Should I Hire a Real Estate Photographer?

If you’ve decided to sell your land yourself, you’ll find that most ways to market your land for sale require photographs, so getting photos should be one of the first things you do to sell your land. 

But you may not know if a professional photographer is in your budget, what services you should ask for, or where you would find one to hire.

In this guide:

Why hire a real estate photographer?

With widespread smartphone ownership, many people carry powerful cameras in their pockets wherever they go, so it can be tempting to take photos of your land yourself.

The reality is that the right professional real estate photographer can do a much better job and that professional photos are one of the best investments you can make in selling your property. This is especially true for photographing land because the aerial shots that often best showcase land require special drone equipment and experience that most people don’t have.

Here are the main reasons why:

  • Get a better price
  • Sell faster
  • Save time

Bottom line - we recommend hiring a professional photographer even if you plan to do every other step in selling your land yourself. 

Sell your land faster and for more money

A 2013 study by Redfin found that “homes professionally photographed…sold quicker and for thousands of dollars more than homes shot with amateur photos.” While there may not be a similar study yet for land, our experience on the ground confirms this to be true. 

Simply put, land listings with great photos will create more interest from buyers and give you the best chance of selling your land, for the best price, in the least amount of time.

Saves you time

The final consideration with this decision is that it will save you time. If you’ve committed to selling your land yourself, you’re going to spend a lot of time on other tasks including marketing the property for sale and talking with buyers on your way to completing the sale. 

Hiring a professional real estate photographer takes one thing off your plate and also makes it easier to sell the property because you’ll be starting with high-quality photos.

How can I find a real estate photographer near me?

One way to find a land photographer is a simple Google search for “drone photography”. Most drone photographers offer real estate services and many have websites where you can view their portfolio and in some cases order photography services directly.

There are also several websites like this one from Thumbtack that provide lists of real estate photographers in your area. Thumbtack’s resource is great for land because it includes options to search for drone photography and ‘real estate sale photos’ specifically, along with your preferred budget.

What photography services to order

For most land listings, you will want a combination of drone aerial imagery and ground-level camera imagery. Drone imagery is great for land because it can show your entire property and it’s boundaries in one shot, and showcase the best features of the surrounding area such as lakes, mountains, forest, etc.

aerial photography with property boundaries
Tip: Make sure your photographer can add the property lines to your aerial imagery. This is a big time saver if they take care of this for you.

Use drone imagery to:

  • Show entire property with boundaries in one image
  • Highlight features of surrounding area

Ground-level camera photos are also often needed to show aspects of the land that may be obscured with aerial imagery such as the access to the property or any land improvements. 

How long will it take to get my photos?

Typically, it will take a few days or longer to schedule your photographer to take pictures of your land, but once they’ve taken the photographs it usually only takes 1 -2 business days of processing before you’ll have the final images.

How much does real estate photography cost?

If you’re selling land yourself, minimizing costs may be a major consideration. Fortunately, professional photography can be very cost-effective, especially when considering the benefits compared to taking your own photos.

The cost of land photography varies based on region, the size of the land, and what services are ordered, but the typical cost is $125-250

Do realtors pay for real estate photographers?

Yes, oftentimes real estate agents will pay for photography for your land because they know how important it is for creating a quality land listing and getting the land sold. If you’re listing your land with a realtor, you can ask them if they include photography as part of their listing service. You can also ask to see past examples they’re provided to clients to make sure the photos meet your standards.

Land photography on a budget

On a tight budget? We’ve been able to hire local photographers for as little as $50 on Craigslist. At that price, you will likely only get ground-level photography, not the aerial drone imagery we recommend. It will also take more time and effort to find and coordinate with your amateur photographer. Still, it’s a good option if you have a limited budget or live in a remote area that’s not served by professional photography services.

To find a photographer this way, post an ad on Craigslist under ‘gigs’, then ‘creative gigs.’ You can title the listing something like ‘Land photographer needed’ along with your location. You will have to pay a fee of a few dollars to place an ad in this category on Craigslist.

In your listing, be sure to list the price you’re offering.  You don’t need to provide an exact address yet, but you should provide enough detail for the photographer to know how long their drive time will be, otherwise they may not respond to your ad. 

Tip: Make sure the photographer actually takes photos of your land by having them take a screenshot of their location in Google Maps on their phone when they arrive.
screenshot of location in google maps

Conclusion

Most ways of selling land will require photos to get started. The quality of the photos of your land listings are also a major factor in standing out from other listings. Fortunately, it’s very easy to find a professional drone photographer and hiring one will be one of the best investments you can make in preparing to sell your land.