Over the past decade, we’ve expanded to 20 locations (with more on the way!), have photographed thousands of properties, and work with some of the top agencies, builders, and accommodation specialists across Australia and New Zealand. We can’t believe how far we’ve come! RPP has changed a lot over the years, and we’re not going to stop now. As part of the birthday celebration, we sat down with our CEO and founder, Nikias Leigh, to look back on the past and forward to the future.
While working as a wedding photographer across Brisbane, Townsville and Melbourne, I started to become interested in real estate and the prospects of a career within the industry. As I researched opportunities, I realised that there was a growing number of listings that featured high-quality photographs. It was at this point that I decided that I could have the best of both worlds—apply my skill sets and passion in photography, and be a part of the real estate world.
The ability to combine my passion for photography as well as a growing love for Australia’s vibrant real estate industry. We are lucky to have a world-class real estate marketing industry. I get to see [not so much now], beautiful homes every day, and through our services, we have the opportunity to help people showcase their greatest assets in the best light.
In the early days, it was educating customers on the need for professional photos and explaining why it was an investment over an expense. 10 years on, photography for real estate listings is no longer a luxury but a necessity. We are fortunate now that visual marketing for real estate is a staple supply—not just for sales professionals and property managers, but short-term rentals, accommodation providers and builders. Our challenges over the years have varied with each life cycle of the industry, and the economy of course. However, we as a brand have remained resilient through this time, due to the dedication of our people and partners.
Not only is it important to have an established and profitable working-model, but someone wanting to franchise their business should also invest significantly in systemising that model. Further investment should be made into the franchisee journey as well, ensuring that you have a sufficient support process in place through a franchisee’s entire lifecycle.
There are many things I would do differently–that is the joy of business! However, notably, I would engage someone who specialises in developing franchise systems before franchising the business. Today we have a fantastic system in place for the entire franchisee journey—however, this took years and years of learning, mistakes and refining. I’m sure in another 10 years, I will have much more to add to this, especially as the industry landscape changes.
Seeing franchises reach their financial dreams while doing something they love. Our franchise partners are equally invested in the brand, and each and every day they ensure that they are offering their customers the best possible experience, which in turn leads to their own business success. Second to this is the friendships that I have formed with our franchisees, being able to share in key moments of their personal lives as well as business life.
I definitely started with an overly ambitious goal to become the global leader in photography for real estate. While we are far from this goal, we are definitely one of Australia’s most recognised and we’re proud of this achievement—but also acknowledge that we have plenty more building to go and we can’t wait to continue on this exciting journey!
Canada is a particular market of interest that we are currently exploring. With certain similarities to Australia and New Zealand, we believe that there is opportunity for a system like Real Property Photography to offer its range of services, through our fast, affordable and professional approach.
Many things, but mainly the willingness of our fantastic franchise partners who continue to seek new ways to go over and above for their customers. It has been surprising and rewarding and is one of the key factors behind our success.
The next 10 years will be exciting not only for Real Property Photography as a brand, but for the industry as a whole. Real estate visual marketing is going through a shift in focus at the moment—from visuals predominantly delivered for real estate search platforms, to the likes of social media. This offers tremendous opportunity both creatively and as a business for Real Property Photography to not only capitalise on this, but lead this shift and create new expectations for the market. We would also love to expand into a new international market in the next 10 years as well as grow our domestic footprint in Australia from 20 franchise partners to 50+—ensuring we focus on partnering with like-minded individuals who have an equal love and passion for both photography and real estate.
Whether you’ve been with us from the beginning or you’re new to the RPP community, thank you for being a part of the journey. We can’t wait to start the next chapter, and we hope you’ll join us for that too. Happy birthday, RPP!