Build season is fast approaching, your marketing (and/or project) budgets have been set. You’re thinking about what projects will complete this year, and among those, which will you choose to have professionally photographed?
Here are three key criteria to consider:
1. Which market projects have the biggest profit margins for your firm?
This will vary so I ask the question that I know your firm will know the answer to — particularly if you were placed in a rapid fire round of a game show with the whole pot of money up for grabs. So if it’s healthcare, affordable housing, or education renovation projects, focus there.
2. Which projects will help you get more new work (or design awards) by showcasing them?
Which markets in your firm do you want to grow, or break into in the short term? Your answers will help you further define which projects really matter, and deserve investment in time and effort to capture the vision of their design and the quality of their construction. Everyone has seen an office space, whether new construction or a renovation. However, what if this one project has a unique feature, for example, a collaborative recreation space, a huddle room, unique sculptural details and artistry, or movable partitions/walls?
Now let’s talk design award planning for a moment.
Design awards are a major goal for most AEC firms each year. Anticipating which awards and each of their deadlines takes some stealth planning, at least a year ahead, knowing they occur at typically the same time annually. This approach helps you anticipate what you’ll need to get photographed in time to compete. Because most design award submissions are due the year following project completion, and very often during unfavorable months to capture photography, you need a plan. It’s never too early to bring in your photographer, or start the search for one so you’re prepared when they are needed. These are not images you leave to your project manager to take, trust me, you’ll be glad you took a little extra time to plan for them (and save the rush fees pro photographers charge when the timeline is squeezed into weeks).
3. Which projects have unique features, innovation or technologies, custom materials or complex installation/application that will feature your firm’s capacity to execute them with elegance every time? Here’s one example, I have a client installing an underground auto-parking garage that will take vehicles by conveyor belt and move them to their stacked parking space. When it’s time to “call” for your vehicle, you meet it at the garage entrance platform on the ground level. Wouldn’t this be amazing to capture and share when the next project comes your way that features this technology? /your firm’s now experienced in this very type of successful installation.
Take this example one step further and consider capturing progress photography of the installation and you’ve just created what I like to call a “complete story”. Images that can be used for case studies and more, all to get your firm more new projects that build off these successes.
If you’re still working those budget numbers as we speak, I’m here to help. Check out my article on how to get the most out of your photography budget this year, here.
Before we wrap up, here three more questions to consider:
- What is the end-use for our project images? Is it for overall marketing needs (standard landscape images), or website banners, or square ups, with alternate sizes?
- Are there project partners that may want to share in the cost of the photography? Learn how cost-sharing works here.
- How else can you use our images to maximize ROI? Subscribe to learn 10 creative ways to use them, here.
What if even after reviewing your project list, you really can’t decide on the top projects for your firm? Not all projects are portfolio-worthy, and if you’re still struggling, I can help. With a short discussion, we can sort it out together and choose which would be the best fit for hiring a professional.
Let’s talk about your projects together!