Q. Why should I hire you as a professional architectural photographer?
My phone takes great pictures.
A. While that may be true, when you hire me you get an entire package. I can manage as much, or as little, of the scheduling process as necessary. You want to be hands off? Not a problem. I’ll contact your client to set up the shoot. Would you prefer to do a walk through of the space with me before hand? Great. You want me to work off a marked up floor plan? I’d be happy to! Just know that if I find another angle more compelling, I will take that shot as well and offer it as an option.
When I’m on-site, I find the best angle of any given shot, plant my camera and arrange all the furnishings and accessories around that angle. If needed, I’ll add supplemental lighting to brighten up those dark shadows. I’ll add people in the shot, if it’s requested. Each shot can take 30-45 minutes to accomplish – and that’s just when I’m on location.
Once I start processing the images, it can take double the amount of time that it did on-site. I make sure the exposure is balanced, pull in window exposures as needed and do a lot of retouching to make your image as beautiful as possible. I’ll automatically take out most outlets, light switches, cords etc. Usually I ask you to allow me a 2-3 week lead time for turning the images around.
Take a look at the before & after sample page to get an idea of the work each image takes before I get it into your hands.
Q. If I hire you to take photos of a project I designed, who owns the images?
A: I do. When you hire me, you are paying a licensing fee to use the images I create. Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are intellectual property and are protected by copyright from the moment the camera button is pressed. The photographer will own that copyright throughout their life and 25 years afterwards. Whether on a hard drive, in an online portfolio, or a post on Instagram, the photographer has exclusive rights to the image/s including reproducing the photography; preparing derivative works based on the photography; or distributing copies of the photography to other parties (by sale, rental, lease or lending).
As my client, you are buying certain rights to the photographs you hire me to take. These rights are spelled out in your estimate or invoice. Each of my images has copyright information embedded in the file.
Q: But I designed the space you are photographing. Doesn’t that mean I own the images? I still don’t understand.
A: Here are some analogies to help explain it.
- If you hired a musician to play a live set, could you record it and sell that as an album?
- If you design the interiors of a restaurant, can they use your design for free at all of their franchises?
- If an architect designs a home, can the homeowner sell the plans to other people?
Answer? No. Photographs work the same way. No one else can create the exact same photos that I do. They can photograph the same space, but the images will look completely different.
Q: I really want professional images to showcase my work, but I don’t have the budget for it. Is there anything that can help bring down the cost?
A: YES. If there are other parties interested in the images (if you’re the interior designer, think architect, contractor, tile company, cabinet company, flooring…), I can do a cost-share between parties. There is an upcharge for each party, and then the bill is split between all parties. Each party receives rights for their company to use the images. Each party is invoiced separately and receives their own set of digital files. The more parties involved, the lower your portion gets.
Q. Can I “gift” the images to my client?
A. Yes, but that requires paying for their portion of the cost-share scenario spelled out above. This would give them the same right to use the images as you have, and I would get them their own set of files.