FAQ Part 1: What is your planning process for an architectural photo shoot?
Creating great architectural photos is much more than just showing up and snapping pictures.
Why invest the time and trouble in planning before a photo shoot?
Great images will represent the architect’s inspiration for his work. We're trying to answer the question, “What was the architect trying to say?” Most successful projects became reality by solving a client's problem. This can come in many forms: functional, aesthetic, financial, and even political. Illustrating how the architect solved these problems results in better photos.
Once the estimate is accepted, work begins! We create a Task List to make sure nothing is missed in the project planning process. First, we get the project on the calendar and make sure we have the necessary crew lined up. This almost always includes the Assistant Photographer but could also include a stylist or stager. In most cases people who appear in the photos can be drawn from the client or other staff. On occasion, we sometimes bring people in to be models.
TALK TO THE PROJECT PRINCIPAL
Critical to the success of a photo shoot is a conversation with the project principal. This is the person who most responsible for the project design concept. Our goal is to craft a visual narrative of the project. Whether by telephone, email, or in a meeting, we listen closely for what inspired the design. We also take note of important design details. We also want to know about the how the architect solved their client’s problems through design.
REVIEW DRAWINGS AND CREATE A SHOT LIST
We make it a point to review project drawings. In some cases, the principal will mark up the drawings with shooting locations or indicate key areas to be photographed. Renderings and photos of the project before or during construction are also helpful for reference. From this information, we’ll develop a shot list or be provided with one by the principal.
SCHEDULE A WALK THROUGH
If the project is accessible prior to the shooting day, a walk through with the architect and/or marketing staff of the firm is very helpful. Shooting locations are verified or modified. The project's condition is evaluated to make sure it is photo ready. Logistical issues involving people and equipment are also determined.
USE ONLINE TOOLS TO LOOK AT THE PROJECT
Whether it’s an interior or exterior project, we view the project on Google Maps to better understand how the project is sited. In order to sequence the shooting order, we also use an app to determine the position and angle of the sun for any given day at any given time. We'll know the optimum time of day when the exterior of the building is illuminated properly or even determine the precise hour of sunset for twilight shooting. It also helps us avoid unnecessary glare coming through the windows when we shoot interiors.
Planning results in better pictures.