architectural photographer

Vista Pearl Aerials & Exteriors – BORA Architects

What are the Four Types of Photographers

The other day, my barber asked me: “So what do you do?”

I told him I was a photographer, so he proceeded to tell me all about his buddy who shoots weddings. And while I wanted to relate on this shared commonality, I had to be honest with myself: shooting weddings is extremely different from shooting commercially.

As I was searching for a way to explain the difference, it dawned on me: All service-based businesses use similar “tools” in their jobs, but how they use the tools varies wildly.

For example: a plumber and a mechanic both use a wrench, yes, but would you hire your plumber to fix your car? Tools are just that: Tools.

In that same vein, just because a photographer carries around a camera doesn’t mean he or she possesses the necessary skill set to approach each assignment with the same level of expertise. As for me, I’m primarily an Architectural Photographer. Over the past two decades, I’ve filled my toolbox with the knowledge required to approach each assignment with care and consideration. If you need me to beautifully photograph a building with expert technical precision, I’m your man. If you need me to shoot your daughter’s senior portrait, I’m going to pass; frankly, I don’t know the first thing about shooting a teenager’s portrait.

To break it down, I feel there are four basic types of professional photographers, each of which can be very general or very niche. So, before you hire a photographer for your next project, take note of the following.

Commercial Photographer

Photo from my last shoot for Hunter Douglas

Commercial photographers are B2B. They know how to work with other businesses, collaborate in teams, and acquire the resources needed to pull off complex shoots with detailed creative briefs.

Need to secure a location permit and close down a street?! A commercial photographer knows a guy who knows a guy. But if you ask that commercial photographer to shoot your wedding, he’s going to overthink it and probably have you walk down the aisle repeatedly to get the shot just right.

Photojournalist

Photo from Leah Nash’s series about Asperger Syndrome – www.leahnash.com

Photojournalists prime responsibilities include reporting on the news and shooting documentary photo essays. The ones I’ve met are some of the most talented, hardworking, and dedicated people with a camera.

But if you want them to shoot an architectural project, photojournalists are going to approach it like a war zone: “Shoot first, ask questions later.” They also probably wouldn’t even retouch it because to them, it would be unethical.

Retail Photographer (Weddings, Portraits, B2C)

Jen Fariello Photography – www.jenfariello.com

Wedding & Portrait photographers are typically B2C: they get hired by brides and grooms, families, pet owners – basically, the whole gamut of consumers. Some W&P photographers will also dabble in commercial work like headshots for businesses. But their core specialty is the consumer and they are great one-on-one, just like a boutique business should be.

However, if you have an ad campaign to shoot, a wedding photographer is probably not going to have the resources to find a producer, cast talent, and pull permits for locations. I’m sure they know a really killer band and a wonderful caterer though.

Art Photographer

Photo from Holly Andres series “Fieldcrest Drive” www.hollyandres.com

Even though photography is an art form, not all photographers are what I would call “artists”. In fact, I would consider most photographers to be craftsmen – myself included. They dedicate their careers to perfecting the craft and creating photographs for others’ use. Art photographers, on the other hand, shoot purely to create some of the meaning for themselves. Their work is an expression of their feelings. If you hire an art photographer to shoot your ad campaign, you’re letting them lead the vision and direct the creative. But, if you already have a clear creative vision in mind, then you’re better off finding a commercial photographer who can execute it properly.

Next Steps: Vet the Photographer

Now that you know the four types of photographers, you’ll be much better off finding the right person (or studio) for your next shoot. But before making your hire, you should ask them some questions to find out if they’re a pro or an amateur.

Questions like:

  • Can I see a full shoot (proofs and final images)?
  • Do you carry liability insurance?
  • Do you shoot RAW or JPEG?
  • How do you backup files from your shoot?
  • What can expect before, during, and after the shoot?
  • Have you shot this kind of job before?
  • How much retouching do you do?

How can I help you?

Do you have an upcoming commercial photography project you need help on? Contact me today and I will gladly help you out. If I’m not a good fit, I have some great recommendations for you. Click here to go to my contact page.

Industrial-Chic Shoot Featured on Dwell

I’m always so excited for my clients when one of their projects I shoot for them gets published on a major industry site. Last week it was the New York Times, this week my client Emerick Architects was featured on Dwell for this amazing industrial-chic Portland warehouse they remodeled. Definitely one of those #loftgoals kinds of places. Here’s a snippet from the article:

Blending raw industrial elements with elegant detailing, this one-of-a-kind home is a poster child for adaptive reuse.

Inspired by the loft conversions of TriBeCa, a pair of former New Yorkers were keen on an industrial-chic aesthetic when they purchased an 8,000-square-foot warehouse to serve as their new home in Southeast Portland. To bring their adaptive-reuse abode to life, the couple tapped local studio Emerick Architects,

Read the whole article here: https://www.dwell.com/article/division-street-residence-emerick-architects-b642d074

Want to Get Your Work Published?

Over the past 16 years, I’ve shot for and been published in the top home decor and architecture magazines. When you work with me, I will gladly help you promote your project to my exclusive list of photo editors, bloggers, and influencers.

Contact me today to book your next shoot.

 

“A Portland Craftsman, Cubed” Featured in New York Times

Ever have one of those projects that come together in a mystical kind of way? The signs are all there. The pieces fall into place just right. And you feel like you’re just meant to be there. That happened to me on this shoot for Bebee Skidmore Architects.

I first my Heidi Bebee and Doug Skidmore back in 2012 when I shot a story for Dwell in Boise, ID. They’re incredibly talented architects and their modern approach to remodeling older homes has become their signature style. And for good reason! They really have a unique vision and it’s very creative and fun.

It Gets Weird

Okay, here’s the woo woo stuff. Heidi and Doug reached out to me to photograph this project earlier this year. It had been shot already by another photographer, but they liked what I shot for them so much in that Dwell story, they wanted my take on shooting this project. (Side note: It doesn’t take much for me to want to go back to Portland. Hint. Hint. Wink. Wink.) So, when they send me the address, I notice the house is on Lincoln St. Of course it is. Then I meet the homeowners, Arrow and Jessica Kruse. My sister’s name is Jessica. Then I meet their kids, Odin and Alder. My son’s name is Odin and it’s not a very common name. Totally crazy set of coincidences! I just knew it was going to be an awesome shoot.

It Gets Better

Heidi and Doug were so excited by the photographs, that they didn’t want share them right away. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? They’re very smart and shopped the project around before posting it all over the web and what not. The New York Times picked up the story and the prolific architectural writer Brian Libby wrote a great article to go with the photos. You can read it here online right now at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/11/realestate/a-portland-craftsman-cubed.html

Tips for Clients

If you have a special project that has potential for publication, DON’T put it on your website or social media right away. All the major magazines and newspapers love exclusive first rights to architecture and interior design stories. And if the photographs are shot in a well-crafted way (like the way I do), then it’s very likely that the magazine will license the photographs directly from the photographer and you find yourself in a a win-win situation. The magazine gets great images. You get great publicity. Everyone is happy.

Here’s some of favorites from the shoot including a few that didn’t run in the story.

Need Help Getting Great Images?

I wish I could shoot everything for everyone all the time. Reality is that I can’t. But I can help you make your shoots go better. I have a handy little guide called, “10 WAYS TO MAKE AN ARCHITECTURE SHOOT BETTER.”

It’s a free download! Just enter in your full name and email below and I’ll send it your way.

Hunter Douglas “Beauty Awakens” Ad Campaign

Okay, I’ve been excited to share things before, but this takes the cake. It’s the feather in my cap. It’s the bees knees to Nth degree. It’s the biggest ad campaign my work has been featured in… ever… or least in my 16 year career so far.

I’ve loved this shot ever since I took it for Hunter Douglas. It’s really me all summed up in one picture: architectural, great styling, people naturally placed, beautiful light, and technically superb. It’s flawless, yet relaxed… timeless, yet real.

And now, Hunter Douglas is using it as an iconic hero photograph in a massive fall print ad campaign. Over the next three months, you will see this double-page ad featured in the following magazines:

That’s a lot of ink! I just picked up some of the September issues. Guess what’s in all these magazines?

HD-Campaign_Covers

Boom!

HD-Campaign_Tears

Now, that’s how you do a brand awareness campaign.

When asked why they decided to go with this shot for the campaign, Hunter Douglas’ VP Creative Director, Donald Montgomery, simply said, “It’s the best shot we have.”

And I’m done. Drop the mic, exit stage left. Thank you to everyone helped me out on this shoot. I couldn’t have done it without you. Big hugs and high fives all around.

Stylist: Bergren Rameson
Photography Art Direction: Nicole Stowe – Ramey
Producer: Heather Smith – Smith X Union
Model: Nicole Herold
Location Scout: Lisa Rothmuller – San Diego Locations
Camera: Alpa XY with PhaseOne Digital Back from Capture Integration


Are you ready to make an iconic photograph for your brand?

Contact me today about your vision and I will make it happen for you.

The Best Time of Year to Photograph Architecture

September_Architecture_Lincoln-Barbour_01

August is rapidly coming to a close and I am super excited for September. Why? You may ask. Because we are approaching the Autumnal Equinox and that means great light… all… day… long.

For the few weeks before and after September 22nd, the sun angle is right around 40˚ which is like Rembrandt lighting for buildings. The shadow lines are perfect. There’s just the right amount of low angle light during early morning and late afternoon. And in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer haze has cleared for gorgeous skies with all the plants and trees still pretty much green. You really can’t go wrong shooting in September. Check out this diagram to see what I’m talking about.

Here are some of my favorite projects that I shot in September’s beautiful light.

Even if you have already wrapped up your project, if it wasn’t captured in September, you really should shoot it again to see what an improvement the light at this time of year makes.

Fortunately, I still have a few spots open in September and if you’d like to book a shoot, click here to reach out to me.

Bonus Guide for Architects and Interior Designers

Want to know some easy ways you can improve your architectural shoots? Check out my handy little guide called: 10 WAYS TO MAKE AN ARCHITECTURE SHOOT BETTER. It’s a free download! Just enter in your full name and email and I’ll send it your way.

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