When interviewing architectural photographers, most often we find that clients focus on what questions they will ask — and many times how we as photographers answer them. But the way to tell the difference between a good photographer and a GREAT one, is not the questions they answer, but the questions they ask.
Here are a list of questions that a great photographer will ask you.
Can I scout your location before the shoot?
Location, location, location! When preparing for an architectural shoot, many potential challenges of the day can be prepared for (or even eliminated!) during a location scout. This is a great time to see the traffic patterns of the facility, prepare for the amount of daylight coming through the windows, and most importantly set a production schedule based on that timing. If a photographer doesn’t see your facility before the day of the shoot, he or she cannot plan for how shadows are cast on the building—or any number of unknowns—which can waste a perfectly good production day and delay receiving your final images.
What will be the use, sizes and shapes of your final images?
After location scouting, the length of time needed to produce each shot plays a huge role in making the production schedule for a shoot day. Knowing how the images will be used helps the photographer determine the order of each shot and how he or she should delegate time. Photography that is documentary in nature normally does not take as much time as images that are used for web development or submission into competitions; the higher-end your usage is the longer images to take to produce. A photographer assuming your image will be used for marketing booklets instead of the intended tradeshow booth can lead to the wrong kind of image and a second-rate final product.
Do I have your permission to remove clutter and control the details?
Paying attention to the small details of a shot separates true professionals from amateurs. While shooting both interiors and exteriors, little things such as trashcans, power cords, and burnt out light bulbs these keep images from achieving their full potential. A photographer who knows what he or she is doing can either change angles or remove distractions on set. And the details of postproduction work are equally important as those on the shoot! Sometimes exit signs, fire extinguishers, and other permanent but unsightly fixtures draw a viewer’s eye away from the beauty of a building. They might do everything else right, but if photographers forget these small things, their work looks sloppy (and you can tell right away).
Can I control the lighting in the space?
In an architectural shoot, light can come from many sources: ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, daylight coming through the widows, and more. By understanding the difference in colors of light the photographer will then know the best type of artificial lighting to bring on the shoot. While shooting, a photographer should use custom color balance to match what the camera is seeing with what the human eye sees. Combining these techniques and knowledge brings a cleaner image into post production and bring a fullness of depth to your final imagery that you just don’t get with an amateur.
Will you need to maintain use of the space while the shoot is in progress?
Prospective clients have shared with me that they’ve had issues with photographers being unable to keep the shoot from disrupting normal functioning of the facility. Business waits for no photographer! Architectural photographers should always be keenly aware to the culture of the company that is being photographed—keeping quiet and moving efficiently through a working hospital or office space is a must! Also any industrial or manufacturing environment requires extra safety precautions; lacking sure-footing and mental awareness of the surroundings puts photographers in a dangerous situation and jeopardizes their professional reputation.
A Seasoned Professional Provides the Right Perspective
A good sales pitch for a photographer normally includes a presentation of their strongest images and answering your interview questions. A good photographer is prepared for this—but a GREAT photographer takes it a step further. After working in the industry for years, an experienced professional anticipates the challenges that might come with your architectural project and brings their own perspective to make sure your space looks picture perfect.
Still think there’s more to learn about desirable traits in a photographer? Check out our Journals about what it means to be a good vendor and why your vendors should carry commercial insurance.
Have you had a photographer fail because they didn’t ask these questions? Tell us about it! And then put us to the test and see how we stand up to these standards. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a quote or more information on how we can help you achieve your company’s goals.