February 4th, 2008


What a way to make a living

I've been looking at photograpy jobs.

Being a strange sort of business I don't find very restricted listings. I could apply for a GS job, as an employee of the FBI, doing crime scenes in New Orleans. Requires a TS/SCI clearance, and a willingness to move; one gets 12 months, and then they can move you at will.


A German agency want's papparazzi in LA. They pay 50/50, when they sell the pictures.

The AF has an open listing for photographers; they don't say there are openings, but if they need one, at some AFB, you can have your name in the hopper.

Lots of ads for Photo/Sales, which means hustling for School Photos, Soccer Teams, etc., and then doing the work. You have to pay a slice to the company which offers the reputation.

That wasn't the really good one.

No, that was the following.

Our photographers shoot high-quality real estate virtual tours, composed of both still photos and 360 degree panoramics. All orders, scheduling, and billing are coordinated through our main office, and photographers need only to go take the photos and upload them to our server. Each tour typically takes 30-45 minutes to shoot, and we usually shoot 5-7 tours per day during the peak season. We work Monday – Friday, typically between 9am and 4pm. Scheduling is flexible, and photographers are able to schedule their availability as needed.

We’re currently looking for a photographer to cover the South Bay and Peninsula areas, between Burlingame and Santa Clara. The bulk of the tours will be in this area, although we may ask you to travel a little further on occasion.

We’re ramping up our marketing efforts in the South Bay and Peninsula, and expect the workload to be 5-7 tours/week by February/March 2008. This means you’ll have some time to get up to speed, and be ready for the peak season, which lasts roughly from February through September.

* Camera Equipment. Because this is a contract job, photographers must supply their own camera equipment. Minimum requirements:
- 4MP Digital SLR
- 10mm – 14mm lens (not fisheye)
- 1 off-camera flash unit (2 preferred, for best lighting)
- rotating flash bracket
- tripod with degree markings
* Experience/Photography Skills. Experience shooting virtual tours and/or real estate is strongly preferred, but is not a requirement. Photographers must have mastered basic concepts such as lighting, composition, and exposure, and be able to hit the ground running. We pride ourselves on high-quality, well-lit images. We can help you dial in the details of what makes a good real estate photo, but we simply don’t have the time to train you how to take good photos to begin with. If you don’t have virtual tour experience, you need to be able to learn very quickly.
* Reliable Transportation. Photographers are responsible for their own transportation between properties. Reliable transportation is a must: driving 100 miles/day is not uncommon, and you must arrive to your appointments on time. Neither public transportation nor a friend’s car is considered reliable transportation.
* File Management/Technology Skills. Photographers need to manage and organize large numbers of photos, sort and rename them appropriately, and be able to transfer files over the internet via FTP on a daily basis.
* High-speed Internet Connection. Photos are uploaded to our server the same day they are taken. Since a typical schedule might produce several hundred photos per day, a reliable high-speed internet connection is an absolute must.

* Flexible. Real estate is a fast-moving business, and your schedule can change quickly, even while you’re out shooting.
* Reliable. We must be able to count on you to get to all of your appointments when they’re scheduled.
* Professional. You will often have contact with real estate agents and homeowners, and need to have a professional attitude and appearance. No, you don’t need to wear a tie, but flip-flops and tank tops are not okay.

Got all that. A detailed list of what they want, some very specific equipment requirements.

The final product, looks something like this. View Sample Tour (it's on the lower left, opens a Java Applet frame).

Here's the kicker

The pay depends on the virtual tour package ordered, but averages $35 per tour. We currently don’t pay mileage.

So, with a sunk cost in equipment of not less than $3,000, and a minimum time of not less than 3 hours, they aren't offering anywhere near enough money.

I think I'll pass.

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