Business Resources

Hiring An Employee vs Contractors For Your Real Estate Photography Business

Hiring An Employee vs Contractors For Your Real Estate Photography Business

Once your real estate photography business reaches a certain level hiring some extra help becomes the next logical step for many owners. This is when the question of hiring an employee vs contractors enters the equation.

In this article I’ll discuss hiring an employee vs contractors for your real estate photography business and which might work best for your specific situation.

Table of Contents

The Difference Between an Employee and a Contractor

Understanding the distinction between an employee and a contractor is crucial for legal and tax purposes, but it also affects your level of control and responsibility.

Chances are that once you fully understand the difference between an employee and a contractor, you’ll have a much better idea of which type of hire will be better for your real estate photography business.

Here’s a quick explanation to help you understand the difference:

  • Employee: Hiring an employee means adding a person to your payroll. You’re responsible for deducting taxes, offering benefits, and covering them under your insurance if that’s something you offer. Generally, employees have a more stable role in your business and are directly controlled by you.
  • Contractor: A contractor is an independent entity and not associated with your business. They pay their own taxes and manage their own benefits. They may work for multiple clients and are generally hired for specific projects or periods. In all likelihood, you are a contractor for all your real estate clients.

Pros and Cons of Hiring an Employee

Now, there are of course pros and cons to hiring an employee. This is true for every business, but there are some unique things to consider for real estate photography businesses.


  • Control: With an employee, you can dictate their hours and workflow, allowing for more direct control over your projects. This can be very helpful for anyone with highly specialized real estate photography practices and techniques.
  • Consistency: Employees are more likely to be committed and provide consistent work quality. They’re a part of your team and share the responsibility for your business’s reputation. Being an employee usually means they buy into your business more than a contractor.
  • Skill Development: You can invest in training to enhance an employee’s skills, something that would benefit your business in the long run. This is great for both you and your employee.


  • Cost: Employees are generally more expensive than contractors when you consider additional costs like health insurance, retirement benefits, and paid time off. You don’t necessarily need to offer these things, but maybe potential employees may expect them.
  • Legal Requirements: With employees come stricter labor laws and regulations, like minimum wage laws and workers’ compensation, which you’ll need to comply with. This adds to the complications of the hiring process.
  • Long-Term Commitment: When business is slow, you can’t just cut off an employee like you could a contractor. It’s a long-term relationship that could be costly if your business hits an extended slow period and there isn’t much revenue.

Pros and Cons of Using a Contractor

Just like with employees above, there are pros and cons of hiring a contractor.


  • Flexibility: Contractors can be hired for specific projects or periods, giving you the flexibility to scale your workforce up or down as needed. This is especially helpful for slow periods which can be somewhat common in real estate photography.
  • Lower Costs: You’re not responsible for a contractor’s taxes, health insurance, or any other benefits, leading to lower overall costs and less responsibility on your end.
  • Specialized Skills: Contractors often have specialized skills suited for specific projects. If you need aerial drone photography, video, or 3D floor plans, for instance, you could hire a contractor skilled in those specific areas.


  • Less Control: Contractors operate independently and may work on multiple projects simultaneously, meaning you have less control over their schedule and the project timeline. This can be a major issue if you have a last minute job and your contractor isn’t available.
  • Quality Consistency: Since contractors might not be as invested in your business which can cause the consistency in the quality of their work to vary. While this certainly won’t be the case for all or even most contractors, you won’t have the luxury of an employee that can dedicate themselves to your real estate photography businesses specific needs.
  • Legal Risks: Misclassifying an employee as a contractor can lead to hefty fines. It’s vital to understand the legal criteria that differentiate the two. This can be confusing to some and could warrant a conversation with a contract lawyer.

Additional Resources

If you’re just getting started in real estate photography, check out our Beginners Guide. It’s full of helpful articles and tips that will guide you in the right direction as you begin your real estate photography journey.

You can check out our Gear section as well to see reviews and recommendations on the latest real estate photography gear.

If you’re more interested in other resources that can help your real estate photography business, check out our Business Resources page.

254 posts

About author
Matthew Digati is a professional Real Estate and Architectural Photographer. Matthew has worked as a Real Estate and Architectural Photographer since 2015 and has photographed properties and projects all over the United States.
Related posts
Beginners Guide

When To Hire Another Photographer For Your Real Estate Photography Business

3 Mins read
A professional real estate photographer discusses the question of when to hire another photographer for your real estate photography business.


Comments are closed.