How to get started?

Consider your work realistically and how you’d like it to be seen. Think about completed projects and how a set of descriptive and engaging photographs can help you move to the next level.

Why do we need professional photography?

The professional photographer “sees” your work in context, in use, in detail, and as part of the larger world. Descriptive and engaging images help define your relationship to the world of design, construction, and architecture at every level.

How can we know what we need beforehand?

Consider how you maintain your archives, think about current and future marketing and publicity efforts for a specific building and for the firm. Imagine a strong set of photographs telling the story of your project.

How will we use the photographs?

To get your money’s worth from the investment, be ready to use the images as soon and as often as you can to show your built projects and your skills. You’ll use the images in your archives, in proposals, on the web, for competitions, and to submit for editorial consideration.

Should we photograph every project we do?

Assuming budget is a consideration, think of the strongest, newest work as the most valuable in setting the course for the future. Which built projects lead in a new direction, move toward your goal? Think of photographing those and, of course, any that may be changed or lost should be recorded before it’s too late.

How to get maximum use of the images from the investment?

Use images as part of your overall marketing plan. Make sure they describe where you are and where you want to be. Stress strengths and interests to move toward new commissions.

How to select a photographer?

Look at photographers’ portfolios, consider buildings or interiors of similar scope and scale, talk to colleagues, review magazines online and in print. As you become familiar with work that pleases you, talk to the photographer or the representative about his or her approach, interests, and area of expertise. In addition to a portfolio, you might ask to see information about one particular project from start to finish: schedule, price, process, and review the resulting images.

What information to provide when asking for an estimate?

The photographer will need specifics about the site and will also need to know the scope of coverage, the budget, and who will be using the images and in what manner. Your information will initiate a develop about your requirements and how best to satisfy them.

Who owns the images?

The photographer holds the copyright to the images, as architects hold the copyright to their design work. For a photography assignment, your initial rights would be described and included. Subsequent or broader use would then be licensed separately.
How can we use the images?
Architects and designers use photographs to show and describe their work and to arrange new commissions. Basic usage arrangements include archives, marketing, web use, submission to competitions and for editorial review.

Are our rights limited?

The images are for use as described in the estimate and on the invoice which is actually a license. One would arrange additional clearance when the photographs are for other, subsequent use, or to promote commercial products or services.

What will it cost?

We work with a fee for services that’s related to usage, and expenses are itemized separately. The fees for photography of architecture or interior design are at the low end of the cost spectrum and are far from the range of fees for corporate or advertising photography, for example. Discuss collaborating with consultants, contractors and others to help share the cost and to use the images.

Why does it take so long?

To describe the space and how it’s used, inside and out, the photographer needs to understand the movement of light and other changes during a day. We have an obligation to create a narrative in, around, and through the space. It takes time to understand the project, to make photographs at the appropriate time, to tell the story with images.

Why does it seem so expensive?

Thinking back to the days when film was being used, the whole process was much slower. Now, digital photography has changed everything. The photographer spends less time at the site, and there is more computer work afterwards. File processing costs are equivalent to film, processing, printing and/or scanning. All in all, on a per image basis, costs are equivalent to what they were before the digital revolution.

Can you help lower the cost?

We can help you set up a collaboration with other firms that participated in the project and arrange to share costs with consultants, colleagues, suppliers, contractors and, perhaps, the client as well.

Do we work out a specific shot list?

The photographer will discuss your ideas and your requirements. In addition to images that you anticipated, you’ll find additional descriptive views that may have been unanticipated. It’s a dialogue, a conversation, with words first and then with images.

How do we make plans for work at the site?

After the scope of the assignment has been established, and the estimate has been approved, the photography is scheduled. Look at our Checklist for ideas on planning an effortless project.

Should the architect be on site for the shoot?

We recommend having a representative from the firm with the photographer when the work is being done. This should be someone with the authority to make decisions. And if not through the whole process, at least someone should be there to introduce the photographer to the space for a walk-through when the photographs are being made.

Why does it take so long?

Making concise and descriptive architectural photographs requires knowing the site, understanding the design, considering how the spaces are used. One has to consider natural lighting, arrange site access and other specific concerns to make photographs that are full of information about the space, the place, the building.

What about construction schedules and delays?

We stay in touch, we’re flexible.

What if the weather is bad?

We hold extra time for each assignment to allow for variables. It may be difficult, but actually, we lose very little time to bad weather. On location, there may be extra interior shots and more dusk/night views too.

When do we get to see the photographs?

With your needs in mind the photographers work in various ways. Some show you scouting shots on site and then complete the images you have selected. Others outline general views and and present a range of options for your subsequent review and selection later. You select the views, discuss preferences and alterations. Then, when post-production work is completed, you receive the final files.

In starting to use the images, can we send to design competitions?

We will provide specific release forms for design competitions and for those sponsored by magazines or product manufacturers.

How to have the work published? What does “published” mean, anyway?

We are pleased to discuss publication venues. Print? Online? National? Regional? Local? We can help prepare material to describe the project and to accompany your submission. This may include information about the program, the site, the clients, the use and perhaps “before” and “construction” photographs as well. On discussion, we may contact design editors on your behalf.

Why Esto?

We work with you from start to finish: to plan the scope of the assignment and arrange for useful and valuable images. We provide experienced back-up to the working photographers who concentrate on what they do best: making photographs.