Cost of professional real estate photography
Real estate photography in the Bahamas is not as prevalent as other genres of photography such as portrait photography.
Having said that most often when a photographer quotes you a price for real estate photos keep in mind that it may not be his or her primary genre
The cost of real estate pictures will vary starting from $150.00 for a small listing and can reach as high as $3,600.00 for luxury real estate photos and licencing.
Yes it is a huge gap in the pricing structure but so can the various properties be just as diverse.
There are factors that contribute to the overall cost and time involved in capturing images of your listing in the best possible light and within your budget.
- Time involved
- Photography Technique
- Natural Light
- High Dynamic Range (HDR)
- Off Camera Lighting
- Image Amount
- Twilight Images
This should be as straight forward as can be but unfortunately there are some misconception on the amount of time it takes to capture homes.
To get an idea of the cost of real estate photography we have to take a look at what it takes to carry out a successful photo session of a property.
Keep in mind this overall look will vary depending on the photographer and the specific technique involved.
A site visit is often required for larger more expensive properties. Four-bedroom homes or estates with a main house and a guest house or in some cases a pool house. These require a site visit by the photographer.
The visit is to allow the photographer to get an idea of the size of the property and the layout. This is also to establish the movement of the sun and how it would affect the images.
Some photographers may want to take some test shots either with their dslr or in my case with my cell phone. This is used as a reminder to bring certain equipment for the actual shoot date.
Property Lay out
A last reason for a site visit before the real estate photo shoot is to get an idea of the lay out of furniture in each room. One thing is for sure, the set up for a proper shoot by a professional real estate photographer will often involve moving of furniture.
Make sure you discuss this with your photographer as there may be certain pieces of furniture that may be too heavy to move, or you may not want moved. Another part of the layout is to advise on styling the rooms with items. All of this is a part of property staging.
Another pricing strategy is to charge based on the square footage of your home.
For example, a photographer may charge $200.00 for a property less than 1000 square feet and $300.00 for properties between 1000 – 2000 square feet.
Either way ask the photographer for their price list and their cost will reflect their pricing strategy.
This is something that is not such a big deal in the Bahamas when the property and the photographer is on the same island but its good to know if your property is off island.
For example, your photographer lives on New Providence, but your property is in Exuma. In such cases you should expect to pay for travel expenses and per diem depending on the amount of time involved.
In general, a one day lay over is expected whereas the photographer will travel early on the morning of the shoot, begin his work and shoot into twilight and wake up early the next morning to get sunrise shots and travel back home.
It may be that your property and the photographer is on the same island, but travel time driving may be a distance. Same concept applies, a small fee may be added for the drive to and from the property. Keep in mind the photographer is on the clock pretty much once he/she leaves home to travel to your property.
There are many techniques that photogrphers use when it comes to real estate, however I will touch on just three.
This type of real estate photography technique does exactly what it says. The photographer uses natural light flowing in from the sunlight to capture the space.
This can showcase the property bathed in good light or if your property doesn’t have large windows, make it look a bit gloomy.
Another side effect of this technique is that you often have rooms with blown out windows. Blown out windows means its all white and you cant see the outside space.
A good result is that this technique is the fastest and lowest cost to photographing a property.
HDR – High Dynamic Range
HDR real estate images are a step above natural light images.
It uses multiple shots combined to showcase more of the room shadow and bright areas.
This means the same room that had blown out windows with natural light can now have a bit of a view to the outside.
This technique does require a bit more skill in post processing but it can yield really great results.
Off Camera Lighting
This is by far the golden standard to many realtor websites. Using flashes the photographer controls the light withing a room.
This leads to those bright and airy shots with amazing views.
Unfortunately this is the most time consuming and expensive technique used.
Deliverable Photos (Image amount)
This pertains to the number of images the photographer will deliver to you after the shoot. This can vary from photographer to photographer so its worth having a chat about it.
Some photographers prefer a static package whereas based on the amount of rooms in the property there is a set number of photos you will receive.
This is a good place to start however if you have a million-dollar home you will want more than the standard.
The higher the selling price the more images you will want to showcase not only on your website but on your social media pages and perhaps a few printed materials.
A typical rule by photographers is to deliver about 10 -20 photos for suburban homes 2-3bedroom in size. Larger homes will probably yield anywhere between 20-40 images.
You may also meet a photographer with a fixed price but has not limit on the number of images captured. This depends on the technique they will use as the better the overall look of the images the more time needed shooting and editing.
Post processing refers to the editing process the photographer goes through to bring out the beauty of the image. There is a team used by so many people “it must be photoshoped”.
This term caries a negative feeling toward photoshoped images however I must advise you that every image you see is photoshoped per say.
Photoshop is a tool, a software used by graphic artist and photographers to enhance images. A camera can take a good photo but the image a camera takes is no match for the dynamic range of a human eye.
Real estate photographers use photoshop to edit the images in a way that brings the final images to a point where it is pleasing to the human eye and best matches what the eye will see.
Editing is where the bulk of the work is done. A quick real estate session may last an hour or two, but the editing of those images may take a total of four to 6 hours to complete.
The more advanced the technique used the longer editing will take. This is where you should have and idea of the technique you want and the turnaround time in editing before delivery.
A point to take note of here, advanced shooting techniques usually yield a lower number of images per shoot, due to the post processing time involved.
Advance shooting techniques and advanced editing techniques can be combined to replace dull skies, add lawn to a dry or spotty lawn, add color to unpainted surfaces, hide water marks and so much more.
These editing techniques are usually additional cost hence whey a site visit is often necessary.
As a part of the editing process the turnaround time is a factor based on the techniques used. Your photographer should have and idea of how long it will take to deliver your images after the shoot.
Discuss this timeline with your photographer before hand as you may have a short window to get listings up and running and advertising.
Keep in mind to discuss the look you want, which will dictate the technique and the turnaround time involved. You can, however, ask if there is a cost for rush delivery. This is always an option if your time is short.
This is a topic I have rarely heard spoken in the Bahamas, not only when it comes to real estate photos but to virtually any type of photography.
Usage rights is a conversation you should hold with your photographer when you have million-dollar properties to be sold exclusively.
Properties that you want to keep under wraps to your company or brand should be considered under this idea of exclusivity. This means that an agreement must be made between you and the photographer.
A standard agreement is to have the rights to use the images without them being posted anywhere else on social media or in print. This type of usage right does come with a cost so consider it carefully.
What you can ask for is the ability to own the images entirely, which means not even the photographer will be able to post the images anywhere or re sell them to anyone else. There are many ways such agreements can be made. Discuss it with you photographer based on your needs.
Add Ons… Extras
Real estate photography in the 21st century has evolved not only in the shooting and editing techniques but also in the services offered.
Add on services will also increase the cost of your session. These type of add on services can be any of the following;
- Twilight Images – Images shot during sunset or slightly before sunset
- Drone Photography
- Video Walk Through
- Still images Video
- 3D rendering – Matterport tour
Keep in mind although these services come at a price you should not be overwhelmed by them all. Its good to know they exist and that you can have these.
Twilight real estate photos are those images you see with all the lights on during sunset.
The nice colors in the sky and the warm inviting feeling you get when you see the image of the property.
These can bee stressful because there is such a small window of time to capture the best feature of the home.
Because of this Twilight real estate requires the photographer to move quickly a site visit is often needed and good planing for the best shot and not to mention weather conditions must be good.
Aerial images with a drone is becoming very popular because it gives a different perspective on the property and the relation to other properties.
However certified drone pilots are harder to find and even more so pilots who understand the shots needed for real estate.
Video Walk Through
Walk through’s of property can be done using a various typed of cameras. Some photographers are able to switch their camera to video mode and shoot the space.
Some have dedicated video camera and sliders and sometimes gimbals just to capture a good flowing video of a person walking through the space.
This added skill also comes at a price.
Still Image Video
This is similar to the walk through but is made up of still images of the property.
This form of video has been around for a long time and many realtors and home owners opt for this version of video since the photographer already has the images.
This is the latest technology in viewing a property.
Is a 3d video that allows the user to virtually walk through the property using a series of arrows to click and move forward, left or right.
As it was stated at the beginning. The overall cost of a real estate photography session can vary starting from $150.00 for a small listing and can reach as high as $3,600.00 for luxury real estate photos and licencing.
The more you have done, the larger your property and even the technique involved all play a role in the cost of the session.
The more you know the better you can request what you want from a real estate photographer.