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Thread started 18 Nov 2012 (Sunday) 22:16
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How to Get Clients as an Architectural Photographer

 
photog8
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Nov 18, 2012 22:16 |  #1

I relatively new to photography and I am interested in pursuing architectural photography. I would like to build my portfolio and get a couple of clients to get started.

My goal is to take pictures of buildings and real estate exclusively, but I would be open to other types of projects initially. Right now, I have a portfolio of structures in the downtown of my city, but I am looking for a way to build a real estate portfolio.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how I can build a portfolio, how to find clients, and market my work? Also, what type of organizations would be good prospects for an architectural photographer other than construction companies or real estate companies?




  
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mikekelley
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Nov 19, 2012 00:28 |  #2

I wouldn't try to pursue architectural photography right off the bat. Instead, see if you can shoot a realtor friend's listings (do one or two for free/very cheap to get a hang of it and see if you like it) and try to get in that way. It's all who you know. After a couple of years shooting real estate (using lights), try to shoot for some interior designers or stagers who are friends of the realtors that you've been shooting for (trusting that your work is getting better and better).

The reason you'll want to use lights is because the natural progression is RE > ID > Arch work. And trust me nobody is shooting professional, magazine-quality interior design work via HDR. So shoot for some interior design clients, nail the shots, make the spaces look great, get a few shots in some magazines, and so on.

After some more time spent doing that, you will have interior design clients who know architects and can refer you. Do be aware, however, that architectural photography is REALLY tough right now - architects' budgets are the tightest that they have been since the dawn of time, and the expectation of perfection is absolutely off the charts. I have found that in many cases, the tight budgets coupled with the crazy high perfection standards is often not worth it, as it leads to me doing way more work and 'perfection-izing' if you will, but I do have some awesome clients that I really like working with and who constantly keep me stimulated with interesting structures. That's how I see it anyway, it's nothing against architects, but I have found that I can be more creative and relaxed while shooting interior design, and often bag more money for the same amount of work than I would shooting architecture.

That being said, if you put in the time there is no reason you can't be a successful architectural photographer, just be aware that the market conditions are kind of iffy right now and you need contacts and referrals to get anywhere. It's definitely one of, if not the hardest, fields to get into as a full time gig.

Of course you can jump around and not do everything in 100% that order, but that's generally how it works. Architects and designers I find are very loyal to their clients and will refer you around if they like your work. Also don't forget hotels, restaurants, and most any business with a storefront location will need great photography and those are good options to check out as well.

It is a long process no matter how you slice it, though.


Los Angeles-Based Architectural, Interior, And Luxury Real Estate Photography (external link)
How To Photograph Real Estate and Architecture (external link)
My Fine Art Galleries (external link)
My articles at Fstoppers.com (external link)

  
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JacobPhoto
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Nov 19, 2012 20:01 |  #3

^^^^ Listen to this guy. He's the first guy I thought of when you mention 'architectural' work. Read the articles in his links, read through his huge thread about his trials and tribulations.


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mikekelley
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Nov 22, 2012 13:28 |  #4

Where is OP??


Los Angeles-Based Architectural, Interior, And Luxury Real Estate Photography (external link)
How To Photograph Real Estate and Architecture (external link)
My Fine Art Galleries (external link)
My articles at Fstoppers.com (external link)

  
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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
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Nov 23, 2012 09:20 as a reply to  @ mikekelley's post |  #5

Agree. Mike's been around here a long time, and has posted good info about business and technical aspects of RE photography. Probably a good place to start your reading / research.


Website (external link) |

  
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photog8
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Nov 24, 2012 17:41 as a reply to  @ Picture North Carolina's post |  #6

Thank you, Mike!

I will definitely check out some of your other posts.




  
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photog8
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Nov 24, 2012 18:09 as a reply to  @ mikekelley's post |  #7

By the way, how much should you charge to shoot a house for a realtor? I heard that $300 is a fair price, but I wanted to get your take on it.

Are you supposed to offer them prints for this price or just access to the digital images while you keep the copyright?




  
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JacobPhoto
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Nov 25, 2012 19:49 |  #8

photog8 wrote in post #15284508 (external link)
By the way, how much should you charge to shoot a house for a realtor? I heard that $300 is a fair price, but I wanted to get your take on it.

Are you supposed to offer them prints for this price or just access to the digital images while you keep the copyright?

I don't think it's a cut-and-dry situation. A million dollar house will take more time to shoot and have more details that will need to be accentuated than a $250k 'standard' single-family home.

Did you see how Mike Kelley does some of his shoots in his youtube videos? Some of his shots are compositions of 30 or more images and take an hour or two on site and several hours in the digital dark room per image. If you're doing several images like that for $300, you'll never come out profitable in the end.


~ Canon 7d / 5D ~ Novatron strobe setup + Vagabond
~ Some L glass, some flashes, the usual

  
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Architective
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Jan 19, 2013 19:31 as a reply to  @ JacobPhoto's post |  #9

You might consider another route also - start with Contractors. They are not as discerning in taste, but they also give you access to spaces that you might not have the good fortune to photograph if you're starting with the architect/designer. As an Architect myself, I can tell you that Contractors are a lot easier to get along with, and typically have more of a budget at the end of a job than the architect. Plus, if you're willing to swallow your pride and develop a relationship with them, go shoot some spaces for free just to fill your portfolio and share some with them for their time /generosity, it will come around.

Just my .02. It worked for me...




  
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breal101
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Jan 20, 2013 07:46 |  #10

Architective wrote in post #15509822 (external link)
You might consider another route also - start with Contractors. They are not as discerning in taste, but they also give you access to spaces that you might not have the good fortune to photograph if you're starting with the architect/designer. As an Architect myself, I can tell you that Contractors are a lot easier to get along with, and typically have more of a budget at the end of a job than the architect. Plus, if you're willing to swallow your pride and develop a relationship with them, go shoot some spaces for free just to fill your portfolio and share some with them for their time /generosity, it will come around.

Just my .02. It worked for me...

It's worked for me too. If you can make an agreement with the contractor to give you contact information for his subcontractors and vendors you may be able to sell some photos to them. Landscapers, pool installers, marble and granite installers, plumbers and electricians will sometimes buy pictures of high end projects for their own advertising. It's more of a long shot but the door and window manufacturers, etc. may be interested.

Architects will hire photographers, generally when they have a project they're entering into a competition.


"Try to go out empty and let your images fill you up." Jay Maisel

  
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How to Get Clients as an Architectural Photographer
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