Why Hire a Professional Architectural Photographer?
Debbie Grahl asked me to write a small piece for Roger Wade Studio’s blog, as a “successful” architect who has used their photography and services for many years. My astonishment that my very small business would be considered a success by anyone drove me to conclude that just surviving the current hard times must be a success, since architects rarely get rich in the best of times and certainly aren’t getting rich now. There are other forms of success, though, including showing work that you can be proud of, becoming lifelong friends with clients and associates, and finding time to go fishing with them.
When I started Mountain Timber Design, my timber frame architecture business in Golden, Colorado, I knew that I would have to develop a national presence just to be seen by the small and scattered market. Putting together an effective website, getting projects published, and building a striking professional portfolio became my marketing priorities. First class architectural photography would be crucial to the marketability of my services as a specialist in timber frame architecture.
Roger Wade and Debbie Grahl came into my life with the Sass House, published in Timber Frame Homes (now Timber Home Living) in 2003. Introduced to me by the publishers, Roger and Debbie ran around, setting up lights, arranging pretty thingies on tables, and spending the day painstakingly capturing the house on film (the old days). I was fascinated and stayed to watch as long as they could tolerate me. Back then, Roger had a ponytail.
Result: These pictures were wonderful and went in a flattering article in TFH, also making the magazine cover. Shortly, a second magazine, American Bungalow, on the west coast, also used the photos for another article on the house and craftsman architecture. The kitchen photo has appeared in other articles too. Ultimately many of the photos went in a very nice book on the subject of arts and craft cabins. Recently, I used these same photos in a book of my own creation.
Being published influences potential clients, and places the firm among the seriously considered. Comments by others, which is what publishing is all about, are much more credible than self generated compliments. High quality imagery of good design says more about the architect than the architect could, or should, say about his own work.
Besides the quality of the photography itself is the additional work that Roger and Debbie have done introducing my projects to magazines and generally assisting my marketing effort. Their knowledge of the publishers and relationships with their editors are a tremendous help to me.
Publishing and creating a professional portfolio are so integral to my business that Roger and Debbie are very much my team members. They have photographed eight houses for me, all published. I have drawn in new work from each published work, and continue to use the photos in other ways, advertising, web site, and a book. This approach to my business image has led to wide ranging opportunities, with work from Virginia to Oregon and from Texas to Alaska.
In a nutshell: From the very beginning of my business, I made a priority of getting published, and of accumulating a collection of professional photos of my projects. Besides the initial value of the photos in publications, my portfolio of work can be used in advertising and future ventures.
I have recently written a book, Crystal Lantern House, which showcases several of my published homes. The time I have taken to accumulate the photos has spread the cost out over many years, making it affordable, giving me immediate use through advertising and use on my website.
So I thank you Roger and Debbie for being key players on my little team and I look forward to our next project and to going fishing with you.