Do You Need a License to Be a Real Estate Photographer?

Photography is more than just taking pictures. It is a form of art which captures moments and emotions that become lifelong memories. While photography is a passion for most, some have found ways to convert their passion into lucrative careers. Nowadays, real estate photography has become highly popular.

If you are considering pursuing it as a full-time career, you need to be familiar with several aspects of running a business, including getting the required licenses. This article discusses whether you need a license to be a real estate photographer. Before doing so, let’s delve into something equally important.

What is Real Estate Photography?

As the name indicates, it refers to taking pictures of commercial and residential property. Why would anyone take pictures of property? Well, when considering buying or renting a property, what is the first thing you do? Before visiting the property physically, most people prefer to browse pictures.

If the pictures are low-quality or taken from poor angles, then a prospective buyer or renter would not proceed further. A real estate photographer takes pictures in such a manner that it elicits a response from the viewers. Thus, if you are looking to make your property stand out, then contact a real estate photographer.

Let’s delve into the benefits of real estate photography in detail before proceeding further.

Why Hire a Real Estate Photographer?

First Impressions

High quality images and those taken from the right angles create a good first impression. Even if the property has issues, pictures can at least compel viewers to visit the property. The real estate agent can then play their magic once they physically meet the client.

Online Visibility

Like everything else, the journey for property buying or renting starts online. People search for a property online before proceeding further. A series of eye-catching photographs can boost a property’s online visibility.

Faster Sale

According to an article published in The Washington Post, properties with professional and engaging photos tend to sell faster.

Highlight Key Features

Suppose your property is next to a scenic spot. Writing ‘picturesque views’ does not do justice to the property’s location. On top of it, people interested in the property cannot experience this feature without a quality photo. Quality pictures can help communicate key features that cannot be described through words.

It is why many property owners now use Matterport 3D imaging technology for their properties. It allows viewers to experience the property as if they are physically present. The detailed images allow the property to stay ahead in a highly competitive real estate market.

Wider Reach

Lastly, quality pictures can help you reach a wider audience. When people come across pictures that they like, they are more likely to share it. This can help expand a property’s reach to more interested people. This can help the owner get a much better rate for their property.

Now, let’s focus on the main point.

License Requirement for Real Estate Photography Business

There is no requirement of a license if you are interested in pursuing a real estate photography business. Within the United States, photography is not highly regulated at the federal, state, or local level. Therefore, if you want to pursue real estate photography in Massachusetts or any other area in the US, there’s no need to get a license.

However, there are some exceptions to this. Firstly, if you are using a drone for aerial photography purposes, then you do require a license or rather a certification. This certification is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For more information about this certification, refer to this link.

There is a minimal criterion which you must meet before applying for it. The Remote Pilot Certification must be updated every 24 months. It ensures that the certificate holder is up to date with the latest developments. Once you complete the certification, you can use drones to photograph the property. Again, there are some limitations to it.

For instance, the drone must always remain within the operator’s eyesight. For safety purposes, the drone operator must not fly the drone over people, above 400 feet, or at night. Violations are handled strictly. Your license may be revoked, and law enforcement agencies may take legal action.

Furthermore, some states within the US require the drone operator to have a general liability insurance. This protects the operator against property damage and injury claims. Lastly, if you are planning to shoot in protected areas, then you will need to apply for a special permit.


It concludes our article on whether you require a license to start your real estate photography career. As the discussion states, there is no need for a license. However, if you are planning to use drones for the photography, you need to be certified by the FAA. We request you to check your local laws for additional information regarding real estate photography to be on the safe side.

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