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How to Get Paid for Photos of Homes

by Shala Munroe

The increasingly digital world has opened up new revenue sources for photographers, including taking interior and exterior photos of homes. Real estate marketing once was strictly on paper, which allowed a limited number of photos, either in newspaper ads, magazines or specialty booklets. Now, it's mostly online, allowing room for more photos. The increase in the number of websites and blogs also creates a need for a variety of inexpensive photos, including those of houses.

Equipment

Taking interior house photos seems like a simple process, but it's not as easy as clicking a button on a point-and-shoot camera. Walls and narrow doorways make it difficult, sometimes impossible, to photograph entire rooms without specialized equipment and the knowledge of how to use it. To present professional-quality photos of home interiors, you need a tripod and a digital SLR camera with a wide-angle lens, such as one that has a range between 12 and 35 millimeters. The wide-angle lens doesn't cut off the sides of the rooms like other lenses, although it sometimes creates distortion or a fish-eye effect around the edges. To avoid this, invest in a full-frame DSLR camera. These have larger sensors than standard DSLR cameras, allowing for a wider field of view without edge distortion. Studio lights with softboxes are helpful in some houses, although most houses have enough available light.

Portfolio

Creating a portfolio helps you market your work to potential clients. Ask friends and family if you can photograph their homes. Offer staging advice, such as adding or removing decorations or repositioning furniture to make rooms appear bigger. Taking before-and-after shots when you help stage the homes lets clients know you understand how to get the most out of every place you photograph. Develop a website portfolio to email to potential clients and print some of your work to make a hard-copy portfolio to carry with you to in-person meetings.

Real Estate Agents

Market your work to real estate agents. Show them how you capture a home's essence and flow as well as the way you showcase even small rooms. Offer to photograph a current listing for free -- the agent likely has existing photos, but comparing yours to the ones already taken might let her see not only the quality of your work but how professional images could help her market her listings. Discuss different payments options, such as a flat fee per house or a commission when the house sells.

Stock Photography

Several stock photography sites, such as Shutterstock and Fotolia, can sell your photos and pay you a small royalty when a customer buys one. These photos end up in places such as newsletters, brochures, websites or blogs. Customers need a variety of photo options, including photos of houses -- inside and out. To submit the photos, most sites require a property release from the owners stating they give you permission to sell photos of their homes. Although you don't make much off each photo -- sometimes as little as 25 cents -- some sales are more lucrative, and you can build a large stock photography portfolio and make money selling images in volume.

About the Author

Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.

Photo Credits

  • Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images