Is Real Estate Photography TOO EXPENSIVE?

Some people look at my rates and they think they are, well, high. And they are… for basic photography. I do not do basic photography, I bring a complete marketing package to the table for my Realtors. With our basic package, you not only get award-winning, magazine-quality images, but you get a full blown marketing kit to make you look like a star to your clients. You get a full, customized (and customizable) website. A Slideshow walk-through of the property. Drone at no extra. Images cropped for social media. Contact tracking. Plus more. If you want, we can add in all kinds of extras like full videos, 3D tours or twilight photography. Images that look good and make you look good…. starting to sound a little better now, isn’t it?

We work with many high-end Realtors in the local market. Not necessarily Realtors selling high-end homes…. but those that furnish high-end service to their clients. That is an important distinction it does not have to sell for a million to look like a million bucks.

Let’s look at it like this:

  • Some people drive a Cadillac, some drive a Chevy;
  • Some people eat filet at Ruths Chris, some are happy with a Big Mac;
  • Some people want exceptional photography, some are okay with an iPhone photo.
  • Any car will get you where you need to go;
  • Any food will fill you up;
  • Any working camera will make an image.


  • The QUALITY of the results differ.
  • The EXPERIENCE differs.
  • The VALUE to you and your business differs.

Expensive Frill vs. Value-Added?

When considering photography, there is no right or wrong, but it is important to assess what is important to YOU. There is certainly a market for low-cost, fast images in the local market. I do not service that niche, and I would be a poor choice for someone selling in that market. But for Realtors who provide higher service and expect quality in their marketing, we are the ideal choice.

It’s simply what’s important to you, and how and what you are marketing.

Is Vacation Rental Photography Too Expensive?

If you have done any comparisons, you may have noticed that our vacation rental photography is about 3x the rates we charge for MLS homes. And I bet you are wondering why. I am happy to address this for you.

Obviously, the MLS market is substantially different than the vacation rental market. The use of the images are far different, too. When we (or any professional photographer) takes images, we do not sell you the images, we license them you you for certain use and for a given allotment of time. MLS images are only licensed for use on the MLS, and for one year… so the licensing costs are less. For vacation rentals, you are looking for a much broader use case, and muck longer period of use…. thus a higher licensing fee.

Really, its all about three things- quality, service and value. Quality is a given- with three Best of State awards for our commercial photography, we have an unmatched eye for making your rentals look as good as they possibly can. Because we shoot AirBnB Luxe properties for AirBnB, we know what they want and what they look for… and what sells. Our level of service (regardless of MLS or Rentals) is second to none.

But the real way we earn repeat customers for our rental photography is thew added value we bring. You may be scratching your head thinking, “My gosh, they want $1200 to shoot my condo- how is that a value to me?” Professional quality images have been shown repeatedly to increase AirBnB rentals up to 40% per year (according to AirBnB’s own study). What does a 40% increase in bookings mean to you? If you typically rent one night a week, you can expect to add 20 more nights over the next year! If your nightly rental is $120, thats an extra $2400 per year in your pocket. Over the course of 3 to 5 years, thats an extremely good ROI and value to you.

Or you can hire someone less expensive, who does not have the experience and skills we do. You can save a lot of money short-term that way. But if you don’t see a reason to invest in your rental, who will?

Bottom Line

Real Estate Photography Is TOO EXPENSIVEAll images are NOT created equal. If your son is on the High School varsity basketball team, you can’t expect him to have LeBron James’ endorsement deals. A cook at Chili’s makes far less than a Michelin-starred chef. Why? It’s the quality, expertise and experience they bring to the table. Same thing in the photography world- you really do get what you pay for. And you are not going to get filet mignon on a McDonalds budget.

The bottom line: If something is really important to you, if it’s a priority, if you see the value in paying for premium service, you’ll pay extra to get that level of quality, service, and value. And that is what we offer, exceptional quality, service, and value. And at a reasonable rate for our level of quality. For people looking to impress and excel, our Real Estate Photography is well worth the value they receive from it.

If not, you won’t. No harm, no foul. As I said, not all homes need our level of quality and service, and I know perfectly well I am not the photographer for everyone. If you feel that pictures are a necessary evil that you have to upload to the MLS, iPhone images provide all the quality you need, then more power to you. There are many other photographers that fill that niche.