Incorporate Photography into Your AEC Marketing Processes


We all know photography is the best way to tell the story of a project in your marketing efforts yet many times it moves to the back burner. You may have a soon-to-be completed project on your to-do list, but by the time you call to schedule a photographer there is no availability. Or perhaps the short window of opportunity for website-worthy photography is gone.


For all these reasons, it’s important to stay on top of your project photography, making and keeping it a priority. Here are four tips on how to do just that.


Add to Project Procedures

If you have maintained a checklist for project closeout, be sure to add photography as a key task to include. You know approximately when the project will be complete. As the date draws closer, schedule time with the photographer. If possible, schedule interior and exterior photography shots before the project is overrun with “stuff” cluttering the design intent. Don’t forget that “in progress” photos can be crucial to telling the story of the project, especially for infrastructure and construction projects.


Include Photography to Your Budget

Things tend to happen when we’ve allocated dollars. Annually, review the projects that are likely to need photography in the coming 12-month period. Assign a dollar amount for each. Sure, some projects may pop up that were unexpected, but having the projects in your budget will help keep them top of mind.


Create and Communicate Your Shot List 

Once you have your project list and budget, work with your project manager/team to formulate a shot list. It can be very helpful to do a walkthrough of the project with the project manager and photographer (shot list in hand) so you can capture intent. If that isn't possible, be sure to ask your project manager a lot of questions you can be explicit about your needs and the photographer can do their job well. Here are some items to consider:

  • Identify your purpose for the photos (award submittals, website, proposals).
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the focus of the photography? What are you trying to communicate to your audience?
  • Which perspectives of the building and site do you need photographed? Ground-view? Aerial? Up close?
  • What orientation would like for the photos? Portrait? Landscape? Both?
  • Which parts of the project would you like photographed?
  • Do you need pictures of certain processes? If so, how much time does your photographer have before the opportunity to capture those images has passed?


Schedule your photographer well in advance. Give them all the necessary information such as addresses, names, and phone numbers of contacts (they may need to contact your client for access to the building, property, or construction site if you or your project manager is not going to the site with them). Finally, be sure to plan ahead. Establish what times are best for the photographer to be on-site, and listen to their insights and needs. Collaborate with them as you would with any partner to ensure that their best work shows your best work.


Coordinate With the Whole Team


Do you have team partners (subconsultants, contractor, subcontractors) who may wish to share photography costs? Sharing photography minimizes calls to the client and building occupants.


After the photoshoot, offer the professional photos to the owner. A framed photo makes a wonderful gift for their new building.

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