Common questions about hiring a professional architectural photographer

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in architecture, business, photography | No Comments

While going through the process of designing and creating content for the new website for Subtle Light Photography, I tried to answer some basic questions about what visitors who came to the site considering paying for hotel, landscape design, or architectural photography would want to know.  To help answer some of their more common questions, I came up with the following four Q&A’s.

Why do I want professional photography, can’t I just shoot it myself?
First of all, nobody has enough time these days, so why not concentrate on what you do best?  Hiring a photographer frees up more of your time and lets you focus on your core business.  In addition, many projects show better on certain types of days and at specific times, than at others.  With your busy schedule you get there when you get there, but a professional should be shooting your project when it’s best for the project, not just best for your schedule.


Next, a professional stays in touch with visual trends and styles which helps you look contemporary and up-to-date when potential clients see images of your projects.  Want images that have that magazine-story look?  Interested in a really eye-grabbing shot for that expensive ad you’re planning to run?  Want to add time-lapse video to your website?  As a professional photographer, I can help you out with any of these creative ideas, and more.

And finally, unless you have more work than you can handle via word-of-mouth alone and you plan to for your entire career, you need to showcase your best projects.  99% of prospective clients will never see your work in person, so how else will they experience it except through photography?  And don’t you want the quality of the photos to match the quality of your work?

But is my project really worth photographing?
Great images are possible of any size project – it doesn’t need to be big budget, career-making, or even award-worthy.  Memorable images are about finding interesting views and combining them with appealing light to invite the viewer to linger, and both are possible at nearly any project.  My job as a professional photographer is to feature as much of the design, the use, and the context of a space as I possibly can.  Truly remarkable images often happen when all three come together in a visually memorable way.


Can I afford professional photography?

Throughout my career, I’ve worked with clients ranging from small, one-person design shops and local, free magazines to some of the largest firms in the Northwest and the biggest magazine titles in the country.  Each has its pleasures and its challenges.  Most importantly, I recognize that budgets are budgets and am happy to work with you to figure out what I can offer that fits within your price range.  But that being said, don’t underestimate the value to your business and your career of a beautiful website, cutting edge design software, inspiring continuing education – or showcase-quality photography.  Each is an investment worth making.  If your competitors are using great quality photography to feature their work, then can you afford NOT to use it to feature yours?


Do I have time for this?

As part of my process of photography, I’ll spend some time asking you questions about the project, what makes it typical of your work or what makes it special, unique, or challenging.  If we can do so while walking the site, so much the better, but it’s certainly not required.  I’ll hope to hear a bit of the narrative of the project from your perspective so that I may help illustrate it for your prospective clients or readers.  I’ll also need you to secure permissions from the homeowner, building owner, tenants, or whoever controls access.  After that, you may be as involved or absent as you wish.  I am very used to handling all the responsibilities of making contact, coordinating schedules, suggesting maintenance items, shooting the project, processing the digital files, and delivering your images with only a few emails along the way to keep you updated on progress.  But if you prefer to participate, then I enjoy the creative collaboration as well and have had clients stay and observe throughout an entire shoot.  Bottom line is that after your initial input, your level of continued involvement is up to you.

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