Make Extra Money Taking Real Estate Photos

We recently closed on the sale of our home. Selling a home is a tricky process.  So many factors go into presenting your home to prospective buyers: Price, listings, open houses, dressing your home, getting the best real estate brokers, where the market is…I can go on!  One aspect you can control is how your place is presented to buyers.  One thing we noticed is many people don’t have good pictures of their homes online in their listings.  I’m talking bad picture angles, terrible lighting, pictures of clutter, old dates showing on the pictures, blurry shots, you name it.  And why?  Many don’t understand the importance of dressing their home for sale and putting their best image out their to attract buyers.

Enter taking real estate photos!

If you have a good eye with a camera and understand what makes a good home-selling photo you can sell your services to people and real estate brokers selling homes. What equipment is necessary?  If you already own a DSLR camera and a good lens then you probably have most of what you need.

Let me tell you our situation. We hired a real estate broker to sell our home.  They said they needed some pictures to put on the multiple listings site for people to see.  Their plan was to stop by one day and take some photos.  I was a little suspicious of the photos they were going to take.  I already had my own DSLR and had an idea of what might work.  I told them to stop by to hear out their ideas and see what they would do.  Lo and behold, they come by with a dinky little point and shoot camera and they planned to snap a few quick shots and upload them.  Not for us!  I said I would take the pictures.  With them watching I went room to room taking various photos with my camera.  Now if you are a really good photographer then maybe a point and shoot camera would do but let me tell you my photos were exponentially better then what the realtors started to use.  And did our listing look good!  Compared to other homes like ours our place looks incredible.  And I’m no pro photographer!  I just had a good camera and had an idea of how to make our place look good.  This easily helped to get people to come see our place.  We were told time and again how clean our home looked and that was reflected in the photos.

What is a service like this worth? What could you charge to help people get their home sold?  Maybe $25 for a set of pictures on a disk?  Perhaps $50?  If it helps sell a home isn’t that amount more than worth it?  In all it took maybe an hour to take my photos and put them on a disk to give to the realtors to upload.

Here’s how you could find customers for your service – Look online for some listings that look like they could have better photos.  Contact the realtors and propose taking new photos for their listing.  Sell them on the fact that a bad online photo can make a person move on to the next listing.  For the first time you could even offer your service for free.  If it works there’s a good chance they will come back for the next listing they have.  This time you can charge them a reasonable fee for their time.  Get the word out to other realtors and speak with friends and family who may be putting their homes on the market.  You can quickly build up a nice word-of-mouth customer base!

Things to do for better photos:

Look online and see what already works out there and what doesn’t.  Really, you will be amazed at the bad pictures that are out there.  Figure out how you could improve these photos.

Clutter.  Get rid of as much clutter as possible!  Even if it’s only for the photo make your pictures show the home and not the personal items the owners have accumulated.

Get the best light you can.  When I took my photos I timed it for the afternoon when the sun would be coming through the windows, lighting up the rooms.  People love clean, airy rooms with natural light coming through!

Watch TV.  There are so many home improvement and home selling shows out there.  See what works.  Also check out magazines as well.  Notice how it’s the house that is put forward and not the people who own the home.  When a person comes to look at a home they want to imagine themselves living in it rather then see the owners living in it.  That means no personal effects like family photos.

Format.  Make sure your photos will be in the best format for the listing site.  Some sites cut off certain sizes or can only hold a certain amount of memory.  You want your photos to upload easily and fit the parameters of the site.

You need a good camera for this.  That can be a huge expense.  I don’t suggest you go out and buy an expensive DSLR and start up a photo business.  But if you already own one and you have a good eye then I think you can make some relatively easy money taking real estate photos!
photo credit: woodleywonderworks

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Published or updated May 9, 2013.


  1. What a great idea! One of the best things you can do is to look at your talents and hobbies, and see if it’s something that others would pay for. Providing a service like photography is a good one.
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..3 Ways to Plug Costly Energy Leaks Before Winter =-.

  2. VERY COOL idea. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

    I’m always looking for ideas to earn extra income (pizza delivery). I live in the Detroit area and this could be a great way help people sell their homes. Homes are selling here very slowly, so any advantage can make the difference for people here. I love taking pictures (I have young kids) and I have some good gear. What a cool idea 🙂

    • Wen the housing market is bad you need every advantage you can get. Having a better photo then the next guy can be what gets that buyer in your door!

  3. Good idea I never thought of that. Something simple and easy and there is plenty of information out there to get started. Also not expensive to get started either.

  4. My wife is always looking at MLS – and some of the pictures on there are GROSS. They are taken with what looks like a disposable camera with beds not made, dishes in the sick and just crap everywhere!
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Is the IRS Getting Smarter or is The IRS Attacking the Wealthy Yet Again? =-.

    • Exactly! Some people don’t get it. I’ve seen so many bad photos out there. I wouldn’t want to buy a home from someone that had cluttered photos. Who knows how they treat the house, right? Appearances matter.

  5. Great post and great idea!

    Thankfully our realtor had a clue and knew what he was doing when it came to marketing our home, but it never ceases to amaze me at what some realtors will post – and not just in the MLS!

    Rooms that look like closets because they’re nothing but clutter, unmade beds in bedrooms.. it’s crazy. The bar is definitely set low in some parts of the market for real estate photographers.
    .-= Joe´s last blog ..0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards Offers Finally Coming to an End? =-.

  6. M Sherwood says:

    Pictures say a thousand words. I don’t know how real estate agents have become so lazy when it comes to the most important thing when selling a home-pictures, especially in today’s economy. It’s a simple, and inexpensive way of show casing your home. Hopefully, we all will start to see more appropriate photos on Realtors websites.
    .-= M Sherwood´s last blog ..Realtor Sherwood =-.

  7. Lauren Wohlwend says:

    That is a wonderful idea, and you might be able to submit it to other sites and make more money off the pictures. People are always looking for good photos.

  8. What size lens do you recommend?

  9. heather tascher says:

    I am looking for this as we are selling a home in las vegas . How do i find someone to take pics for me?

    • Glen Craig says:

      Ask friends and family if they know anyone who is good with a camera. Check listings near you and see if you can find out who took the pictures for listings you like. Ask around the local art school and see fi they have any students that might be interested.

  10. Great post I found out about this ideas years ago but don’t know how to get the jobs, I have the gear to do pictures and videos (video is also a great selling point, small one to five minute video). I have a dslr with more than one lense, I have light kit, camera rig, tripod, field monitor, mic(s), plus many more accessories but I don’t know where to find works. anyone who can help please send me a link or an email to

  11. I agree that a picture says what an entire paragraph cannot. We live in a visual age where people use first impressions for everything from choosing a date, to decorating a home. Don’t believe me? Look up Tinder, Pinterest, Instagram,etc. What do they have in common? PHOTOS. I agree wholeheartedly with this article EXCEPT for the prices you listed. If you aren’t a professional stay out of the market. It takes YEARS of education clients of the differences between a “fauxtographer” and a professional. Telling people to charge $25 or $50 is insanity. Do it for free, sure, but under charging not only makes you look cheap but also devalues the entire industry. Before setting a price think about what you NEED. You know how many sessions it takes to just BREAK EVEN on a $500 camera at $25 each? Too many. (And a $500 camera is cheap, by the way). That doesn’t even take into account editing time, shooting time, driving time, insurance (and if you are shooting without insurance you are BEGGING for trouble). Please chase your dreams, but please educate yourself on the true personal and professional costs of starting a business before you even think about charging a penny.

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