Working with a Photographer
by Mike Butler
Good photography is important to architects and designers for documenting completed projects and for attracting new work. An experienced professional photographer can capture the feeling of a space, providing more than simply a literal representation. But finding the right photographer for your design style is not as simple as looking in a directory, and there are a few lessons to heed about developing a working relationship.
The first step is to request portfolios of photographers who specialize in architecture. The skills of fashion photographers, for example, may not include those needed to document the exterior elements of a building.
When evaluating portfolios, look for a good presentation, variety of work, and consistency in execution. If you specialize in contemporary design, for instance, look for a shooter who interprets that style well. Do they photograph both exteriors and interiors effectively? Also, look for images that are well balanced compositionally and capture a feeling of the space.
Pay attention to detail in the portfolio images and notice if the photographer has neglected unswept floors or left unsightly trash cans in view. These seemingly minor things can greatly reduce the effectiveness of the image and thus your client's perception of you as an architect.
When you speak to the photographer, try to sum up his or her personality and anticipate any conflicts that could affect a shoot. It's also helpful to ask about experience beyond the scope of the current job. For example, even if the assignment is local, a photographer with international experience is likely to be adept at handling unexpected logistical problems. >>>
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This photograph of a clubhouse in West Palm Beach, Florida, designed by Jack Noller, was part of a series that helped builder Phil Modenos of GCS, Boca Raton win the Florida Prism Award.
Photo: Mike Butler
Van Cleef Arpels Store, in West Palm Beach, Florida, designed by TPG Architecture, was photographed at dusk using supplemental lighting to highlight the internal displays and store logo.
Photo: Mike Butler
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