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  • Writer's pictureTim Leviston

You Don't Need All That

For Photographers: Don't let influencers FOMO you into going overboard.

In the world of real estate photography, the pursuit of success can sometimes feel overwhelming. With an abundance of advice from YouTube, Tiktok and other sources, it's easy to believe that expensive equipment, elaborate marketing schemes, and countless hours of advice from influencers are necessary to excel in this art and business.

However, I'm here to dispel those myths and offer a more humane perspective. As a real estate photographer, you don't need to indulge in time-consuming and costly practices to thrive in this industry. In short, you need to be professional, optimize your skill and style, and communicate.

Be Professional

I spent 15 years in the United States Air Force and 9 years in the Army. Out of the many things both services taught me, the one they both share was the need to be professional. Being a professional is more than just shaking hands and not being inappropriate. It's looking the part and incorporating simple practices like good hygiene, promptness, and kindness. These three things go a long way, and the Army simplifies it to soldiers by constantly saying, "Be at the right place, at the right time, in the right uniform." Also, markets like Houston flourish with diversity, so hold the politics for another occasion. However, I believe we need to talk more as Americans, but the agent and owners may be on the clock, just like you.

Optimize Your Skills and Style

As a real estate photographer, you must know what you are doing, especially in a large market like Houston, where reshoots can cost you money and more importantly, time. Forgetting to include an amenity can cause you to have to go back across town and in Houston, that may equate to 2.5 hours lost. Additionally, you may have a gear malfunction and need to troubleshoot immediately so know your equipment and practice. I remember someone once asked me to shoot an event for the mayor of Houston, and it was when the one of the first Sony mirrorless cameras came out. The photographer who was hired as the main photographer, bought the camera just weeks before the event, and when he was supposed to take the first photo of the mayor giving an award, his camera jammed. I was there with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and got the shot for him, but because he did not know the camera, I continued to get call backs from the company who arranged the event while he didn't.

Develop and Know your Style

If you don't know your style, clients won't either. Instead of trying to mimic popular trends or imitate other photographers, find your own artistic voice. Experiment with different lighting techniques, perspectives, and compositions to create a signature look that sets you apart. Clients are often drawn to photographers with a distinctive style that aligns with their brand and vision. Don't listen to the many "experts" on social media who say it has to be "this way," or "like this," because the ignorant of the 21 won't be people who can't read or write. Rather, it will be people who can't learn or unlearn. After all, they called you to the job, so deliver what they came for. Your unique style!


Of all the skills and things influencers talk about; I find it ironic that communication is the one rarely mentioned. There are over 27,000 agents in Houston, and they don’t have time to waste in the vast and competitive market. This makes communication vital and reading the room essential. What do I mean by reading the room? I mean, realizing that the agent has a sense of urgency. They do their best to be professional, but we must be sensitive when they have made promises to their clients and get the job done! It’s having the ability to discern when they need something and ask what their needs are and delivering if possible. They have their clients, but please remember that the agents are our clients.


In the realm of real estate photography, success does not depend on following every costly suggestion offered by influencers. By focusing on professionalism, developing a distinctive style, and effectively communicating, you can thrive in this industry without losing who you are and your cash. Remember, it's your expertise, dedication, and passion for capturing stunning images that truly matter. So, step away from the pressure to conform and embark on a journey of success on your own terms.

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