Does Realtor pay for Photography

Written By Jake Rodriguez

Pictures are one of the most impactful tools for marketing and advertising real estate. High-quality photos can set your property apart and attract more potential buyers. Discover how professional real estate photography can transform your listings and boost sales.

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Also Read: Is It Better to Buy From an Owner or a Realtor?

1. Who pays for Real Estate Photography?

Most sellers can expect their real estate agent to pay for listing photos. As part of an agent’s marketing strategy, real estate photos are essential to promoting a listing online. Without professional real estate images, a listing may sit on the market and go unnoticed by potential buyers. This is not a rule set in stone and can vary depending on the arrangement between the real estate agent and the homeowner. 

There are a few exceptions:

  • If you’re doing a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) listing, you’d be responsible for the photography costs.
  • In some situations, the seller and agent may agree to split the cost.

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Read More: What Not to Tell Realtor When Buying

2. Types of professional real estate photography

However, real estate photography pricing depends on the type of photography and company. Listings with professional photography sell 32% faster. Homes marketed with aerial images sell 68% faster than houses with standard photos alone. House listings that include virtual tours spend up to 31% less time on the market.

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2.1 Real estate drone photography:

Real estate drone photography, particularly aerial images, significantly enhances property listings, potentially accelerating sales by 68% compared to standard photos alone. This specialized photography type captures properties from unique perspectives, highlighting features like landscape, proximity to amenities, and property size. 

Costs for drone real estate photography vary by state. Below is a summarized table:

StateCost Range
New York$100-$200

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2.2 3D virtual tours:

A 3D virtual tour offers potential buyers an immersive home exploration from their computers, enhancing engagement. Matterport and Zillow dominate this market, providing comprehensive virtual tour solutions. Matterport uses specialized cameras to capture spaces in 3D, while Zillow offers tools for creating interactive floor plans and virtual staging, enriching the viewing experience.

Does realtor pay for Photography

Virtual staging uses digital tools to furnish and decorate properties, enhancing appeal and helping buyers visualize living spaces. Real estate videos are particularly effective for luxury properties, showcasing amenities that resonate with targeted buyer demographics.

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Also Read: Do We Need Real Estate Agents?

3. The Role of the Real Estate Agent

The role of a real estate agent includes ensuring that professional-quality photography is provided for home listings. This service is typically covered by the listing agent as part of their marketing strategy to attract potential buyers and present properties in the best possible light.

4. Reasons Real Estate Agents Use Professional Photography

If you ask a successful real estate agent for advice on how to sell a listing, they will all tell you the same things: have a marketing plan, share with your network, and use professional photography. Professional photography is not just a trend; it’s a necessity in today’s competitive real estate market. Here are four compelling reasons why real estate agents prioritize professional photography:

4.1 To capture attention online:

Captivating photos are crucial for grabbing attention online. In an era where 51% of buyers find their homes on the internet (2022 NAR Home Buyers and Sellers study), eye-catching visuals are the first impression that can make or break a buyer’s interest.

4.2 To sell their listings faster and for more money:

Listings with professional photography tend to sell faster and at higher prices. High-quality images showcase a property’s best features, enticing buyers and creating a sense of urgency that can lead to quicker sales and potentially higher offers.

4.3 To win more listings:

Using professional photography helps agents win more listings. Sellers want to partner with agents who demonstrate a commitment to marketing their home effectively. Stunning visuals not only attract buyers but also reassure sellers that their property will be marketed professionally.

4.4 To build a strong real estate brand:

Professional photography contributes to building a strong real estate brand. Consistently high-quality images across listings establish an agent’s reputation for excellence and attention to detail, enhancing credibility and attracting more clients.

Does realtor pay for Photography

According to our 2023 Real Estate Marketing Trends survey, over 95% of real estate agents have embraced professional photography as a standard practice to effectively market their listings. In conclusion, in a digital age where visual content drives buyer decisions, leveraging professional photography is not just beneficial—it’s essential for success in the real estate industry.

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Read More: What to Ask a Realtor When Selling? – Top 35 Questions

5. How much Realtor pay for real estate photography in the USA

The average cost for real estate photography in the US typically ranges between $150 and $300 per shoot. For more comprehensive packages that include photos, aerial shots, and virtual tours, the cost ranges from $200 to $500. Real estate agents often cover these expenses upfront and recoup them from the seller’s commission once the property is sold, as nearly 99% of agents include photography as part of their marketing strategy ( These costs reflect the investment agents make to professionally present properties and attract potential buyers in a competitive market.

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Does realtor pay for Photography

5.1 Here is a table of average real estate photography prices by city:

CityAverage Price
Los Angeles$318
New York$285
National Average$230
Source: How Much Does Real Estate Photography Cost? (2024) (

Does realtor pay for Photography
Does realtor pay for Photography

6. Case Study of Actual Real Estate Photography in PHILADELPHIA

In 2020, a real estate photoshoot in Philadelphia typically cost around $425 for a two-hour session, reflecting the city’s pricing which averages 3% below the national average in the United States. For shorter sessions, a one-hour shoot averaged $266, while a more extensive four-hour session was priced at approximately $745. These rates illustrate the investment required for professional real estate photography in Philadelphia, essential for showcasing properties effectively in a competitive market. Realtors and sellers benefit from these services to attract potential buyers with high-quality visual presentations of their properties’ best features.

Shoot durationTypical market cost in Philadelphia, PASnappr cost – value packageSnappr cost – premium package
1 hour photoshoot$266$89$149
2 hour photoshoot425$149$249
3 hour photoshoot$585$209$349

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Also Read: Decoding Titles: Real Estate Agent vs Broker vs Realtor

7. Conclusion

When listing a house, first impressions are crucial. High-quality, professional photos significantly enhance a listing’s attractiveness and visibility. Agents who invest in professional photography elevate a property’s appeal, potentially increasing its selling price and expediting the sale process. Despite the upfront cost, skilled photographers often contribute to faster and more lucrative transactions. Therefore, for top-tier listings and satisfied clients, professional photography is a vital investment that agents willingly pay for themselves. This proactive approach not only showcases properties in the best light but also underscores an agent’s commitment to delivering exceptional service and results in the competitive real estate market.

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8. FAQ’S:

8.1. Who Owns the Photos from a Real Estate Listing?

Typically, the photographer retains the copyright to photos taken. They grant a license to the real estate agent or agency for marketing purposes, as detailed in their contract.

8.2. Do Photographers Own the Rights to Your Photos?

Yes, photographers automatically own the copyright to their photos, including the rights to use, distribute, and reproduce them. Clients receive specific rights through a license unless otherwise agreed.

8.3. Do Real Estate Agents Own Rights to Photos?

No, agents do not automatically own photo rights even if they pay for the service. They usually obtain a usage license from the photographer for listing and marketing purposes, as defined in a contract.

8.4. Do Real Estate Photographers Edit Photos?

Yes, most offer editing services such as enhancing lighting, adjusting colors, and removing unwanted elements. Some may also provide virtual staging to enhance property appeal.

8.5. Do Houses Sell for More if they use Professional Photos?

Yes, homes marketed with professional photos typically sell for higher prices. Professional imagery attracts more buyers and enhances the overall perception and value of the property.

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