For just about the past year now, I have been working in real estate and aerial photography. I mainly work with the agents directly and the most important thing for me to do is be able to establish a good relationship with each and every agent I work with. These agents are my clients and I want to be able to keep them as clients so they continue to come back to me for any photo, video, or aerial work they need to market their properties. Within this short little year I have been working, I've dealt with so much and learned more than I ever could have imagined.
When I look back at when I first started and look at myself now, I am a completely different person than I used to be in the sense of being able to sell my work and being able to deal with all of the demands each different client brings to the table in order to market their property in the best ways possible for them and the homeowner.
I am writing this article because in the past couple of months, I have been making my way into some higher end homes. I am proud of myself for being able to finally shoot this type of real estate but I realize this is not exactly the type of work I necessarily want to be doing because of the way some of my clients are.
Real Estate photography is all about good photos and quick turn around time. The photos and video are strictly to show the home to get a person there that is interested in buying it. The more marketing material you have as a realtor, whether it be photos, aerial photos, a complete video, or a 3D walkthrough, the more the perspective buyer is able to see that "future home" as home. For me as the photographer, my goal is to create content so compelling that you would be an idiot as a buyer to not want to actually get up and go and see the house. The hardest part on my end is being able to get all of this done in a short period of time while being able to please the realtor or client.
One of the biggest problems I run into is finding music for my videos that I assume the client would like. I usually ask them what they would prefer and if they do not end up liking the music in the finished version, I will ask them to find me a song of their choice to use. Aside from that, I have had a lot of trouble getting all the photos clients want, the solution to that is to make sure I shoot absolutely everything so that I do not have to go through the stress of driving all the way back to take another photo or two.
On top of those two problems, 80% of the time the client does not understand the amount of work I put into the videos I do for them and they think that somehow all 100 clips I shoot on my micro 4/3 camera and all 35 of my clips from my inspire are just automatically perfect and they all get color corrected, color graded, music, and edited by the press of a button. That's not how it works at all. I have to take the time to go through each and every clip, make sure it is stable, make sure the colors are right, make sure it is smooth and from there, I have to find the music, cut the video to the beat and organize the house in an order that makes sense to the viewer.
Getting back to why I get annoyed, just yesterday a realtor really got on my nerves by giving me the wrong address to a property she needed shot. When I called her and said that I could not find the house and asked if she gave me the correct address, she got mad at me and told me that she was with clients, then proceeded to hang up the phone. Luckily, I got in touch with the company I was working with and got the actual address of the house. Note, the house I was shooting was more than likely around eight million dollars, and I told her to let the home owner know that I would be there to shoot the house. When I got up and knocked on the door, the homeowner had no idea I was even coming and felt very uncomfortable and concerned with me being on her property even though I explained that I was working with the realtor to get new photos of the home and I wasn't just some random "photographer."
Before this incident, I had to go back and do a free reshoot for this realtor because she refused to pay for the photos due to the fact that they weren't "good" enough. After reshooting that property and getting photos that were a lot better, she had me come out to shoot another house at the same time she was having an open house without letting me know. The whole time I was shooting, there were people walking around the house and I needed the realtor to move things around or ask her if she wanted anything specific shot. Instead of acknowledging my presence and helping me out, she continued to ignore me and speak with the people coming to see the home.
I understand that is very important, but don't have an open house when you need photography done. If you want the photos done right then make sure you communicate with me so that I can do that for you because I can't read your mind. So yesterday before blowing up with her on the phone, I told myself to relax and deal with the situation because later on down the road, she may want bigger services for some of the larger homes she is selling. I just need to make sure that on my end, she is aware of the things I expect from her as the realtor so that everything runs smoothly and gets done right.
I have to say that I love what I do and I truly appreciate the realtors who appreciate the work that I do for them. Those are the clients I want, they are the clients I can offer higher services to and they are the clients that I can rely on. No matter how much stress I go through dealing with the things they need done, I know that in the long run it will pay off because they will always call me back to do more work for them when they need it. Getting angry or reacting to something the wrong way is likely to cause more harm than anything else. As young as I am and as new as I am to this work, I need to be mature and react to these tough situations in the right way in order to maintain a relationship with my clients. Everyday I learn something new and if I didn't go through all the stress of dealing with the clients I deal with, I wouldn't know how to grow myself/my business and get the work I want later down the road.