Do-It-Yourself (DIY) architectural photography seems like a great idea at first: save some bucks and get your company marketing exposure without the cost of a professional photographer, right? But what your DIY habit is likely doing is costing you money in terms of your firm’s image and promotional stance.
1. You are preparing a big proposal and have no [good] photos of that type of project. Professional architectural photographers know time is money, and know you need gorgeous images to show so you can strike while the iron is hot. Your project portfolio can be a strategic collection showing the best aspects of your work, not just a random grouping of 50 bad phone pictures for each project. They ensure that whatever you want to visually communicate gets heard — loud and clear. If you are getting a client proposal, sell or cut sheet ready, you will have professional photos showing that type of work already at your fingertips.
2. Your project managers have been taking photos, with less-than-ideal results. They are on site at a job, focusing the super, juggling a million different things. How certain are you that your project manager won’t forget to take a certain shot, or take the worst shots known to man? Project managers are not professional photographers. There, I said it. Along with the skill and experience it takes to make architectural photography sing, a professional photographer captures, lights and retouches images in a way project managers can’t begin to do. Besides, don’t you want your project manager focused on the details of construction or renovation … and not learning Photoshop on the side?
3. Your photos may look good enough to you, but scream “amateur” to potential clients. At a glance, you believe, your images are on par with the very best of the architectural photographers out there. But that one cool effect you keep seeing is actually called sun flare, and it’s something professional photographers try and avoid. And Keystoning, where a structure or space’s verticals converge (falling away from the viewer in the frame), is not ideal. These results arise from a DIY photographer’s lack of understanding of perspective and how to minimize or correct these issues, which comes with professional experience. These are photography sensibilities professionals understand, just like your firm understands how to design and construct buildings.
DIY architectural photography may seem as if it’s saving you money. But it costs you in terms of credibility and future business — more than you may even realize. Much is involved beyond snapping quick shots at a construction or project site, including staging the location, designing your images and capturing captivating compositions. Because of this, your business is negatively impacted in two ways – first, when potential clients sub-consciously wonder if you cut corners on photography, what else do you cut corners on? Materials? Safety? And second, when your employees are being distracted from their main responsibilities because they [also] had to take snapshots. Letting experienced experts handle your architectural photography just makes good business sense.