The Property, Economy and Demographics!
Property Photography Pricing – This is always the difficult part, pricing your work. Of course, the effort and maybe, money that you have put in so far should justify higher prices but unfortunately the business world doesn’t work like that.
Each area, in each state or county, in each country will be different. What you can charge in Miami, Hong Kong or London, may not be the same as Perth, Malaga, Bangladesh or Rio!
You need to look at what the economy is like in your area and work around that.
- Are you in boom time or are you in a “lull”?
- Are people spending money or are things tight in your economy?
- Are the properties in your area expanding or are they well established?
- What will it cost you to do a job and what do you need to survive and grow?
- What do other photographers charge?
For this last point I can give you some pointers for the area in which I work/worked.
In and around Marbella, Andalucia in Southern Spain over the past few years, the entire coastal area saw an incredible boom in property development and sales. I knew of photographers charging up to €1,000 to photograph a single (luxury) villa.
The developers could afford it; they were selling hundreds of properties. The owners could afford it; they had spent upwards of €1million on the property in the first place. So paying €1,000 to effectively present and promote their property in the best possible way was nothing compared to the returns that they would receive once sold.
To make things even better, there were very few photographers on the coast that were capable, or even had the foresight, to get into real estate photography and reap the rewards.
But then, as expected and quite inevitably, things slowed down over the last year and the work slowed with it. However, even though sales slowed, photography was still needed during this period, and although the charges fell slightly, the smart photographers kept working.
All I can do here is to give you an idea of what could now be charged during this “lull”. Below is part of a quote that was accepted by just one large real estate company here on the coast;
(€1 = $1.24 = £0.69p = CAD 1.5 = AUD 1.62 = JPY 138 = ZAR 7.96 = INR 53.67)
Property Photography Pricing – Sample Price List
|1 Bed Apt||€95 – 1 hours work|
|2 Bed Apt||€125 – 1.5 hours|
|3 Bed Apt||€150 – 1.5 – 2 hours|
|4 Bed Apt/Penthouse||€225 – 2 – 3 hours|
|2 Bed Villa||€150 – 1.5 – 2 hours|
|3 Bed Villa||€225 – 2 – 3 hours|
|4 Bed Villa||€250 – 3 hours|
|5 Bed Villa or Larger||€350-€400 – 3 – 4 hours|
For these prices the client would receive a full set of high quality, high resolution images in both TIFF and JPEG formats, fully enhanced and “Photoshopped”.
Please note that these figures should be used strictly as a guideline and are in no way meant to influence what you charge. They were realistic for this part of the world during a certain economic climate. Your own climate for your “territory” could justify slightly smaller or much larger charges.
These figures are just what I charged the agency, what the agency charged the client is a different matter and is something I will cover in the next section “Who to Approach and what to offer”. By cutting out the middleman means it could be quite an exciting proposal/idea and new offer for your clients!
Shooting just one property a day at the above rates should be enough to keep anyone in business, especially taking into account the other jobs that you will receive on the way! In busy times it is quite possible to shoot 2 properties in a day, weather permitting.
In short, there will always be a need for property photographers no matter what the economy does; you just need to price your work accordingly;
In a boom, properties change hands at the drop of a hat and good images are needed to compete with all that competition and get the buyers looking.
During a lull, agencies need to survive and people are desperate to sell at the best price. It is easy to convince someone that good images put you way out in front. Why not add the price of the photography into the selling price?
Whatever the situation, there will always be competition, when there is competition, getting your property seen, and seen in all its glory, is paramount.
Don’t overcharge; make your clients an attractive deal and the work will always come your way. Overcharge and you will fade away unless you eventually become so well known and respected, people use you for posterity and snob value (it happens)!