As designers one aspect of the project that’s most important, sometimes as much as the design concept itself, is capturing the project in perpetuity once it’s completed. This is incredibly important for us as a comprehensive design firm particularly with the range of services we offer. As is often said, “A picture says a thousand words,” this is true for us. If we can capture in one shot the architecture, interior design and the signage and graphics, we can visualize the breadth of our services in one shot. A single photograph can be used as a stand alone marketing piece.

What’s interesting about this topic though is that project photography is typically one of the last things to be accounted for. Project timelines and budgets are established and photography is not even mentioned. Certainly questions arise like, “Who will shoot the project,” and, “How much with the photographer cost?” And so we ask you – how do YOU account for these things – given the importance of capturing your projects in pictures? Do you work with the same photographer on every project so that you are familiar and comfortable with their fees, possibly even enough to put it in the budget from the start? Do you keep a photographer on retainer on a sustained monthly fee, despite the size of the individual project? I think we can all agree that capturing the project is vital, but what makes sense in the bigger picture and how do you ensure the project’s design concept will be transparent through the photography?

Architectural photography is a unique form in itself, very different from portraiture and product photography as there is typically a great deal of uncontrollable natural light and vast wide angles to deal with. One local photographer we have worked with in the past is studio Maha, an interior designer, fine artist and photographer. We have a special place in our hearts for Maha, not only because she is a former employee, but also because she has an innate knack for architectural photography and works wonders with natural light and wide, open angles.

These are some of the images studio Maha¬†recently shot of our work at UCSD. Looking at these photos we think Maha makes us look pretty darn good and it’s easy to be proud of the work we’ve done.

We’d love to hear from other designers/firms on the topic of photography! How do you handle project photography and what does it mean for your project in the end? Project photography should be a given, but in reality we know that sometimes it’s not. Let’s start the discussion of what works, what doesn’t and how we can make it an integral part of every project, even from the beginning.

  1. Ryan Gigs says:

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research about this. We grabbed a book from our local library but I think I learned better from this post. I\’m very glad to see such fantastic information being shared freely out there.

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