Quoting for a Real Estate job

Anyone ever done this before?
Specifically the client is after non specific 3d furniture in an empty room photo (see example photo below).

I’m thinking of quoting each photo case by case and for a simple room with a basic furniture layout. Then from there any further details (eg more or custom furniture, matching difficult lighting, depth of field, exact reflections or a large print resolution) will come at a further cost.

I could also send the client a contact sheet of all 3d models so that they could easily pick what they wanted, rather than 2nd guessing what they wanted.

Sound ok? Anything I’ve missed?

I’m then thinking of approaching other Real Estates’ marketing managers to see if they’re interested too, might be a good way to start earning some money from the skills we learn here.


If I were you I’d see what photographers are charging for doing real estate shots, then add a premium. I think it’s quite hard for the real estate people or anyone not accustomed to the time 3d takes and what’s involved. I’d be worried if you quote too high that they’ll be scared away, keep the pricing simple.

You may consider buying a library of furniture from a place like chocofur.com, (http://www.chocofur.com/) they seem affordable and come with cycles materials. If you plan on doing something like this don’t expect to be building from scratch.

Also I’d caution against giving them too much choice, you’re the artist, use design magazines as a guide.

Best of luck, and let us know how it goes:)

BTW this is just my opinion, I have no experience with this type of work.

Thanks comeinandburn,

I took your advice and contacted a bunch of real estate photographer’s so we’ll see what they say.

And yeah that’s a good idea about buying the furniture sets.

And yeah don’t want to scare them away with the price and yet don’t want to underpay myself too :slight_smile: So yeah gonna try and keep it as simple as possible and may have to explain how detailed the 3d process can be.

A bit off topic but I just read this article this morning about IKEA’s use of 3d for product images… they do almost all of it CG.


Back on topic… regarding the furniture packs you’ll be able to spread out the costs over several jobs. A photographer doesn’t charge the price of his camera for every job. If you get into real estate circles you could find yourself a nice niche.

Yeah I think that pricing it similarly to photography is a good idea. They are providing more or less the same end result as you are. So, if you feel that photographers are charging a lot, you can afford to go a little lower. If you feel they do not charge enough, then you can justify a little higher price in terms of quality, flexibility, etc.

Given that a photographer would need the actual furniture in place, you are potentially offering a big cost savings (no need to actually furnish the place.) So there’s that to consider.

If they balk at your fees you can offer a discount (“just this one time”). But make sure to show the full price and then subtract the discount on your invoice. It’s a good way to establish norms for your price.

Good ideas guys,

I’m also considering offering the cheapest option as well which is using Autodesk’s Homestyler, but they’d have to know they’re sacrificing quality for the cost saving.


My experiance with realtors is that they are trying to spend the least amount of $ as then can to sell a home. I don’t want to tell you not to take the job, but be prepared to take the job and make next to nothing. You might be better off working on you talents and finding a client that can afford to pay you what you are worth.

Good Luck!

What you should do is become a real estate investor. When you’re working as an actor and musician, save most of your money. Use it to buy property. Then rent out the property. It’ll save on your taxes
A-N-D provide you with additional income. (By the way, you don’t need a license to become a real estate investor. You do need a license to work as a real estate agent.)

Oh dear :slight_smile:

Hi pancreasboy,

I’ve been doing this same thing myself for a about 5 months now, in fact I’m in the middle of a job right now. So far I’ve done just over 80 photo composites. Here are some of the things I have learnt. Your client is not really interested in the “how” of what we do, they are just interested in the end result and how much it is going to cost them. The real estate agent knows that a furnished sales picture is better than a vacant picture. Their options are either stage a room with hired furniture and have a photographer take pictures, or use 3D composites, however the objective is to create a 3D composite that not only looks real but is appealing and inviting to prospective purchasers. If you can’t do that then you won’t get any return business.

3D composites are certainly cheaper so you need to pitch a price that is competitive to similar services alreadybeing offered in the market place. How much you charge is really up to you but keeping things simple is generally the best option. Whatever price you decide on make sure you also quote on the charge for revisions such as a change of colour on a lounge suite, a different picture in a picture frame, or a rearrangement of furniture, etc. Anything more than this and you should charge the full amount for the composite again. The jobs that I do usually involve at least four pictures per property, a bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen. Each type of room presents its’ own challenges but rooms with windows and mirrors take the most amount of time. Bathrooms with multiple reflections off mirrors and glass showers screens are often the most difficult and time consuming both in creation and in render time. What you have to ask yourself is how much your time is worth when you take into consideration the time it takes to camera match the photo, add the furniture, rendertime and compositing.

If you can get your workflow as efficient as possible it will help to maximise your return. Some of the things that I do include having a template job folder with sub folders for your blends, source images, renderlayer outputs, and final images. Create a startup blend with a room, camera and base light setup, and correct render settings. Compile an extensive texture library and model library. What saves a huge amount of time is to have furniture combination blends already to append into a scene such as dining room sets that include the table, chairs, place settings, glasses, table decorations etc. Lounge settings with side tables, lamps, coffee table, rugs etc all ready to go and bedroom settings setup the same way. Another thing I have found really usefull is to have two makehuman models, one in a standing position and one in a seated position included in my startup blend. This is very useful in scaling everything in the room properly. For example once your camera is matched to the photo add the layer with the standing human model on it and scale it to the correct size whilst it is standing in the doorway of your backdrop photo. This way when you add beds, lounge suites etc to a scene you can then scale these objects relative to your human model.

Last tip is don’t get caught up in trying to make your composites “physically correct”, they just have to “look” right. Most times a HDRi for reflections and ambient occlusion for shadows provide convincing (but not accurate) results. Unless an ouside light source creates a distinctive inside effect or the photographer used a flash when taking the source photo, more complicated light sources are probably not necessary. Someone looking at a real estate ad is not going to notice that there are no caustic effects from the wine glass on the table so don’t make more work for yourself than is needed.

I hope you find some of these tips useful.

Very useful @Esemkay (and hi fellow Aussie :slight_smile: ), especially to see how you charge and how you setup your workflow, thanks for that!

Any chance of seeing some of your final images just to see what quality I should be aiming for?

And not sure if your interested but here’s the quote I gave in the end…

Hey there xxxx,

here’s a few images to look over and the quotes below:

Option 1

(flat rate of $xxxx/image)

• fast delivery
• maximum of 10 objects with extra objects at $xxxx each
• limited object manipulation (eg objects can only be rotated)
• limited image’s final dimensions (not recommended for signboards or large images in the real estate brochures etc, but fine for websites or smaller images in brochures)
• 1 round of minor edits (major or further minor edits will be an extra charge)

Option 2

(around $xxxx/image, but would need to be quoted case by case*)

• no limitations to final image’s dimensions (based off original photo’s dimensions)
• can manipulate objects (eg lounge fabric colour can be changed, or pillows can be moved around, or doors to a cabinet can be open, etc)
• up to 2 round of minor edits (major or further minor edits will be an extra charge)

Final Product

• Unlimited rights to the client for the final image
• Work files can be given to the client

  • different aspects can affect how long the setup can take, eg. matching light or shadows cast onto objects from the photo of the room, interacting with objects already in the photo (e.g. shaggy carpet), depth of field or camera lens setups, reflections on tiled floors, large print resolution, how many objects needed, etc.

So I hope that helps you get an idea of the process and costs involved, the photo you provide was a little tricky, because of the dull lighting, I’d recommend photos that have a nice white balance (something like the kitchen photos on the front page of http://www.au.open2view.com ), since the objects look far better sitting on a bright, clear image (ie see how the same objects from Option 2 look on a white background on the image below)

Look forward to your comments.


Reading over your quote description you have covered all the main points. The only thing I would question is the maximum of ten object limit. How do you explain that to the client with any consistency? For example a dining room table with a knife, fork, spoon, plate, glass, table mat etc for each seating place could already hit an object total of twenty plus. When I add a dining room table to a scene from my model library all of those objects are loaded in a single go and are already placed in the proper positions. Something else to maybe consider in your quote is if the client wants objects placed onto photo objects. For example filling a bookcase in the photo with virtual books.

Here are two examples of what I have done.

Wow they are fantastic!!! Make my examples look like rubbish!

Do you reject some photos because they’re just not lit well, etc (like the example I was given)?

And do you just use a sun lamp with a HDR or do you also use object lights (I’m gathering these were done in Cycles)?

Also do you buy models for your library or make them yourself?

Sorry for the 101 questions, just your work is amazing!

I haven’t rejected any photos yet although early on there were a couple of photos that in retrospect I should have rejected, there is always a learning curve trying something new.

I use Cycles and the majority of my pictures just use a HDRI and ambient occlusion. The second image above used a sun lamp to recreate the light coming through the back window.

I’ve bought a select few model packs and downloaded lots of free models, most requiring some degree of rebuilding. I’ve also built lots myself. I also bought some home decorating books for design ideas and use google images often.

Sweet, so sites like choco and blendswap mainly?

A quick google search for free 3d models will turn up lots of pages. Just exercise some caution as some sites may have models to download that have been stripped from commercial packages.

Thanks again @Esemkay I think I’m going to have to source my own photo and make a better render.