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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 01 Feb 2013 (Friday) 13:14
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AirBnB Photography - a short rant

 
cnhoffma
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Feb 01, 2013 13:14 |  #1

So I've been working for AirBnB since April of last year. Most of the time, it's great. You get photo requests through their website, you message the hosts, schedule the shoot and then shoot. Later, you edit and upload 10 or more pictures and click done. In about 2 weeks, you usually get a check for $50 plus a little for mileage.

However, over the past few months the requirements have changed. I have to give 12 minimum, instead of 10. I have to reply to requests in 24 hours instead of 48. And now I have to schedule the shoot with 4 days of the request (if you fail to do so, you lose the request) with a turnaround to upload in 4 days (no previous hardline requirement). The reviewers have become more stringent on the quality of the pictures. All this for... $50 plus a little for mileage.

I'm getting a little pissed off that they keep changing the rules while I get paid the same. Is there anyone else who is working for AirBnB that has found any success in getting a raise? Are there other companies that do this kinda of BS? I'd usually vent this on twitter but apparently they read my tweets.


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awad
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Feb 01, 2013 13:21 |  #2

i'm surprised you did all that work initially for $50...


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Curtis ­ N
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Feb 01, 2013 13:31 |  #3

$50 wouldn't be enough for me to load my gear into the truck. But everyone has their own perspective on that. What I would like to know is how much does the customer pay? How much does AirBnB make on the deal?


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cnhoffma
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Feb 01, 2013 13:33 |  #4

Curtis N wrote in post #15560757 (external link)
$50 wouldn't be enough for me to load my gear into the truck. But everyone has their own perspective on that. What I would like to know is how much does the customer pay? How much does AirBnB make on the deal?

Customer pays nothing. AirBnB gets a cut (~3%) of all their bookings. The idea is that my pictures get them more bookings. The increase in bookings eventually offset the $50+ overtime (by my rough calculation, probably within 6 months).

Per job, it's the lowest I've ever been paid, but I have a system where I can pull it off with about 3 hours of total work. I wish I could just drop them and tell them shove it, but I don't have any prospective work to replace it.


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Jimconnerphoto
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Feb 01, 2013 16:01 |  #5

Call it a blessing. Unless you were pulling additional work/clients it's too much of a headache for the pay.


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nathancarter
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Feb 01, 2013 16:13 |  #6

Ehhh, we had a video client pull something similar - essentially saying we could never re-use any stock footage that we had ever used on any other project with them. They wanted us to shoot new footage for every project.... didn't take long for us to realize it just wasn't profitable any more. Unfortunate, really.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Feb 02, 2013 02:46 as a reply to  @ post 15562472 |  #7

Don't bite me I am just listing the reasons...

Your problem is that you don't have other work because
1. You aren't good enough at photography to attract better clients,
2. You are good enough but aren't good enough at marketing so they don't know you exist,
3. There really is no market for better priced photography in your region.

The solutions are....
1. to take lessons/tutorials and get better, then tell these people to stuff their job,
2. Take lessons/study marketing so that you can properly sell yourself and attract better clients, or
3. Relocate.


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jmweb
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Feb 03, 2013 07:53 |  #8

AirBNB asked me about doing photography. Sadly, the rates were wayyy too low.

Then again, a local gal is shooting a week long festival for $800 :S


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JacobPhoto
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Feb 03, 2013 10:37 as a reply to  @ jmweb's post |  #9

Supply and demand.

If they have lots of photographers looking to work for them, they can afford to pay less and ask for more. If they are struggling to get their bookings shot, they will have to raise their prices.

If you don't like the deal, walk away from it. I'm sure some kid who has never made a single dollar in photography will be excited to start paying off his gear $50 at a time.

At one time, I was getting paid $50 cash for a regular 2-hour gig that required 150 images to be transmitted within 12 hours of the event ending. Now, I won't leave my house for less than $100 per hour and a 2 hour minimum (and even that is pushing it).


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cnhoffma
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Feb 06, 2013 09:39 |  #10

As much as I want to tell them to shove it. I don't have alternative work.

As to Dan Merchant's reason, I'm not sure where I fall. My primary money making comes weddings. I believe my work is great (despite my inner critic trying to convince me otherwise) and I do have good clients, I just need more them. But that's a whole other can of worms.

Perhaps I should attempt to find my own "real estate" photography gigs since I have over 50 of these individual jobs under my belt. Now where to start...


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Jimconnerphoto
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Feb 06, 2013 11:07 |  #11

Why not try working with architects and interior designers?


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Feb 06, 2013 11:18 as a reply to  @ Jimconnerphoto's post |  #12

I also work for AirBNB and yes, the pay is rather low (they do pay for mileage though) but on the upside, the "practice" you get shooting others homes becomes invaluable later down the road. You now have a portfolio of images you can show a prospective client that includes more than a couple of your friends homes...you get to work on your lighting, trying out different ideas (at least I do). So the client can see you know how to handle difficult lighting conditions.

I look at it that way, AirBNB is paying me to learn architectural photograpy. Since HDR is not acceptable (anymore), you either work with available light or learn to use off-camera flash..

And just an FYI, I have written to them about the new 4-day shooting schedule, which I explained is not workable in the fall/winter months when daylight is short and we are already working full time jobs, waiting to hear back from them..;)


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alintx
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Feb 06, 2013 11:51 |  #13

digirebelva wrote in post #15579243 (external link)
I also work for AirBNB and yes, the pay is rather low (they do pay for mileage though) but on the upside, the "practice" you get shooting others homes becomes invaluable later down the road. You now have a portfolio of images you can show a prospective client that includes more than a couple of your friends homes...you get to work on your lighting, trying out different ideas (at least I do). So the client can see you know how to handle difficult lighting conditions.

I look at it that way, AirBNB is paying me to learn architectural photograpy. Since HDR is not acceptable (anymore), you either work with available light or learn to use off-camera flash..

And just an FYI, I have written to them about the new 4-day shooting schedule, which I explained is not workable in the fall/winter months when daylight is short and we are already working full time jobs, waiting to hear back from them..;)

When I went to their site this was exactly my thought - practice opportunity!

For the OP - put the pics in a portfolio and shop for RE clients - the pay has to be better than $50 for 3 hours.


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mikeinctown
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Feb 06, 2013 14:21 |  #14

Start pitching to property management companies. These places need and use photos to attract clients, and in many cases, the leases they sign range from hundreds of thousands to million of dollars in value. Stop by construction for new office space and find out who is building and get in touch with their project manager and marketing department if possible. A company who can spend $10+ million on a new building will pay $ to have it properly photographed before they move in so that they can make their announcements and whatnot in style. Brochures will be printed, annual reports, etc..


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JacobPhoto
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Feb 06, 2013 16:43 |  #15

mikeinctown wrote in post #15579934 (external link)
Start pitching to property management companies. These places need and use photos to attract clients, and in many cases, the leases they sign range from hundreds of thousands to million of dollars in value. Stop by construction for new office space and find out who is building and get in touch with their project manager and marketing department if possible. A company who can spend $10+ million on a new building will pay $ to have it properly photographed before they move in so that they can make their announcements and whatnot in style. Brochures will be printed, annual reports, etc..

I would think that a commercial property management company is likely to spend money on a rendering that would show how the space could be used rather than getting 'good' shots of an empty space... but maybe that's just me


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AirBnB Photography - a short rant
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