So you’ve decided to take the plunge and start your very own photography business! Congratulations. There is no doubt that real estate photography is now one of the most desired disciplines of photography to both professional and hobbyist, looking to monetize their passion.
Starting a business is certainly one of the most exciting and rewarding steps you can take in your life. However, in the famous words of Benjamin Franklin, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Let’s take a look at my top 6 tips for anyone looking to start their very own Real Estate Photography business.
For the purpose of this, my assumptions are that you have a solid photographic skill and at minimum able to reproduce similar work to what is being currently presented in your chosen market.
Whilst I can assume that some level of research has been carried out, having a comprehensive understanding of your local area market is highly valuable.
An exercise that I often have new Franchise partners carry out, is to analyse 100 listing either from realestate.com.au or domain.com.au, and identify how many of these listings include any one of the services that you plan to offer i.e. professional photography, floor plan, drone, virtual staging and more. Further to this, write a description of your findings, detailing any patterns used by each of the agents that you see come up more than three times.
This will no doubt come in handy further in your local area marketing initiatives.
You may have guessed this by my earlier comment, however you may be surprised by the amount of discussions that I engage in with aspiring photographers who assume that because they can take a great photo, that they will automatically have clients.
A simple business plan should be the beginning for any business owner. Cover the basics such as your strategy, how you will execute it and in what time frame. If you’re looking for a business plan template, you can find great resources here.
3. Market fit?
Where do you fit in the market? You’re entering an industry that is very much beginning to mature and as such, understanding where you fit, is highly important. We all aspire to those photographers who are photographing the top end of the market because nine out of ten will hopefully make for the idyllic portfolio shot. However, consider your local market and whether the demand for such a photographer is enough to provide you with a steady flow of jobs. I have personally seen various Franchisees flourish as they have been able to identify this early in their journey and as a result have wasted no time in identifying the small gaps or opportunities in the market for early traction.
4. Mental Preparation
Starting and running a business can not only be physically draining, but mentally also. Preparing yourself for types of events that can cause mental exhaustion is highly important and will help to avoid early burn out.
Understanding where certain tension points in your business may lie and how you can overcome these early on, will certainly aid in your ability to avoid certain stresses and potential roadblocks. One should consider what his/ her policy or process is on dealing with negative and or critical feedback, chasing unpaid invoices, dealing with tight time frames, post-processing for different requirements, employing additional staff (photographers, admin etc), adding new services etc.
Plan for these events in advance and it will ensure that your mental focus remains where it should be.
I will start by repeating words that are often thrown around by our COO (and my wife), Lauren; “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. By starting your own real estate photography business, you are committing to your friends, families and loved ones that your desire to create a more rewarding lifestyle is more important than your fear of networking.
As photographers, we certainly love to remain behind the camera, however as a business owner, you need to be front-and-centre where you can be seen, heard and found. Networking is one of the most important and almost certain generators of new leads.
Identify the various networking opportunities in your local area and be sure to step out of your comfort zone and attend. You never know where a simple conversation will end up.
6. Master it, then systemise it.
Time after time, I will come across similar businesses who have been successful at being a “one stop shop” but unsuccessful in offering all services with a great deal of quality and attention. Do not fall victim to the “a customer said they will only go with me if I could offer the whole package”.
At Real Property Photography, we will not add a new service to the approved list unless we know that we and our Franchise partners can master it and of course if our back-end team have systemised it.
Master, then systemise your core service and then repeat with new one’s, it’s as simple as that.
If you would like to know more about starting your very own Real Property Photography franchise, please register your interest here and we’ll be in touch.