It’s picture time.

Your firm provided architecture, engineering or construction services for a new signature project. You’re eager to get quality images for marketing purposes.

You’ve hired a skilled photographer and scheduled the photo shoot. You’re ready to go.

But wait…

Don’t forget to discuss some key topics so that you maximize the photography expense and future use of the images.

Is the Site Ready?

Before you get too far in your planning, confirm that the owner agrees to the photo shoot. And make sure the site is at its best.

Check the following:

  • Is landscaping complete?
  • Is the signage done? Are there any logo or name changes?
  • Have you contacted all project partners to see if they want to share the photography expense?

A building, park or roadway may be open for use, but that doesn’t mean you should be rushing to take project photos. The landscaping may need a few more months before it’s at its peak.

Wait until the site looks great unless you only need interior shots.

What Images Will Tell Your Story?

Do all partners agree on the goals of the photo shoot? Different companies may require different views to achieve their marketing goals. The number of required shots will impact your fee.

Consider the following:

  • Exterior shots
  • Interior shots
  • Time of day and weather impacts
  • Need for an empty facility
  • Model releases, if necessary

If you don’t live near the project site, ask your on-site staff or others to help you. They can take test photos that may reveal the best time of day for the photo shoot and other considerations.

Will a morning shot enhance the project or will a twilight scene result in a dramatic image? Share the test results with your photographer and then finalize your plans.

How to Create an Exceptional Image

Photographers appreciate a client’s specific input.

Kyle Wege, owner/photographer of Crimson Sun Studios, Madison, Wisconsin, said, “It’s great to learn what unique aspects each space or place has and what the client wants to feature. That way we can create the most captivating imagery for their marketing.”

When planning a photo shoot, Wege considers many elements, including the following:

  • Different angles
  • Unique features of focus
  • Relevant motions and activities
  • Proper mood

By collaborating with your photographer, you’ll end up with quality images that enhance your firm’s brand.

Safety First

A key component of any photo shoot is making sure the site complies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, especially if construction is underway.

As the photographer or marketing professional, you should be asking, “Are we safe here?”

Have you arranged for a project manager to inspect the scene? Their checklist may include the following:

  • Are visitors wearing proper safety gear?
  • Are construction workers wearing appropriate hard hats or harnesses?
  • Does the photo plan cover key aspects of the project, such as new technology?

Post-production review

Before your photos go live, make sure project managers or supervisors take another look. They may see a glaring OSHA violation that went undetected. Or perhaps a site appears to violate a safety rule because of the perspective.

With careful inspection, a firm’s photo will enhance its reputation and not show questionable safety practices. In the worst case scenario, an obvious OSHA violation in a photo could potentially lead to a fine.

Supervisors also may provide key details about a specific photo that help explain how your firm solved a problem. Then use those insights in social media posts or future proposals.

 Sharing photos

Once you have the photos, look for ways to use them. And don’t forget that photos can be cropped to highlight certain aspects or create a montage of finishes or other features. Consider the following:

  • Websites
  • Social media posts
  • Proposals
  • Case studies/white papers
  • Award submittals
  • Framed photos for hallways and conference rooms
  • Trade show booths
  • Postcards

Saving Photos

The photo shoot is over and you’re delighted with the outcome. Now what?

Maximize the use of your images with efficient photo management and backup system. Use descriptive keywords and other relevant criteria to categorize photos and set the stage for easy retrieval in the future. You can even tag your favorites.

As your photo inventory grows, you’ll need a workable system to find the most appropriate images. Establish a firm-wide process for saving photos and related graphics so you can easily find them in the future.

Keys to a Successful Photo Shoot

With a bit of planning, you can obtain quality photos that you’ll use for years.

Look for ways to collaborate with your partners, clarify the types of photos you need and address safety issues. Then maximize the use of your photos to take advantage of your investment.

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