“It’s about choosing joy.”
Those who know me know I’ve been pretty fired up about Marie Kondo and the whole Tidying Up phenomenon. I’ve spent most of the last 6 months tearing through my home, to find more joy, peace and clarity. A journey (still) in progress.
The idea of bringing more joy into your life, can be easily applied to your AEC firm’s marketing life, very specifically, to how you approach your next architectural photo shoot. I was additionally inspired to write this article after reading a marketing-centric version of her joy-sparking process recently on Linked In, #Konmari Marketing: 5 Business Lessons from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo by William Zahn.
Using Zahn’s rules, based on KonMari, let’s get tidying up your next architectural photo shoot.
1. Tidy all at once. Site preparation and decluttering is a critical step in the photo shoot process. Good into the lens, good out. In addition to hiring an experienced architectural photographer, staging and cleaning up of your project site is the difference between amateur and pro results. Here’s access to my architectural site preparation tip sheet to get you moving in the right direction.
2. Determine what shots spark joy. When you tell your most successful project stories, make the visuals count. I’m contacted often by firms that want 25-30 shots of their project. That’s a lot of images to tell an impactful story while keeping the viewer engaged. Less is always more, we don’t need anyone “glazing over” during your interview, or while viewing your award submission. We’d prefer them leaning in to the “best of” shots you share. Being decisive to build a strong shot list that clearly communicates a successful project can be done with 6-10 images, larger multi-shoot, long-term projects aside. Capture the legacy and essence of the project that will endure, leave the the ho-hum. Here’s where I start — hitting the exterior and interior of the major spaces, then any unique features or materials (either preserved or installed, for example), along with any detail shots, covers most any AEC projects or CRE properties. Choose the shots that spark the most joy for your firm — and will yield the most ROI whenever you use them.
3. Streamline your work life and workflow. How well you proactively manage your digital archives determines how productive and agile you are as a firm. Do you have multiple backups of your image libraries? Or just a single copy? My beloved IT friends tell me these days if you don’t have at least three copies of a file, you’re in trouble. Potential server or network crashes, file corruption, cyber sabotage, and other dangers are always possible when you manage a digital workspace. There’s also death by hoarding, which costs firms time (endless searching for that file you know you have…somewhere), and buying more and more server/storage space. When there’s no formal process in place to keep what’s essential, and delete the rest, it can creep in and slow you down. Be that person on the team who has brag-worthy digital archiving skills and you’ll save RFP deadline day every time.
4. Turn around disorganization. Don’t miss a single key project this year. I’m encouraging you to be even more organized each year. Champion for making things happen, not missing huge opportunities to flaunt your firm’s accomplishments. Make it a priority to hire an experienced pro photographer to help if needed, and develop a process that fits your firm’s workflow best. A pro can also help you there if you need support and advice.
5. Build momentum. Advanced planning is the key to photo shoot success. This is your time to take hold of build season. Get out your calendar and log into your firm’s Gantt charts to mark the new milestone “contact photographer”. If you don’t’ have Gantt access yet, get on that first. Next, if you don’t have a pro photographer, read how to qualify and hire one.
6. Everything has a place and clutter impacts relationships. We can easily combine these two points into one. Decluttering your project site to be completely ready for your photo shoot supports what comes out on the other side. Most firms take charge of the site preparation nowadays to save cost and a great client is always willing to help support your photo shoot. If they aren’t supportive of your shoot, you may need to find another project. Partner with your pro photographer for a pre-shoot walk through the week of the shoot. They can advise on a valuable punch list of exactly what needs to be attended to for ideal visual impact come shoot day. Remember, less retouching saves photography costs.
7. Design your ideal (marketing) life. It’s your year to give yourself a fist bump. Here is one more HCP article links to help you plan your budget and maximize photo shoot plans this year. Focusing on the important job you do when you market your firm to elevate it’s brand (aka with stunning images that bring in more new work!) is surely a joy making, satisfying endeavor. Marie Kondo’s tidying up principles help support us in work and in life. After all, a happy marketer is a productive one.
Now go be a rock star already.
How can we partner to tidy up your