How To Hire A Real Estate Photographer

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An expert photographer can make the homes you represent look as appealing as possible to buyers and, ultimately, improve your real estate lead generation efforts.

How do you know you need a professional photographer?

If you are a listing agent in real estate (residential or commercial), an architect or a home builder, you should not think twice about the need for a pro-level photographer. 

Although technology has made it cheaper and easier to take photographs with an iPhone and share them online, this is not the best way to go.

Sure, it might be quicker and easier, but it is the quality of the photographs that can help differentiate a listing and really make an agent stand out in the crowd.

Hiring a professional photographer, with solid experience will result in better quality images that sell properties faster and bring in new clients. 

Wouldn't you like to wow your clients with each image that is used in your marketing materials?

How should you go about finding a professional photographer?

There are many ways to find a decent photographer on the Internet, but you need to be somewhat careful when viewing photographer portfolios and profiles online.

There's an old saying that goes something like this, "don't believe everything you read on the Internet." You should do the same when researching photographers on the Internet. 

Here are some reputable sites where you can find pro-level photographers: 

Questions you should ask to verify that they know what they are doing:

  • What is your experience photographing properties?
  • Do you have an online portfolio that I can review?
  • What is your turn-around time, including post processing and uploading of the images after the property photo session?
  • What additional services do you provide (drone, Matterport 3D, etc)?
  • Can you provide me with two references?

Don't ask for pricing right away. Take an objective look at the photographer's work and determine if they are a good fit for you first. 

Excellent quality photography will be a bit more expensive, but the benefits will greatly outweigh the costs and will get your properties noticed.

Do your homework by researching them online and reading reviews.

Ask around and find out what their reputation is like. 

Drone imagery is an added value that you can pass on to your customers:

  • Images and video captured by drones can give your clients a more emotional connection to properties.
  • Potential buyers can gain a unique perspective of a property from above that they normally wouldn't see in an MLS listing.
  • Show buyers the surrounding neighborhood amenities such as nearby parks, lakes, golf courses and their children's path to school.
People buy on emotion, and these videos really pull them in.

Tips on hiring a drone operator

  • Don't just hire anyone with a drone because they could be operating illegally.
  • Only hire drone operators that are FAA Certified.
  • Ask for proof of certification before the job commences and note that insurance is a plus.
  • Check your brokerage's insurance policy to see if it covers unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operation
  • While filming be in a physical location that removes you from the drone's field of view.

A few FAA rules to be aware of so that you can ensure the drone sessions for your properties are conducted safely

This information is copied directly from and will inform you on commercial use of drones so that when the time comes for you to hire a pilot, you know what rules they should adhere to.

What is a commercial use of UAS?

Any commercial use in connection with a business, including:

  • Selling photos or videos taken from a UAS
  • Using UAS to provide contract services, such as industrial equipment or factory inspection
  • Using UAS to provide professional services, such as security or telecommunications
  • Using UAS to monitor the progress of work your company is performing

What are some examples of commercial uses of UAS?

  • Professional real estate or wedding photography
  • Professional cinema photography for a film or television production
  • Providing contract services for mapping or land surveys

If I meet all the requirements to fly commercially, what are the operating rules?

  • Must fly under 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if flying at an altitude higher than 400 feet AGL, stay within 400 feet of a structure
  • Must keep the UAS in sight (i.e. visual line of sight), either by the remote pilot in command or a visual observer
  • Must fly during daylight hours or civil twilight hours (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting
  • Must fly at or below 100 mph
  • Must yield right of way to manned aircraft
  • Must not fly over people
  • Must not fly from a moving vehicle unless you are in a sparsely populated area

I hope that this information has been helpful to you and has given you a better understanding of the use of drones in real estate photography. 

For more information on my photography and reviews, see my profiles on houzz. 

About John LaGuardia

I am a professional photographer and FAA certified drone pilot with a passion for great architectural imagery.

I help architects, builders and real estate agents with their property adventures and provide them with digital media to grow their business.