Exterior Lights Provide an "At Home" Feeling
A Roaring Fire & Candles Add Ambience
On the day of the shoot, especially if no one will be on hand to assist in the production, there are several important details that that photographer should be made aware of. What is the site availability for the shoot dates? How soon may the photographer arrive on location and how late may the photographer remain? Will keys and alarm codes be made available? Are all areas and rooms accessible?
It is best if the site has been cleaned prior to the day of the shoot. Windows should be streak and dust free, ideally with screens removed. Some window shades are mechanically operated. The photographer or stylist should be instructed to their operation as well as to the operations of ceiling fans, air conditioning and lights. Air conditioning zones may need to be turned off to prevent air blowing out of vents from moving curtains and other light objects.
Interior and exterior lights should all be functioning; burned out bulbs should be replaced. Do the exterior lights operate on photocells, timers or switches? The photographer should know how to turn them on for exterior views. Candles can add greatly to the ambiance of a photo. Can the candles available on-site be lit? A roaring fire adds color and coziness to a scene. Can the fireplaces be lit? Is the gas on and dampers open? Is wood available for use?
Front Entry With Fountains at Twilight
Kitchen with Fresh Veggies and Place Settings
Are water features functioning with water flowing? Will the photographer be able to turn them on and off? Sprinkler systems should be entirely turned off for the shoot. There’s nothing worse than the sprinkler system turning on during a killer exterior shot.
Styling an architectural space can be subtle or quite obvious. Either way, it serves to draw the viewer into the space itself, enables one to imagine being inside the photo. Most often, props for styling are found and used within the rooms of the project itself.
In addition to using what is available on-site, it is helpful to have standard items for certain rooms. Fresh fruits and vegetables work well for styling kitchen shots. Place settings adorning the dining room tables and kitchen bars break up flat surfaces and invite the viewer to “relax…sit down”. Fresh flowers and green plants literally bring life to a room. Wine, warm brie and bread set on a low table in front of a crackling fire evokes a sense of contentment and well-being in the space. These types of props can be supplied by the client, homeowners or stylist. The details of providing props should be discussed in advance of the shoot, so that everything is available for use when the shoot begins.
We hope this article has answered many of the questions common to photographing architectural spaces and helps you prepare for your next shoot. A little pre-planning and foresight can go a long way in making sure that a photography shoot goes off without a hitch and everyone is happy with the results. We look forward to hearing from you and servicing you soon.
There are many preparations to be made before photography production can begin and it is best to think through the following points before the day of the shoot:
Before a shoot can begin, we will need to know all the parties and contact info that wish to be involved in the photography production. This should include office and after-hours numbers in case it is necessary to contact a client during the shoot. We also need to know contact information for the building owner and maintenance personnel if applicable. In most cases a signed confirmation and cash deposit will be required prior to commencement.
Questions that need to be answered before the shoot begins include:
How much documentation of the project is desired? Will all participating parties want the same shots or are different shots required? How many interior and exterior views will be needed? Which rooms and spaces should be photographed? What about vignettes and detail shots? Twilight shots?
When choosing photography dates, one should have an idea of the quantity of photography required and the length of time involved to produce it. In a typical eight-hour day we can photograph about 14 views. Twilight shots may require an extra half day or overtime to complete. Other considerations include whether or not the site will be occupied during shooting and if the owner, client or representative will be on site. The time of year a project is photographed can have important ramifications on the "feel" of the photography and the message being conveyed. Seasonal considerations include the typical weather for the time of year being photographed, tree color, flowers, snow and seasonal decorations.
There are also important site considerations that the photographer should know about beforehand:
How is the site situated in relation to morning and evening sun? Do trees, buildings or other objects cast unseemly shadows or block views? Will construction and landscaping be completed before the day of the shoot? Will building materials and equipment be removed?
Thinking about the important aspects of a shoot beforehand and knowing the answers to these critical questions ensures that everyone is well prepared and in agreement on what needs to be accomplished when the photographer arrives.
Next up: Day of the Shoot. The conclusion coming soon…
Architectural photographers, like all artists, own the copyright to their work. Photographic fees are actually a client’s cost to license the rights to use a photograph in a certain way for a specified period of time. Rights packages vary by the type of usage and the value that the architectural or interior photography brings to each client.
Many of our clients choose to purchase marketing and promotional rights, which covers usage such as brochures, web use, portfolio and display prints. Some purchase additional rights such as editorial use, which allow the ability to submit to publications and grant magazines the right to publish the photography without compensation to the photographer.
Rear Elevation with Terrace & Pool
Others, still, require industry exclusivity, which enables the licensee to be the sole user of the photography, prohibiting the photographer from licensing use to others in the same industry. This exclusivity comes as an added value to the licensee, however, and it is more costly than non-exclusive use.
Purchasing the minimum amount of rights, tailored to your specific needs, provides the best possible value for your photographic investment. If you’re unsure about what kind of licensing is required for how you intend to use the photography, we can help determine the correct licensing package for you.
Next up: The Day of the Shoot
If you have a project that you would like documented, the first step is to send us a description of the space including its name, location, size, style, construction materials, environment and any other pertinent information. Scouting photos of the exterior angles and interior rooms are very helpful in developing a production plan and give the photographer and stylist valuable information for determining the amount of preparation and styling needed for different views.
Scouting of Overall Elevation
Scouting of Property Scenery
In most cases, there are many different parties that have worked together to create an architectural space. Architects, builders, designers, contractors and sub-contractors all have a need for professional documentation of their craft. Many times, interested parties can “cost-share” a photography shoot to save money on the production of the images. Splitting the expenses of a shoot can be a great way to lower the cost and maximize the value of your photography. We’re happy to contact project participants to determine their level of interest in obtaining photos of their work, if supplied with contact information.
Scouting of Great Room
Scouting of Downstairs
Our studio has extensive editorial contacts at many national and regional magazines across the country. As a major part of our client services, we are continually submitting projects we photograph in order to gain exposure for our clients. If you are wondering if your project has potential for publication, send scouting shots to us and we will be more than happy to visit with you about the possibilities for placement.
Stay tuned for our next installment on photography licensing.
Great Room Towards Fireplace
Photographing an architectural space is a large undertaking – requiring planning, communication and resource management among multiple parties. A typical shoot generally takes a day or more to complete, depending on the size of the space and the quantity of views ordered. To assist our clients with the preparations for photographing an architectural project, we have put together some information explaining different aspects that should be addressed prior to a shoot and what to expect during photography production.
I will be publishing a series of blog posts over the coming days concerning the following topics: The Project and Interested Parties, Licensing, Before the Shoot and Day of the Shoot. We hope these articles will answer many of the questions common to photographing architectural spaces and help you prepare for your next project. A little pre-planning and foresight can go a long way in making sure that a photography shoot goes off without a hitch and everyone is happy with the results. We look forward to hearing from you and servicing you soon.