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10 Questions to Ask a Real Estate Photographer

When hiring a professional real estate photographer, it is important to understand what you are getting in terms of deliverables, turn-around time, and customer service.

Discussing these with your potential real estate photographer, in addition to the terms and conditions related to their services will help avoid any future issues and will assist in securing a long-term partnership in which you both derive great value.

The following is not an exhaustive list but does include some of the most important questions to ask.

1.0 What is the Turn-around time for your real estate photography services?

Most real estate photographers will return photographs the next morning, or at least within 24 hours from the time of the photo-shoot.

Other services may take a bit longer to deliver due to the time involved in post-processing. Examples of these services include real estate video, floor plans and virtual staging.

You should have realistic expectations for turn-around times, as demanding same-day delivery for every order, puts undue pressure on the photographer (if this is something they don’t offer) and is not necessary if you schedule your listing’s photo-shoots ahead of time.

2.0 What real estate photography and marketing services do you offer?

Find out if the real estate photographer provides the services that you need for your real estate listing and property marketing campaign. Real estate photographers may offer one or more of the following services.

  • Daytime and Twilight Real Estate Photography
  • Real Estate Video
  • Aerial Photography
  • Floor Plans
  • Lifestyle Photography
  • Virtual Staging
  • Virtual Tours / Matterport Tours
  • Real Estate Copywriting

If they don’t currently offer one of the services you require, they may be highly motivated to provide this service, but did not previously have demand for this service. This could be an opportunity to help the photographer grow their photography business and they will most likely hold you in high regard throughout the life of your business relationship.

3.0 What are the Deliverables?

It is important to understand what you are going to receive for you (or your vendor’s) money. You may only need to utilise 8-10 real estate photos per listing or maybe you prefer to receive 50+ real estate photos when you have a property photographed.

It is best to discuss this with the photographer, so you don’t feel like they under-delivered, and the property photographer doesn’t think you’re asking for too much.

4.0 How do I make bookings?

Real Estate Photographers may offer a variety of booking methods, such as phone, email, text or using an online booking system through their website or application.

They want to make it as easy as possible for you to make a booking, so if they don’t offer your preferred method and you want to work with them, just simply recommend your preferred method and they will most likely be happy to accommodate.

5.0 What packages do you offer?

Utilising a real estate photography package is a ‘win’ for both parties, as you get more bang for your buck and the property photographer will be excited to provide you with added value.

6.0 What are your preferred access arrangements onsite (at the property)?

You should discuss with the photographer how you normally provide access to the properties when it comes time to complete the photo-shoot for your listing.

  • Do you expect them to collect the keys from your office?
  • Do you like to meet the photographer at the property?
  • Do you send your assistant to meet the photographer at the property?
  • Do you prefer the homeowner (or tenant) to let the photographer in on the day of the shoot?
  • All of the above?

Some real estate photographers may charge extra to collect keys or prefer the agent to meet them onsite for the photo-shoot. It is a good idea to discuss how you prefer to operate when it comes to providing access to the properties you are going to sell/rent.

7.0 Are you covered by Insurance?

All real estate photographers should have (at a minimum) public liability insurance. Ensure that the photographer has the appropriate insurance policy that meets the requirements of your agency’s contractor agreement documentation. For example, your agency may require all contractors (including photographers) to have public liability insurance covering up to $10 million in damages.

8.0 Can I see your portfolio?

Requesting a link to the real estate photographer’s portfolio (usually their website or Instagram account) will give you an idea of whether the quality of their work matches your expectations and is in line with their pricing.

9.0 What are the terms and conditions of your service?

When it comes to the terms and conditions applicable to the photographer’s business you may like to discuss what happens if you need to re-use the visuals in a second campaign (i.e. by new agency, or selling or renting the property in the future).

A professional real estate photographer should charge a re-licencing fee to use the visuals in a new campaign, but the amount charged is up to them (or may be negotiable).

It’s also important to discuss the terms of payment for the photographer’s services as you may only be able to pay once the property has been leased, or only be able to pay monthly, bi-monthly etc. Ensuring that both parties understand the terms of payment will reduce the risk of any misunderstandings, late payments or arguments in the future.

  10.0 What are your real estate photography prices?

You may like to ask this question first or last, but at some stage before booking a real estate photographer you will need to ask about their pricing structure.

Ensure that the photographer’s service pricing is within you (or your clients’) budgets for your typical property marketing campaign.

If you really like the real estate photographer you have been talking to, you may even stretch the budget a bit further (or shuffle around the priority of the items in your marketing budget) if you think that what you are getting in terms of deliverables, quality and customer service, and added value is worth the price.

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