8 Things to Consider When Hiring an Architectural Photographer

Do you have a home, office, building, or venue that you want to have professionally photographed?  There are a number of things that you should think about and consider when hiring an architectural photographer.  I hope these few tips will be helpful for you.

Interior Architectural Photography by Kevin Medlin of CX Photo Works

Interior Architectural Photography by Kevin Medlin of CX Photo Works

  1. The Photographer’s Approach:  Will the photographer meet with you to discuss your goals, what you’re looking to accomplish, and how you plan to use the images?  It’s always best to begin with the end in mind, in order to put together a strategy and plan to meet the needs of the client.  Creating a shot list with the photographer will help ensure that everyone is on the same page, and clarify expectations.
  2. Styling & Tidying:  Who will perform any needed straightening, or cleaning of the space or venue in order to have a more efficient and effective photo shoot?  And, who will provide the styling:  furniture placement, pillows, flower vases, bowls of fruit, and other details?  These small touches will make dramatic differences in the final image.  Some photographers may have stylists that they can pull in on a project (for an additional fee).  Also, the importance of vacuuming, mopping, dusting, cleaning, and removing streaks and smudges can’t be under estimated.  The smallest things can stick out like a sore thumb in a photo, and they’re much easier to move or remove in advance, than in Photoshop.  Make sure the photographer has considered these things, or even included them in the estimate.
  3. Scouting:  Will the photographer scout the home, space, or venue in advance?  Time of day, angles, and existing lighting can all make a big difference.  A photographer that will take the time to understand the conditions will be better prepared to address challenges and approach the project in a way that will show it in its best light.
  4. Quality & Characteristics of Photography:  What is the photographer’s style?  Most photographers have a look or style.  Generally that style has some level of consistency.  Therefore, when choosing a photographer it’s important to consider whether or not their style is in line with the needs and vision that you may have for the project.  
  5. Time:  A home can take a day to photograph—maybe a half day for one or two rooms.  A larger venue may take even longer.  A skilled photographer is not just going to snap a picture, but will work to identify the best angle(s), bring in additional lighting, or even composite multiple images together, adding accent lights to key focal points one at a time.  Such an approach and techniques take time, and will result in much more appealing results.
  6. Cost:  An architectural photographer may charge between $1,000 and $3,000 per day.  A price like that often includes the creative fee (i.e., the fee for the actual photographic work); the cost of any assistant(s); and digital corrections, retouching, and processing fees.  Such post processing may add anywhere from $30 to $90 per image to the total cost of the shoot.  You may consider hiring younger photographers looking to build their portfolios.  They may charge less as they work to grow their client base and build experience.  Additional assistants, styling, equipment rental, or travel may increase the final costs.  
  7. Image Delivery:  Photography for a home may include anywhere from 8 to 20 images.  Image counts for other spaces or venues may vary, therefore it’s important to agree upon a shot list prior to the shoot to make certain that the number and type of images get captured and delivered.  As for delivery, these days images can be easily transmitted via email or via such services as Dropbox or via FTP, making it very simple to download images via the Internet.  When images are needed for use on web sites, having the photographer provide images in various sizes and formats to fit those specific needs should be considered (i.e., smaller file sizes load faster on web pages).     
  8. Ownership:  A photographer typically retains the copyright for the images.  Clients typically purchase usage, or a usage license that outlines such things as length of time, location(s), media, and specific uses.  Usage license fees often vary based on distribution:  magazines that are seen by millions command greater usage fees than those seen by hundreds.  

CX Photo Works’ experience in this area is growing, but we have the skills, discipline, and professionalism to help make your next architectural photo project a success.  Contact us so that we can discuss your goals, and learn more about what you’re trying to accomplish.