As a 20-year professional photographer of architecture and interiors, I’ve been asked many times and in many ways (some more subtle than others!), to justify my fees. More broadly, potential clients often want to know why they should pay for professional architectural photography at all. In an earlier blog post titled 12 Reason to Invest in Professional Architectural Photography I did my best to explain why professional firms and individuals in architecture, construction, and engineering should make the investment.
But obviously, I’m not an entirely disinterested party in all this. Clearly, I have reasons for thinking why you should hire a professional photographer . . . and more specifically, why you should hire me! So when I ran across a similar list on the Entrepreneur Architect podcast, I felt a little vindicated. For those who don’t know EntreArchitect, it’s a business training academy and support group, of sorts, for small-business architecture firms that’s run by architect Mark LePage from his hometown of Chappaqua, NY. Mark and his wife operate a small architecture firm called Fivecat Studio and about ten years ago Mark began sharing experiences and offering advice on starting and growing a small architecture business. His blog posts were quite popular and he soon branched out and created EntreArchitect.
I’ve traded emails with Mark and participated on his discussion forum from time-to-time, and I enjoy his podcast. Recently while browsing through past episodes, I ran across an October, 2015 episode titled:
After coming back from the edge of my seat, I listened through the podcast and copied down Mark’s reasons. That list is reproduced here with Mark’s permission.
- Professional architectural photographers are better than you at making images.
- Professional images improve your online portfolios (website, iPad presentations) and make you look more professional during the face-to-face sales process.
- Using professional images on social media will get you noticed — Houzz, Pinterest, Instagram; Houzz even requires professional-quality photos.
- Professional images on your blog improves interaction with readers and the storytelling of your firm.
- Use professional images in your physical marketing materials that stay behind with potential clients and continue to attract their eye.
- Use professional images on project sheets to include with proposals and customize those sheets to pitch that specific project.
- Use professional images to entice magazine scouts to take your project to the publisher and cover your projects / firm.
- Use professional images to self-publish your own monograph.
- Professional images make great client gifts as a commemorative book or large framed print.
- Use professional images to submit for design awards – “projects don’t win awards, photos win awards”!
- Use professional images as your own archive of completed work for future uses.
- Professional images show your clients you care; it flatters your clients and makes them feel their project was something special.
- Professional images tell great stories.
- Professional images improve firm culture — take your projects seriously and your team will too.
- Professional images confirm your dream — when you see all your effort and talent shown in great professional images, it confirms your dream and your passion; it makes you happy.
So I’m happy to hear that it’s not just me. I’d also like to point out that not only are these good reasons to hire a professional photographer, there are also some good marketing ideas in this list that design firms could be using. As I often tell my clients, it’s easier to pay the cost of a photo shoot when you know what you plan to do with the images. And it’s even easier if you can imagine doing two, four, or ten different things. A single photo shoot could supply your firm with images for a half dozen marketing impressions, thereby stretching your budget as well as making each impression that much more effective. And stretching your hard-earned dollars, as well as making them work harder for you, seems like the best reason of all.