Mike Kelley

Owner / Founder

I'm a photographer based in Los Angeles, California who specializes in photographing architecture; I also have a mild airplane obsession.

Announcing The Second Annual APAlmanac Architectural Photography Competition

Back for a second year, we are so excited to launch our annual photography competition again! The first year was a resounding success and we have improved and tweaked for an even better experience for our entrants this time around. We look forward to welcoming everyone to the best photography competition on the internet for the second year in a row.

Join Mike Kelley and Simon Devitt in Finland For a One-Of-a-Kind Workshop

In August 2023, Mike Kelley and Simon Devitt will host an exclusive workshop deep in Finland’s Archipelago National Park at the world-renowned and self-built Project Archipelago. Designed and built by Aleksi Hautamaki, founder of Bond Creative, it is located in some of the world’s most pristine wilderness surrounded by the placid blue waters of the Baltic Sea.

2021 Project of the Year Award Longlist (Part Two)

As we mentioned in Part One of Project of the Year’s longlist, there were so many phenomenal entries that we wanted to share with you. To keep the page speed flowing, we’ve broken this list up into two sections. Continuing our longlist for APALMANAC’s 2021 Project of the Year award, here are the second half of the favorite picks from the Project of Year submissions.

2021 Project of the Year Award Longlist (Part One)

Project of the Year might just be one of our favorite categories. In this day and age where everyone is a photographer, it seems like anybody can take a good photograph. What separates the masters from the just-plain-lucky though, is the ability to create consistent beautiful images over and over again.

2021 Photo of the Year Award Longlist

We knew the 2021 Photo of the Year category of the Architecture Photography Awards was going to have some incredible offerings, but wow! Our judges were looking for unforgettable photos that melded technical prowess with masterful storytelling and beautiful design.

2021 Early Career and Emerging Talent Awards Longlist

We have been absolutely blown away by the submissions for the first-ever APALMANAC Awards – especially the Early Career and Emerging Talent category. For being relatively new to the field, so many of you out there are making incredible work that is up there with even the most seasoned pros.

Hall, Merrick, and McCaugherty on the Craft and Business of Architectural Photography

Nick Merrick and Steve Hall have been photographing architecture longer than most readers of this blog have been alive (myself included). When you think of some of the most important architectural projects of the last 100 years, Merrick and Hall have probably been there, creating photographs to share the stories of these projects with the world.

Announcing The First APAlmanac Photography Awards

As the internet’s hub for architectural photography discussion and news, we felt it was only right for APAlmanac to host its own architectural photography showcase contest. Given the unique criteria by which architectural photography must be created, it must be judged with a critical eye.

Should I Charge a Licensing Renewal Fee?

LG Asks: I am an architectural photographer just starting out my business. I have downloaded the APA contract template as well as read articles about licensing. I had a question in regards to renewing a license. For example, when I photograph for a client and all goes well and licenses photos to the client for 5 years.

How Much Are Architectural Photographers Charging and Earning? The First Results of the APA Census Are Here

After leaving the APAlmanac Architectural Photography Census open for almost six months in 2020, we are here to report the results. An incredible 1,259 professional architectural photographers from all over the world completed and contributed to the survey, which has provided an amazing cross section of how and why we’re working, where we struggle, where we succeed, and so much more.

Introducing The APAlmanac Architecture Photography Contract Template

I am so proud to introduce The APAlmanac Contract Template. In over a decade of photographing architecture, I have talked to thousands of working photographers, whether it’s for a lunch, on an online forum, here on Apalmanac, or at workshops or conferences.

I’m Being Asked For COVID Discounts – Help!

M Asks: I’m getting quite a few requests for shoots starting late April / May. Everyone is pleading poverty, from £120m new openings (who I know had already budgeted marketing) to £10m refurbs. Every quote so far has asked for a reduction in fees. My own view is that I won’t lower my fee (mostly because my expenses & talent are same as pre-covid and I have a gut feeling that if I lower it, it will be impossible to raise later) but I am being super-flexible on pretty much all else.

Mike Kelley and Tom Harris Discuss The Business and Art of Architectural Photography

Tom Harris is an incredibly talented and charmingly down-to-earth friend of mine who has worked for some of the most esteemed architectural firms in the United States documenting architecture across the country. He was kind enough to sit down with me for an hour and chat about his background and his process.

Photographing Homes While California is Choked in Wildfire Smoke

For those of us living in California and the rest of the West Coast of the US, it’s been a crazy few months to say the least. Wildfire smoke has engulfed nearly every part of the region at some point over the past two months, turning skies grey and orange from Los Angeles to Seattle.

I’ll Just Fix That in Post, And Other Lies I Tell Myself

It’s been four years since my last educational photography project, and I am happy to announce the release of my first ever e-book: I’ll just Fix That in Post, And Other Lies I Tell Myself, a combination of group therapy, an epic self-roast (plenty of laughs at my expense) and technical manual to architectural photography.

The Problem With Hyper Real Renders (And Photographs!)

This short and poignant video by the B1M highlights the increasing propensity for renders to exaggerate the truth, leading to disappointed clients and impossible design goals for projects. Not only do these renders mislead the public, setting them (us!)

Do You Need An Architecture Degree To Photograph Architecture?

P asks: Is it possible to be an architectural photographer without previously being an architect? My girlfriend is an architect and our first idea is to open a studio together. Do I have options in this world without having studied a degree in photography or architecture?

How One of the Biggest Names in Photography and Visualization Deals With Attribution and Licensing

DBOX is an international creative communications agency that creates campaigns in the sectors of luxury residential, hospitality, commercial, and cultural property. Specializing in both renders and photography, DBOX is at the top of the global architecture marketing game and were kind enough to sit down for a chat with APA to discuss their inner business workings, their frustrations, and their efforts to remedy an industry-wide scourge.

Still Lives: Making Photographs During a Global Pandemic

When you’re obsessed with something, say, architectural photography, you can’t imagine a life without it, so you’re going to find a way to do it no matter what. Even in the midst of a pandemic, even if you have to use an awful camera, even if you just underwent back surgery.
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