You never know… My First Residential Shoot

My First Real Estate Photoshoot

In November 2007, I made a significant purchase – my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D80. The excitement of owning a digital camera rekindled my passion for photography. Realizing my “equipment ambitions”, I began the journey to make photography a paying adventure. I started with small photoshoots here and there, mostly from friends and Craigslist Ads. Fast forward to February 10, 2012 – and I officially launched my photography business, and the journey from hobbyist to professional has begun. This venture not only provided extra income but also thrust me into new realms of photography, including portraits, weddings, quinceañera, corporate events, headshots, mission trips, concerts, nature, and much more.

However, today, I want to share a specific story – my first residential real estate photoshoot.

When I started my business in 2012, a realtor friend extended and offer: if I ever wanted to capture homes, she’d provide an opportunity to “see what I could do.” Acknowledging my lack of experience in real estate photography combined with a need for specific gear. I explained that I need some time to prepare. Until then, I offered that if her photographer ever missed a shot, I would help.

In April 2013, my friend called with a sense of urgency. She had her first ever million-dollar listing, and her photographer missed a crucial shot of the home nestled on the side of a mountain. She inquired about my availability and pricing for the specific shot she needed. Seeing the opportunity, I offered to capture the requested shot for free, in exchange for access to just a couple interior rooms. She agreed, and on April 29, 2013, I headed out to my first ever residential photoshoot. That night, I spent hours editing the photos until I finally wrapped up and emailed her the images.

I nervously awaited her reply, unsure of what she would think. To my surprise, this was her response. “Joel, these are amazing!” she exclaimed. “These are so much better than my other photographers photos, I don’t think I can even mix them together. How much would you charge me to finish photographing the entire home.” This marked the beginning of what would eventually become Arch Angle Media and my full-time career.

From that single opportunity, that one photograph, I became the primary photographer for my realtor friend. Not only her, but she was collaborating with another realtor who also made me his lead photographer. Over the years, starting from that one house and that single opportunity, I’ve captured over 200 homes for these two realtors. As Garyvee once said, “You never know what piece of content will change your life.” This rings true for me. I had no idea that one real estate photoshoot would snowball into the creation of Arch Angle Media, a business focusing solely on architectural photography. Ten years later, I find myself traveling across the country, capturing multi-family and hotel properties. I never anticipated that this one photograph would be the piece of content that would set off a ripple effect, ultimately changing my life.

I will load a few photos from that photoshoot. I cringe looking back on them knowing how far along I have come; yet also proud of what they represent. Risk – doing something I have never done. Dedication – to not settling but always improving.  Hope – that if I could be diligent, a better life could blossom from those early seeds.