Modern Architectural Photography

Musings Photographic

  • How To Hire an Architectural Photographer - Part 1

    The following is part 1 of a series of posts taken from "The Architect and Designers Guide to Hiring a Photographer" which can be downloaded for free by clicking HERE. 

    Who is this for?

    If you are an architect, designer, real estate agent or property owner who’s tried to get great architectural shots of a design project or of a new property, for your website, property listing or personal use, then you know how challenging it can be to find a good photographer. Even after you’ve hired someone to produce images for you, then comes the task of managing a photo shoot, which if you have never done before, can be a daunting task of it’s own. And let’s face it, as a design professional or busy realtor yourself, you don’t really have the time to learn all about advertising photography, art direction or how a shoot is run.


    If any of this sounds like a situation you’ve been in or you’re in need of hiring a professional photographer but aren’t sure how to go about that, this guide is here to help. Think of it as a quick primer, full of tips and tricks taught by a photographer on what you, the client can do, to first make sure you’re hiring a pro and secondly, make sure you have a great photo shoot experience and come out with the images you want on the other side. The more you know about what to look for when hiring a photographer and how to manage your shoot, the smoother everything will run and the happier you’ll be with the final results.


    This guide is divided into chapters that talk about the stages of working with a photographer such as hiring the right person, pre-production, the shoot itself and finally post production. Included as a separate file with this guide is a handy checklist that you can print out and use to make sure you haven’t missed anything or forgotten to ask specific questions. It’s all designed to give you the client more information to make better decisions during a professional photo shoot.


    With that, lets begin.


    Common Questions and Misunderstandings for Clients and Photographers:


    How do I find a Professional Photographer?

    Who is a professional and how can I tell?

    How long do photo shoots take?

    How much does photography cost?

    When do I pay?

    How will the photo shoot work?

    What can I do to make my shoot run more smoothly?

    Are you bringing lots of lighting equipment?

    When can I see the final images?

    Do I own the final photos?

    What’s the deal with copyright and licensing?



    1. Hiring a Pro

    Finding A Photographer

    There are many photographers out there, but there are probably only a handful who are suited to your specific needs. For the sake of this guide I’m going to assume you’re looking for an even smaller niche segment of very specific photographers: architectural and/or real estate photographers. Here are some great ways to find pro photographers in your area:


    • Ask friends and colleagues who they have used before. You architects and designers out there probably have friends who can point you in the right direction to finding someone. As with all business word of mouth is king and referrals are usually a safe bet.

    • Google architectural photography in your area and see what comes up. Have a look at their website and portfolio. Make sure you like the work they produce and don’t just book the first person that comes up in the results. Ask yourself “Would my project look good photographed in this way?”.

    • Read their about page and see if it resonates with you. Have a look for client reviews or testimonials. See if they have a previous client list and who they’ve worked with in the past. Can you see yourself working with this person?

    • If you do decide to go with someone you’ve found online, next Google their name along with the words “bad”, “review” and “scam” to see what comes up. This a great way to filter out the wrong people.

    • Call or email other design professionals around your area and ask who they use. Have a look at some of their websites that have great photography and just reach out and ask. They’re probably more than willing to share who they hired with you.

    • If you have the time, visit a nearby photography store and explain that you’re looking for someone to shoot interior design, architecture or real estate for you. They most likely have lot’s of interactions with photographers in your area, or at least may know someone to recommend  

    • Instagram. It may sound silly or trivial but many professionals maintain a thriving Instagram feed where they constantly update upload new images and showcase current work. Try the hashtags #interiordesign, #architecture and #architecturalphotography, along with the hashtag with your city name. You’d be surprised who you might come across with this technique.


    How To Tell If Someone Is A “Pro

    If you’re going to spend money on photography and high-quality advertising, you probably want to know where your money is going and who you’ll be hiring. Now a “professional” photographer doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all they do, but the term professional does mean someone who can complete tasks to a high standard, with a high level of competency, with good results that can be achieved repeatedly. Now how do you judge that? You have a look at their portfolio


    Specific Portfolio

    A photographers portfolio should be your number one indicator of the level of work they are able to provide you. And it should be very specific. If you are an architect looking for a beautiful twilight shot for the cover of “Canadian Architect” magazine, you should probably stay away from the photographer whose website is filled with puppies and newborns.


    Demeanor and Responsiveness

    The photographer you hire should act no differently than any other business service provider you have. Next to someones work and portfolio, it’s your best interest for your photographer to have a professional demeanor when interacting with you and to be responsive. If you find someone who never returns calls or is constantly unavailable, I would shy away from hiring them as that might be a sign of things to come. Alternatively if a prospect has great business skills and a beautiful portfolio, then I would probably hire them for my job as I can tell the experience is going to be a good one.


    At this point, after you have found someone, reviewed their work and had some initial communication, and assuming you like what they do and how they interact with you, it’s probably time to move ahead and hire them. That probably means asking for cost estimates and probably some kind of contract or work agreement, which can be a little scary initially but is actually quite simple and we tackle that in the next section of this guide. Let’s have a look.

    In part 2, we discuss pricing quotes, contracts and licensing with your photographer. Get your FREE copy of this ebook today by click HERE to download it. 

  • Back Plate and Hero Photography

    A Back What, Hero Who?As an architect or designer who is hiring a photographer for the first time, you may come across these terms being thrown around by people in the industry without even knowing what they mean. Any industry has it's own jargon and terminology that can be confusing to those not...

  • MarkIs Yokohama - Commercial Style Architectural Photography

    If you have never been to the Minatomirai district in Yokohama Japan and you are a lover of architecture and design, I highly recommend taking the short trip from the city centre and have a walk around. It's there you'll find the new development and mall called the MarkIs. The main entrance is...

  • Retouching the Washington Hotel

    Retouching, Before and After Retouching and post-production on images can be quite a task, but it’s a very satisfying feeling to work on an image and finish with a more beautiful product than when you started. After just finishing some client retouching work this week, I decided to revisit...

  • Vancouver Olympic Village

    A New Development For many people the 2010 Winter Olympics were about sportsmanship and competition, athletes competing at the highest level for their respective counties. For those of us living in Vancouver at the time leading up to winter 2010, it was also about rapid development of...

  • Data Backup for Architects and Designers

     Data Backup for Architects and Creatives As architects, graphic designers, photographers or anyone else doing creative work on a computer, we know that our data can be our livelihood, and keeping those files safe should be a top priority when running a design firm or small business. Here is...

  • 5 Social Networks You've Never Heard Of

    Social Network Specificity How can there possibly be five networks you don’t know about or aren’t using? It may simply be that these networks are so niche specific, you would have no reason to know of their existence. With so many users and so much specific content targeted at...

  • Portfolio Video

    Here is a quick video of a new smaller sized printed portfolio featuring a selection of my architectural work. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. The cover material is thick and heavy along with the paper used. And the overall dimensions of the book work well with the images I've...

  • MarkIs Yokohama: Hero Shots and Details

    The "Hero" Shot and Supporting Images When working for architectural clients there are usually two types of images they're looking for. A main advertising style photograph, often called the "hero", and the more detail focussed shots, showcasing interesting design features, often less dramatic...

  • Yokohama Architectural Evening

    Yokohama Architecture Evening Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of work on my landscape imagery, refining shooting technique and post processing etc… That left little time for my other photographic obsession: architectural imagery. Buildings, urban development and all...

  • Handheld in Omotesando

    Sometimes There’s “No Time” for a Tripod I’ve been toying with the idea of shooting architecture handheld, aka ridin’ drrty. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom as everyone knows that you need a tripod for architecture and landscape work, lest you end up...

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About this Blog

A place to inform, discuss and display current architectural photography and to connect with lovers of digital photography and design. Showcase architects and their work through the display of skilfully crafted, beautifully artistic photography. Discuss and exchange ideas on photographic trends and techniques as they pertain to the architectural industry.

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