REAL ESTATE + ARCHITECTURE PHOTO
HOW I WORK
As with all of the work I produce, I don’t compete on price. I compete on image quality, experience, and deadlines. You will definitely find a cheaper photographer. I focus on providing a higher grade of work and value to your project. There is definitely a market for the $99 run-and-gun photographer who runs through a property snagging 60 photos in an hour. However, driving a low price means quality comes secondary, and that’s not my style.
I take the time and shoot a property with polish that shows off the beauty, detail, and style that the architect, builder, or seller wants to showcase. Depending on the goals of the shoot and the aesthetic of the property, I use a variety of technical styles to achieve a stunning finished image. This can be as simple as using the natural ambient light, or as complex as deploying powerful studio strobes, complex lighting setups, and detailed retouching. You won’t find any gimmicky-looking HDR processing here either. My goal is to make the space or property appear natural, welcoming, and really let the style and vibe come through. It doesn’t matter if this is multi-day commercial shoot or a one-hour residential real estate shoot.
COMMERCIAL ARCHITECTURE PHOTOGRAPHY
Commercial architecture and interior photography shares a lot with real estate shooting, but with a higher attention to detail, quality, and much more creative freedom. Commercial projects remove the typical real estate constraints of speed, limited budget, and limited creativity. This opens up the door for a much more polished look and a no-holds-barred territory where all the lighting equipment and fancy shooting and retouching techniques come into play.
Commercial photography pricing is typically composed of a creative fee for the shoot, a usage fee that is dependent on how the images will be used (see the Image Licensing section below), and any specialty equipment, supplies or other expenses necessary to complete the shoot. The creative fee is based on the number of images to be created, estimated shoot length, project deadline, complexity, location, and other factors. Depending on project specifics, pricing structure can be based on a day rate, per final image quantity, or a flat all-inclusive project amount.
Normally, a shoot can be broken down into three core phases: planning/prep, the shoot itself, and post-processing. During planning and prep, I’ll probably want to do a site visit and walk through the property, discuss the goals of the photo shoot, create a shot list, and figure out a schedule. Often, advanced post-processing like retouching, compositing, or clipping paths are essential to polish an image and complete the original project vision. This phase is highly variable and can be just as time-intensive as the shoot itself.
- Lighting: Depending on the project, I bring an entire cadre of studio strobes, smaller flashes, umbrellas, soft boxes, light stands, battery packs, etc.
- Image processing: Basic color correction and retouching is included. Retouching is limited to removing minor image or lighting blemishes, camera dust/spots, and other minor imperfections. Advanced retouching is billed hourly.
- Turnaround: Turnaround is dependent on the number of photos being delivered, the complexity of image processing/retouching required, and the project timeline.
- Peace of mind: Rest assured, your project images will turn out amazing!
- Image retouching and composites
- Lighting, grip, equipment usage/rental cost (above and beyond our standard equipment)
- Camera equipment and lens usage/rental (above and beyond our standard equipment)
- Set design/construction, props, staging
- Travel, tolls, meals, parking, etc.
- Models, assistants, stylists
- Any other special equipment or materials needed
Company size also plays a role in image usage fees. For small local businesses, I typically waive the usage fee to include 1 year usage for website and social media, non-exclusive, with photo credit to JMVDIGITAL (where possible). Any other usage, including a longer duration or for use in advertising, will require an additional negotiable usage fee. Larger companies who may expose the image(s) to a large audience should expect to pay industry-standard usage fees.
Image usage fees are based on industry-standard guidelines that include the following criteria:
- Number of Images: Quantity price discounts
- Media: Print, web, television, advertising, social media, etc.
- Distribution Size: Number of copies printed, or viewing audience size
- Geography: National, regional, international, etc.
- Exclusivity: Exclusive or non-exclusive use
- Length of Use: 1 print run, 1 year, 2 years, etc.
- Prominence of Display: 1/4 page, 1/2 page, full-page, front/back cover, home page (web), interior page (web), etc.
All licensing inquiries should be sent to:
Pricing for commercial work is done on a custom per-project basis. Please use the form on the right, or contact us for a quote. A signed agreement/contract and a non-refundable 50% deposit is required before the start of any commercial project. The project balance must be paid in full before final delivery of the project files and any usage rights transfer is complete.
LUXURY REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY
Shooting for real estate is a delicate balance. On one hand, it’s not a commercial shoot where it’s necessary to spend hours perfecting and retouching a particular image. On the other hand, I don’t like to fly through a house, snapping 90 photos to “document” it in 30 minutes. My approach is somewhere in between.
Don’t get caught up in the “more is better” thinking for photographing a property. The goal is not to document every single room, closet, and corner of a property… It’s to showcase, capture the essence, and entice a potential buyer to come see it. I believe it’s better to create tighter vignettes of the important spaces of the home that make it feel inviting, beautiful, and realistic. This level of quality is not possible with photographers that promise dozens and dozens of photos per shoot for $99. In luxury real estate, cheap and quick is not a good thing. I slow things down and focus on high quality photos. A handful of beautiful, strong photographs are much more powerful than 60 mediocre ones.
Because of the the time this type of shooting takes, combined with the large differences in property room numbers, square footage, and client budget, I price my luxury real estate photography per photo. I find this works much better than charging a single rate based on property square footage. Sometimes large homes have huge open areas that reduce the number of photos needed, or sometimes a home has many smaller rooms requiring more photos and time. Each photo must be setup, lit properly, and the image processed later. So each additional room or shot angle requires just a little more time. Per photo pricing also allows for staying within a certain client or agent budget while still achieving high quality photography.
My lighting approach for interiors is simple… try to use as much ambient/existing light as possible. Often that isn’t enough, especially with bright windows and a dark interior. The camera captures a scene very differently than your eye and doesn’t have nearly the amount of dynamic range to capture bright areas and dark areas nicely. How this extreme contrast is dealt with is the point that separates mediocre photographers from great ones. You can’t have completely blown-out white windows just to get the interior bright enough to see anything (unless that window view is terrible and we want to minimize it!). Depending on the characteristics of the property and the desired result, we have a few options. I will either supplement with monolights or speedlights to augment and blend with the natural light, or I can take multiple exposures and blend them during retouching. Sometimes, I do both! Don’t worry, you won’t find any garish, over-saturated, and unrealistic HDR images here.
- I shoot with high-end Canon DSLR camera bodies at up to 50mp.
- Lighting: Depending on the property, I bring a whole bunch of studio strobes, speedlights, umbrellas, soft boxes, light stands, battery packs, etc.
- Image processing: Basic color correction and retouching is included. Retouching is limited to removing minor image or lighting blemishes, camera dust/spots, and other minor imperfections. Advanced retouching is billed hourly (see below in Upgrades & Add-ons).
- Turnaround: 24-48 hour turnaround is standard, depending on the number of photos being delivered and the complexity of image processing/retouching required.
- Image sizing & format: I can deliver the images in whatever size and file format you need. Just let me know.
- Peace of mind: You don’t need to be present for the shoot unless you want to be. I am fully insured for medical, equipment, and carry $2M general liability coverage. Better safe than sorry!
Pricing is based on the number of finished images needed for a particular property, regardless of whether the shots are interior, exterior, or dusk shots. The shot list is typically determined during a walk-through where we discuss the property, what important characteristics or areas need to be shown (or minimized), the number of images desired, etc. Conversely, if there is a set budget for the photography, we can work backwards to figure out how many images are possible and prioritize the shot list.
Not every property benefits from filling the MLS with 30+ photos, even large ones. I recommend 15-20 photos for homes up to 1500 finished sqft.; 20-25 photos for homes up to 2500 sqft.; and 25+ photos for larger homes. This includes exteriors. Sometimes shooting more is beneficial, especially if the property is professionally staged, has high-end finishes for detail shots, or has unique exterior surroundings.
- You only pay for images you use. I will sometimes come back from a shoot with more photos than necessary and allow for a couple of optional choices.
- Up to 25 images: $20 per image for images 1-25.
- Additional images: $15 per image for images 25 and over.
- Dusk or additional shoot upgrade – $100. This covers an additional visit to the property to shoot in the evening. This upgrade also applies if a property requires a second visit for another reason. There is no upgrade fee if a property only requires a single visit specifically for dusk shots or if the rest of the property is shot at the same time. This is a flat upgrade cost and does not include the image cost.
- Aerial photography – $100. Land-based aerial photography is a fantastic and inexpensive way to get a unique perspective on a gorgeous property. I can get the camera over 30 feet off the ground, which may not sound like much, but it dramatically changes the perspective and view of a property. Even average looking exteriors take on new life a few feet off the ground. I use a mast system that is extremely lightweight and fast to deploy, needing only a very small footprint. That means we can use it all the way around a property if desired, including tight spots where larger mast systems won’t fit. This is a flat upgrade cost and does not include the image cost.
Almost every home will benefit from some level of cleaning and staging before photographing for a real estate listing. Staging a home can greatly increase the sales potential of the property. The home looks nicer, feels cleaner, and photographs much more professionally. The arrangement of furniture, wall photos, or decorations may look good in day-to-day life, but often does not photograph well.
Here is a list of recommendations for preparing a property for photography:
- Furniture. Remove unnecessary furniture. Create space and openness. Place furniture and decoration only where appropriate. Put children’s chairs and toys in the children’s bedroom and the computer in the office. Remove all used looking furnishings (worn upholstered couches, stained carpets, scratched sideboards etc.).
- Pets. If at all possible, move all domestic animals and pets to another location during the shoot.
- Cleaning. Perform basic cleaning or let professionals clean the entire space. Clean all floors, furniture surfaces, tiles, mirrors and windows. Remove cobwebs, especially in corners and around ceiling lamps. Remove all lime and water drop stains from faucets, sinks and bath tubs. Remove all garbage, dirty dishes, and laundry.
- Make things uniform. For example, a table should only be surrounded by chairs of the same model. Align all chairs at dining tables, kitchen counters or working places. Straighten lamp shades. Straighten and align all decorations and hanging artwork.
- De-Personalize. Hide all family-related photographs and other mementos. Remove any signs of religious or political preferences of the owners. Remove souvenirs and trophies from walls and shelves. Remove all magnets, photographs and children’s drawings from refrigerators.Clear off kitchen and bathroom counters, dresser tops, office desks, etc.
- Decorations. Minimize decorations and place only one piece of decoration on a table. Hide newspapers and magazines. Hide trash cans and waste baskets. Clear all tables, trays and cabinets in the kitchen. Hide all cables and wires. Straighten blankets, bed sheets and bed covers. Straighten curtains and carpets. Display only clean towels, nicely arranged.
- Lighting. Check all lamps and replace non-working bulbs. Use the same wattage and color temperature for all bulbs within one lamp. Limit or remove all fluorescent lighting. Check the proper function of all outdoor lighting (garden lamps, door lights, patio lights, pool lamps).
- Exterior. Remove all vehicles from the driveway and front of the property. Hide the garbage cans. Hide garden tools, garden hoses, sprinklers, and grills into the garage. Mow the lawn. Rake garden beds and drive ways. Sweep or clear pavement areas.
- Initial agreement: I do require our clients sign a basic terms of service agreement before starting a project. For real estate clients, this agreement only needs to be signed once per year. Properties or shoots that have unique requirements that deviate from those basic terms must be negotiated individually.
- Payment: Payment must be made before final photos can be used for any MLS or listing, unless otherwise agreed.
- Extra travel: Round trip travel is included for properties within 30 miles round trip from Old Town, Fort Collins. Additional travel is billed at $0.50/mile.
- Minimum shots: A minimum of fifteen images ($300) per property is required. I have to make the travel, preparation, and shoot time worth while.
- Cancellation: Canceling a shoot at the last minute sometimes happens. I get that. However, I build our schedule and prepare/load equipment based around that shoot. Which means lost time and heartbreak for us too. Cancellations within 24 hours incur a $100 cancellation fee. In the event of inclimate weather or the possibility of less than ideal shooting conditions, we will offer an alternative shoot time at no cost.
- Property preparation: The property must be photo-ready and/or staged prior to the shoot time. The property will be photographed mostly as-is. I do tweak or move minor things like decor, chair placements, etc. In general however, we are there to create amazing photographs, not to clean or stage. Hiring a stager/stylist is HIGHLY recommended. I have found that with the killer combo of beautiful staging and photography, a property sells much, much faster. I have worked with and fully recommend Trove Collective.
- Copyright and image usage: Unless otherwise negotiated, real estate photography is licensed, non-exclusive, for use by the Client solely for the purposes of listing the property for sale (including local MLS use and property-specific advertising like Virtual Tours or print brochures) for a period of 1 year from the shoot date. These licensed rights are not transferred until full payment is received for the images and services rendered. The Client may not assign or transfer any rights or licenses granted under it. Any additional use of the images, including general advertising or website use by the Client, Client’s agency, listing agent, builder, architect, etc., must be negotiated separately.
- Insurance: I are fully insured for medical, equipment, and carry $2M general liability coverage.