Why do architects need Great photography?
Photography has always played a vital role for architects. Often, it is the first way potential clients get to know you and your work. Today, the need for outstanding photography has never been greater. There are several reasons why architects and designers don’t have portfolio-worthy photos taken, and it’s a common mistake.
Where expert photography shines.
In the past, architectural marketing was a brochure of the firm’s best work printed and reprinted every few years as the need arose. Today digital media dominates the landscape, and architects and designers must have a digital presence filled with images showcasing who they are and what sets them apart from the rest. Think of your website and social media as your silent salesperson. To have an effective digital presence, you’ll need to post regularly. Posting once a week means you’ll need at least 52 shots a year. Granted, not all those photos need professional photos; some can be behind-the-scene and candid photos. But you’ll want the majority to be photos of your projects. Prospective clients are coming to you for your expertise, so show it off.
Design competitions are another area where expert photography sets you apart. A lot goes into entering design competitions; choosing the proper competition, choosing the right project to submit, and fine-tuning your presentation are all critical and very time-consuming. However, the jury panel will first see your presentation boards, and you want to grab their attention. Therefore, submit only the most striking images encapsulating the total scope of the project. This will initially grab the jury’s attention before you blow them away with your passion and know-how.
Why don’t architects get professional photography?
The renderings are good enough.
Renderings have come a long way. Hyper-realistic renderings can look as good as photos. But they can’t show the detailed craftsmanship of a completed project. Showing a few renderings on your website is fine, but showing too many may appear like you haven’t completed a project. Instead, show prospective clients that you have the follow-through to get a job done. Ideas are a great start, but they want to know that their completed building will look just as polished as the rendering.
A professional photographer costs too much.
If you’ve seen a photographer on-site, you may have noticed them moving a few inches to the left or the right. They might move up or back. Maybe they end up right back where they started. It might not seem like it, but that foot to the left might make a completely different photo. Knowing where to stand is one of the most important things in photography. It takes time to learn and makes a world of difference. There is also a considerable amount of time and knowledge that goes into photography that isn’t behind a lens—meetings and scouting, watching the weather, and knowing how sunrise and sunset will look on your building are all skills a photographer brings to a shoot. Depending on the project, the photographer may be on site before dawn to well into the night. Then there is the post-processing and retouching of every image, which is another story for another time.
There are ways to cut your cost when hiring a professional photographer. Typically, you can share the cost with others involved in the building. Photographers can add additional usage rights to all parties who want to use the photos. For example. let’s say the creative fees, one usage licenses, and retouching comes to $2,000. If you add two more licenses at $250 per party the total would be $2,500 and each party would split that cost, or $833 per party.
You might be tired of the project.
After months and months of late nights, sometimes you are just over a project. You don’t want to think about it anymore and have lost sight of how amazing it is to someone with fresh eyes. As a result, you may put off getting professional photos taken or decide it isn’t worth the extra effort anymore. One way around this is to make the photographer part of your project process. You’ve scheduled everything else out; why not get the shoot on the calendar? Working photography into your job process is a great way to stay on top of your marketing efforts and see it through to the end.
The photos of your project are where the building lives. Most people will never see your project in person, just like most people will never see the Mona Lisa up close. But everyone knows what the Mona Lisa looks like through the photos they see.