Almost without fail we get an email or phone call with the potential client asking “What do you charge per hour?” – it seems it is the industry standard.
We have been asked these questions for so long, and in so many different ways that we decided to expand upon our Photography Pricing page, and now include this huge list of answers to questions; which truly is its own FAQ of sorts, another page and project that needs some more attention. So, let’s begin.
Prices for Real Estate Photography
There is no real way of saying that “this service” is worth “that”. In a perfect world we would have a nice market economy with a mix of skills, and perfect competition would bring prices down to a reasonable amount for all involved. Enough for a photographer to live, work well, feed his family, have a pension, but not so much that it is over the top and prices their business out the market. We are not Norway, nor China – we are South Africa and somewhere in the middle – and thankfully, I think the industry is quite healthy in terms of price. A few things I choose to remember that help me are: On one end of the spectrum, a bricklayer or street sweeper often earns R150-R250 a day, if that. A concert pianist or creative specialist can earn R30,000 a day (or much more depending) but they take years to hone their craft, and don’t get paid to practice.
A photographer is somewhere in the middle – not many of them are totally creative types who make a fortune on fancy advertising shoots; a lot of them work day in and day out to earn enough to get by. We want to strike a healthy balance by having time to improve our editing skills, do workshops, take creative trips, take holidays(!), and generally make sure our creative juices are still flowing but… still do enough hours and work that we are value for money. And that is where the main thing comes in: Are the photos you want taken going to add more value than they cost? If the answer is yes, then it is worthwhile paying for it.
Professional Real Estate Photographers
We are a team of professional real estate photographers who all are experts in their own right, and operate individually. Photographers are like sailors or pirates, cowboys or cheetahs – we are best left to run all our affairs alone. Baithe Photography is aware of that but different in that it markets these specialised photographers as real estate photographers. You get all types of photographers but we are mostly interested in focusing solely on the property market.
It is a booming industry and there is a huge need for the skills across South Africa. Previously we offered Floor Plans, Drone Footage, and other things (and we will one day again) but for now we really want to do the photography perfectly first. Video Walkthroughs are next in line (they are such good summaries of a place), and perhaps the “dollhouse effect” imaging software down the line, too. We will likely never do 360 degree shots (they always look awful and strange somehow) but as the industry changes we want to be at the forefront, while not compromising on quality.
How much is a Photographer ‘per hour’
It depends on the photographer. Some guys are living in Jo’burg, another in Durban, one in Port Elizabeth, and three of us are based in Cape Town. They all have different living costs, and the markets are not as competitive in Port Elizabeth as say, Jo’burg. Added to that, a junior photographer with one year of experience shouldn’t earn as much as another with ten. And though everyone must be a pro and be able to match certain standards, it is totally fair to pay a better, faster photographer more as they will deliver quality product much faster.
Hotel Photography Pricing
The pricing spectrum for hotel photography is tricky as it is normally enormously expensive, yet really affordable considering you can recoup that marketing expense with enough bed nights. If we charge per hour, it can seem a tad expensive, so what is the industry norm is to charge a day rate and then guess the number of days. Day rates change per photographer but a hotel I quoted on three weeks back wanted about 12 rooms, bathrooms, the restaurant, parking, swimming pool, and a myriad of other random rooms shot and I quoted three days work. It will depend on your hotel and what you are wanting to show case.
- Is every room different, and do they then all need to be shot?
- Do you really need 15 photos of each room?
- Could you use the excess photos on your social media, and perhaps news/blog entries on your own website?
There is lots to consider….
How much do Real Estate Photographers charge?
We charge either day rates or an hourly rate. Added to that we include a travel charge, and accommodation in the unlikely event you cannot host us. Generally in this industry you stay with your client for the big jobs that involve travel. Free food is a nice bonus, as you don’t want your photographer disappearing into town for a sandwich half way through the day. I update our rates once or twice a year – it is at each photographers discretion – but normally stick to our hourly rates. When a project gets as big as a hotel or giant lodge then there are so many details to ask anyway, it’s pointless to pin us down to a “ballpark figure”.
How much does a photographer cost per hour?
They vary but our photographers go for about R500/hour to R1,250/hour though we average at about R850/hour. This makes it easier for everyone involved and the fact that we get so much traffic to the website and therefore business means we can afford to keep the rate that low. Some photographers we’ve chatted with are charging R2,000/hour and I am sure some even more than that. They may be good, they may be the best, but that is not our target market – not yet!
We hope to provide really high quality images that will last ten years (or longer!) for the upper/high-end establishments. However, for those 5-star hotels, we are not sure we have what it takes to make them perfectly happy. Our experience has taught us that those clients are often never happy and you can never satisfy them – unless you maybe hire models, a lighting team, bring in props, and decor, and spend days getting that “perfect shot”. This isn’t really viable as a business unless you are hoping to feature on Conde Nast Traveller and rent your rooms out for $3,000/night.
Real Estate Photography Rates per hour in South Africa
The “per hour” photography rates will differ within South Africa, and worldwide. Every industry is different and will depend on a multitude of factors. As we focus chiefly on real estate, it makes things a little easier.
How much do we charge for interior photography?
Interior photography is basically property photography and/or real estate photography so it is the same as above. What you may mean is “What does it cost to be styled?” to which I say “the same hourly rate as above” because taking photos or arranging a living room are much the same. They take skill, time, and effort – and if not doing the styling we could be taking photographs elsewhere, which, out of interest, is why we charge you for driving to you and back – it’s valuable time spent.
Photography Prices in South Africa and/or hourly rates in general
Photography prices in South Africa are all over the place. It is a saturated market, yet there are often photographers who drop off the market to pursue others things. It is rare to hear of someone taking photos their whole life, even amateur hobbyists – we all need a creative outlet, and we often need to change things up a bit. Sure you may take photos for 20 years, but you will likely change your subject. I’ve done product, events, travel, properties, two weddings, portraits, and likely will move into other things in years to come. It is rewarding in that aspect: to use the skills you learnt in your previous genre in the next. The magic comes when the two skills “merge” and you create something unique.
We hope that answers the many, many queries we have received with the above questions, and those that relate to it. Please feel free to mail through any more at any time. We are here to help and serve this country in the hope that it helps the entire nation go forward, and make this place better for all.