How Much Does Real Estate Photography Salary?

Real Estate Photography Salary

Below I’ll answer the question of how much Real Estate Photography Salary is in annual, monthly, and hourly, complete with monthly income tables and updated data and figures for 2022.

The income figure starts with a fairly broad range and ends with a specific figure based on assumptions we make around the factors discussed in each section below.

If you read each section you should be able to have a much firmer grasp on how much you could make as a real estate photographer in the US market. 

Getting Started

Undeniably, real estate photography is an excellent way to expand a flexible and profitable career.

Real estate photography salary is flexible
Real estate photography salary is flexible

Seasonal in nature, a real estate photography business can provide steady income year-round, but your larger profits are made in the busier summer home selling season.

As a real estate photographer, if you want to pick up a shoot here and there, done. Want to do an all-day luxury portfolio shoot or prefer to be in and out in an hour to make a quick buck? Very doable.

Real Estate Photography Salary Yearly

The short answer is that a full-time real estate photographer can expect to earn between $50,000 to $150,000 as a solo photographer, quite a bit more if you build a team over time.

Real Estate Photography Salary Yearly
Real Estate Photography Salary Yearly

To their business full-time, the average real estate photographer can reasonably expect to earn the following:

While there are many more factors to consider, such as the amount of investment required for gear and marketing, being a real estate photographer can be a very profitable business.

All things considered, having worked with thousands of photographers over 7 years with our team at Kolorheaven, here is what you need to know to calculate how much you can make as a real estate photographer.

Number of Houses You Can Expect to Shoot Each Day

Typically, your earning potential as a real estate photographer will chiefly depend on how many homes you shoot each day. While we’ve literally met photographers shooting 8-10 homes per day in the summer, this is frankly unrealistic for most photographers 

how to take real estate photos
Number of Houses You Can Expect to Shoot Each Day

Given that, the average full-time real estate photographer shoots between 2 to 4 houses per day at the height of the busy season (summer) and 1 to 2 houses per day in the slower winter season. Additionally, an average residential home shoot takes 60-90 minutes depending on the home size, though larger homes can take longer.

Increasingly add-ons are becoming the norm in real estate marketing, which can add more time to your shoot (and more profit). Examples of common add-ons include:

  • Video
  • Drones
  • Floor plans
  • Virtual tours

So, four shoots in a day will likely take you 6-8 hours with drive time, and this is before any photo editing and business sales or administration.

Expected Income Per House (4 Crucial Factors)

Next, we need to look at data on how much income you can earn per home you shoot. There are 4 big factors here: client type, location, offerings, and house size.

1. Client Types

When you are looking to estimate the earnings you need to determine what type of client you intend to service. There are four common client types broadly speaking in real estate photography:

Luxury

For true luxury properties, agents can spend tens of thousands on marketing, but this is 1% of the real estate photography. 

Architecture

Architects are generally one step below luxury. These are often portfolio shots for architect firms or home builders, who might complete 10-20 projects per year. Often, you can charge $500-1,000+ for these higher-end shoots. 

Additionally, the volume is small enough that architecture photography is limited unless you live in a big city or a luxury market like New York or Jackson Hole.

Commercial

Commercial photography is often viewed as an auxiliary or parallel path to residential real estate photography.

For one, commercial photography is primarily found in medium to large cities with spaces ranging from commercial buildings to photos of hotels or restaurants, to imagery for marketing agencies. 

Second, pricing is on par with Architecture photography and can be quite complex given the larger spaces. 

Real Estate Agents

Now, yes, the mainstay client of most real estate photographers. Given there are nearly three million real estate agents in the US alone and over five million homes sold each year, this is the target client for most real estate photographers. 

Depending on your location and offerings, most real estate photographers charge $150-200 per shoot as a base price. However, the price can be further adjusted based on the additional factors below.

2. Market Location

For starters, when it comes to income per home the location of your market matters. Two factors come into play: the cost of living and the population of your city. 

Cost of Living

And what we really mean is the median cost of homes in your area. Generally, the higher the cost of houses, the higher you can charge.

In recent years house prices have surged, with the median price over $400,000 nationally. If houses near you are selling above or below this amount on average, you may need to adjust your pricing up or down accordingly.

Population

Typically, the larger the city, the more scarce land is, and thus home prices are higher. A larger population generally means more upper-end homes, which typically demand professional photography and media when listed for sale. 

A good starting point is 250,000 in a metropolitan area. Surely, if in a bigger city, you may be able to charge slightly more. And the opposite goes for smaller cities or towns.

3. Home Size

While real estate photographers can debate which pricing model is the best, most photographers charge more for larger houses as measured by square footage.

In addition, it’s also good to know that in most markets the average home size will be between 1,500sf and 2,500sf.

4. Service Offerings

Probably the most under-appreciated way to build a profitable real estate photography business is being a media and marketing company, not just a photography company.

Some popular offerings that can assist in moving your price per shoot above your base price include:

  • Drones Photos & Video – almost a must these days 
  • Virtual Staging – an easy upsell with no additional equipment needed
  • Virtual Tours – Yes, these are back!
  • Home Walk-Through Videos
  • Digital Floor Plans
  • The Ultimate All-in-One

Average Income Per House

With all these factors taken into consideration, it’s safe to assume that the average real estate photographer can expect to earn around $200 per shoot. 

As you’ve seen above, depending on your client type, location, home size, and offerings, you may actually see this go as high as $300-500 per shoot or more.

Seasonality Can Affect Real Estate Photography Salary Monthly

The real estate photography industry is highly seasonal and follows the real estate market.

To give you a better idea, our historical data at Kolorheaven shows that on average across over 200 US markets the winter is about 60% slower than the summer. This isn’t strictly true everywhere. If you live in more southern latitudes, sales may only dip 10 or 20%, or even go up in the winter.

Seasonality Can Affect Real Estate Photography Salary Monthly
Seasonality Can Affect Real Estate Photography Salary Monthly

On the other hand, if you live in very warm locations, the business volume goes down in the summer. More specifically, there is a pronounced drop in order volume following US Thanksgiving at the end of November through the first two weeks of January.

From mid-January onward you can expect a nearly linear increase in business through the Spring, then accelerating sales in April through the peak, which is typically June or July. 

Often, there is a small dip in orders during August as families settle. The business then remains fairly steady for September and October.

Monthly Income of a Real Estate Photography

Now, that we’ve learned what factors can affect a real estate photographer’s earnings, we can make the following informed assumptions as a starting point to project monthly and annual income:

They are modest. However, not only are they reasonable, turns out they can still produce quite a respectable income. While just a model, it’s helpful to see a real estate photographer can earn $72,800 per year by shooting a very reasonable number of homes each day.

Real Estate Photography Salary Hourly

Do the quick math ($72,800 / 12 months / 20 days / 8 hours) and as a real estate photographer, you can make nearly $38 per hour on average. Increase your max busy season shoots to three shoots per day and your average income per home to $300 and your annual income would exceed $163,000.

In review

To sum up, in this post, Kolorheaven assumed that the major factors that affect how much real estate photographers can make each year are:

  • The Number of Homes Shot Each Day
  • The Average Price You Earn Per Shoot
  • Client Type
  • Market Location
  • Home Size
  • Service Offerings
  • The Seasonality of Summer vs. Winter

Besides, we also discovered it can be quite a profitable business with earnings in the $60-120K range within your first few years. And possibly more if you are disciplined in managing and promoting your real estate photography business.

Contact us if you want to have high-quality real estate photos to send to your customers.

Contact Info:

Kolorheaven

Kolorheaven

KOLORHEAVEN is a powerhouse in the realm of real estate photo editing, driven by an unwavering passion for perfection. Our services encompass Real Estate Photo Editing, Floor Plan design, Video Editing, and 3D Visualization, making them a comprehensive solution for all your creative needs.

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