the Chinese company is still controlling it. After all that is cleared up I either call the tower to ask for permission for a modified flight plan, or if I'm outside of the time allotted for this FAA Waiver, I have to go home, contact the client to reschedule, apply for another waiver, then start the while process again. 
Now, who is paying me for that time?  Nobody.  Who's managing my reputation with that control tower when I'm viewed as less-than-professional?  
Screw DJI.


Look into Autel.  They allow the pilot to be responsible for his/her actions. They produce more natural images. They have better customer support.

Patientzero
Patientzero GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/15/21 6:16 a.m.
DrBoost said:

I'm a professional drone pilot. Real estate is the bottom of the barrel. 
 

What type of work do you do?

 

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
10/15/21 6:40 a.m.

Some real estate (commercial and residential), roof inspections, solar site inspections, surveillance.  

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
10/15/21 6:57 a.m.
bgkast said:

As a buyer and seller of real estate I can tell you that the photos in a listing can make or break a sale. Most listings in the my area have too few, small and close angle shots that do not flatter the property, and make it very hard to get a sense of the property.

A professional photographer solves these issues, but they are often quite expensive and booked out a long way, which slows getting the house on the market. Typically only higher end homes tend to use professional photos.

When we were selling some rentals last year I had to resort to taking the photos myself with an old DLSR. I think there would be a good market for quality photos that can be turned around quickly for $5-800 per shoot on a small house, or more on a larger one.

Most agents want tons of shots and want change from a $200 bill. Now, this is probably different geographically. 
but yes, go for higher-dollar properties. 

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/15/21 8:28 a.m.

From everything I have seen being a professional photographer is lots of work. There is lots of time that is not accounted for by clients that they don't see the value in. Same for drone stuff.  Tough business from what I can tell. My dealing with that world has landed me some side work for contractors that want marketing photos.  Not the biggest $$$$ but generally quick in and out jobs that are profitable.  Oh and these can be cash deals in some cases if that is something people care about.  I do this stuff more as a marketing thing for my "real" company. I get to meet other owners or property managers and it has lead to other much more profitable work for my company. Nothing better than having your marketing time costs covered by taking photos.  
 

I am sure that professional photographers are cringing reading this but this is not like shooting weddings (I would never do that) I am taking photos of stuff I understand that is to be used to promote a field I am in. I also have more than 40 years of experience as an amateur and have a decent amount of upper mid tier equipment.  The funny thing is that in some  cases the shots taken with my iPhone are what get used. I always shoot some with my phone as backup. 

Shadeux
Shadeux GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/15/21 9:27 a.m.

My suggestions:

1. Drone (been covered)

2. Ultra-wide lens, like a Sigma 12-24mm for inside, telephoto for exterior.

3. Pet peeve: Take two shots inside rooms with windows. Expose one for the outside, then the other for the inside. Clone them together so the windows are not blown out in the interior shot.

4. Don't stand all the time. Get down to 3 feet or so. It makes the room look better proportionally.

5. Staging the house is a big move, but killer if you can pull it off.

6. If possible take exterior shots in the morning or evening. Much sexier lighting.

7. One or two remote speed lights for spot or fill is a pro move.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/15/21 10:19 a.m.

I recently looked at a house that featured an online 3D tour. It looked rather high-res and, to be honest, was a total game-changer. 

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
10/15/21 10:52 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

I recently looked at a house that featured an online 3D tour. It looked rather high-res and, to be honest, was a total game-changer. 

That's exactly what I was referring to when I said to get a 3d camera. I have a few so I can offer that service. A well done virtual tour is a big deal

procainestart
procainestart Dork
10/15/21 12:16 p.m.
DrBoost said:

Real estate is the bottom of the barrel. 

This is what I've read, unless you're shooting high-dollar homes.

You might go to www.dpreview.com and search their pro photography forum -- it's likely to have some good advice from a business perspective. As for gear, I know you'll need a decent tripod, off-camera flash to manage uneven lighting, and if your clients care, know how to deal with HDR so that the views out the windows don't look stupidly fake. All your lines need to be plumb/even, which means either dealing with it in post, if necessary, or investing in a tilt/shift lens. As with many skills these days, it's easy to find good content on YouTube about this kind of shooting.

IMO, I think the easiest photography side hustle these days would be headshots. If you're good with people and can get pleasing, genuine, friendly expressions from your subjects, you'll get referrals and be in business. Not that no one else is doing this, but, again IMO,  it seems like a better way to make money with a camera.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
10/15/21 2:00 p.m.

Is this thread about doing real estate photography specifically as a side hustle OR is it about creating a side hustle business doing any sort of photography?  I'm interested in the second fo sho but wanted to check before further derailment commences.

lnlogauge
lnlogauge HalfDork
10/16/21 5:21 p.m.

I have a dji mini 2, and it's insanely good. App doesn't care at all about flight restrictions, so not sure what you were using drboost. You can turn off height and distance limits, and you can hack it so the radio is even stronger to go further.  I had it 3 miles out over the ocean on vacation. Didn't really enjoy that experience, but it would have gone even further. 

 

 

I paid 100$ For it on FB marketplace. The plan was to resell and make some money, but it's too much fun to sell. 

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
10/16/21 5:57 p.m.

In reply to lnlogauge :

If the app

was hacked that's why the geo fencing didn't stop you from taking off. 
I've had geo fencing issues with all my DJI drones (phantom 3, 2 phantom 4 Pros, one mavic pro, one mavic 2 pro, and one inspire 1). 
the two mavics and one of the phantom 4s were ones that refused to spin the props. 
It's a known thing, even an industry punch line. 
My Autel and Yuneec inform me that I'm in restricted airspace and allows the pilot to acknowledge it, then carry on. 

lnlogauge
lnlogauge HalfDork
10/16/21 10:26 p.m.

In reply to DrBoost :

The app could be hacked for stronger signal. I used it before hacking, and there's no geo fencing. 

There's another app that you control the drone by a predetermined route. Mine is just free flying. 

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
10/17/21 4:33 a.m.

All DJI products have geo fencing. Their websites advertises it. 
what that means is that if you are near any kind of airport you'll get a warning message. If your too close to a particular type of airport, it won't allow the props to energize. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/17/21 7:52 a.m.

I fortunately got wind of that geo fencing and blocked my DJI app from updating.  My Mavic Air doesn't even know about the new FAA requirements.  It's like flying a carburetor.

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