Architectural Photography: how to plan and work with your photographer
As a client (architect, builder, marketing company, real estate professional, …) you want the photos of the object convey your message. A photographer needs to know as much information as possible about the project: it’s goals, the publishing medium / media and much more.
Here’s a brief checklist:
- a shot list is a great helper for client and photographer – it should include the must-have shots (interior, exterior, detail shots) and the nice-to-have shots. Especially when client’s marketing / sales department or a designer are involved in the subsequent process of using the images it can help not to forget shots that those guys later will need.
If desired I can also participate in a meeting to discuss details with the stakeholders and project members.
Shot lists can range from super simple (“kitchen”, “Hallway and Staircase”, “Masterbed”…) to detailed like “Masterbed including details of alarm system, fans, floor”, “Kitchen multiple angles”, “Kitchen Undercounter Vac”, … — you’ll get the point! Many of those items are the shots I would take anyway, but some things I might not be aware of, so tell me what comes to your mind. A shot list also avoids that I spend time on areas you are not interested in.
- Hand-in-hand with the shot list items goes the detail information / insider information about the project: number of locations, location address(es), orientation of the exterior sides, “best-light” guess for interior rooms if relevant for shoot, “best-time” for rooms/locations with a view.
Ideal is if you have these information — if not, I am available to do a scouting trip to the locations, but you need to mention that in order for me to prepare a proposal. You can also state that I should just do whatever I can during the allocated time-frame because you have only a limited budget which doesn’t allow to take care of everything. Or you have limited access to the location. That is totally fine.
- Timelines / Deadlines / Schedules: please outline your idea of the delivery details with regard to the project’s timeline and possible deadlines. That allows me to see how that goes along with my schedule.
- What will you use the photos for? Optional information — I am not asking that because of the usage rights (I assign full usage rights anyway), but I’d like to know if you plan on using them for print or online. If printing is involved, it is nice to know if you plan on billboards, high-glossy brochures, magazines, or whatever. I provide my deliverables normally as 2 sets of photos: hi-res (suitable for print) and medium-size (optimized for web use). We can further discuss specifics for the print media.
- Budget: assuming you have a pre-determined budget… it is good letting me know because my proposal can focus on what I can do for you within that budget and give you an idea about what the options outside the budget would cost. If you do not provide a budget I will base my estimate on your shot list and time needed — we can go from there to upgrade or down-grade.
- If you require an NDA (non-disclosure-agreement) please let me know upfront — there’s a surcharge for that type of project because I cannot use those projects as references. Don’t confuse NDA requirements with common-sense confidentiality like: I don’t reveal property addresses or certain information… you don’t need an NDA for that.
- Residential properties: can you have the place professionally staged? Or can you do it yourself?
- For commercial facilities: with people or without? Production processes? How would you describe the lighting conditions?
For complex projects a meeting and on-location scouting tour might help to evaluate and discuss all aspects of the project.