Let’s talk about making money. The most common questions in the APALMANAC inbox are about pricing. Pricing architecture and interior photography can be nuanced and chock full of variables like usage, licensing, creative fees, post-production fees, assistant charges, and the like.
For the past few years I’ve been focusing my energy on establishing myself as an interior design and architecture photographer and with that came a lot of very expensive purchases. The type of equipment we need to develop ourselves in this industry is very specialized and is often accompanied by a hefty price tag.
LinkedIn is a robust B2B social media platform with an abundance of business networking features that can often cause confusion on how to get the most out of it. I like to look at it as an in-person networking event, where you selected everyone in the room to be there. You get to fill the room with successful people that share an interest in what you do, help others while showing you are knowledgeable in your field, and give them a taste of your work and personality.
If you’ve been a photographer for any stretch of time, you probably know that it’s easy enough to take a good picture. But how do you get paid to take those pictures in the first place? By far the most common questions that we receive here at the Almanac are business-related. What to charge, how to license, how to deal with infringements, how to market your services, and so on.
Marketing as a photographer is more than just showcasing your portfolio. There are many places for you to market your brand like social media, emailers, print mailers, etc. Wherever you are marketing, you’ll need content to go with it. Our instincts are to show portfolio-worthy content but, there is a huge benefit to being real with your audience.
For the years I worked in sales and marketing, there was a principle I kept in mind that I learned early on in my career: people do business with people they like. Barbara Corcoran from ‘Shark Tank’ has a fantastic quote related to this…
“If people like you, they’re going to want to do business with you.
Several weeks ago during a conversation with a prospective home builder client, I was asked “what’s the difference between you and [redacted] real estate photography?” Now, to be honest, the builder was trying to push my buttons a bit to see how I would respond. See, when I quoted him my rates, he did a total per image breakdown and found out that what he would potentially be paying me for just one photo, is about what he pays this RE photography company to shoot an entire house!
We all know that awful, sinking feeling at the end of a long day when the client says, “Oh hey, can we just grab one more quick shot?” When I had a day rate, those feelings of defeat, exhaustion, and frustration were real. Since I switched to billing hourly, those conversations go something more like this:
Client: “Oh hey, can we just grab one more quick shot?”
I love seeing the brilliant ideas photographers put into place on their websites, Instagrams, or mention in forums. I’ve noticed that the ones I’m particularly drawn to have less to do with how to make great photos, and more to do with how to run a great business. They typically deal with copyright, marketing, and setting client expectations.
The topic of licensing as it relates to photography can be confusing, and rightfully so. It’s not the easiest subject to understand and very few people are thoroughly familiar with the topic. Unfortunately, because of this unfamiliarity – many individuals and businesses make assumptions and end up using or distributing photos that they’re really not supposed to.
Like many, I started my photography business without a clue of where I wanted to take it, without a support system, and quite frankly, without enough cash in my bank accounts. I was a frustrated artist in a dead-end job, looking to create a brighter future for myself. I also wanted to enjoy what I did, rather than dread every morning commute that led me to a cubicle.
Behind-the-scenes content is some of the most enjoyable and informative to consume in my opinion. I love seeing how other photographers go about their business and find this is a great way to quickly pick up new ways of working that I may be able to incorporate into my own work.
Along those lines, everyone’s favorite modern furniture distributor, Design Within Reach, created a short time-lapse film showcasing how they go about creating their product imagery from the ground up.
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.
While he isn’t specifically in the architectural or interiors niche, Joel Grimes is an impressive photographer.
His portraits, landscapes, and composite images are of the highest quality. You could think of him as a performer in the Champions League of Photographers (sorry, I am European, so translated for my American friends: the Superbowl).
You just wrapped up an amazing shoot and delivered the images to your client, who loves them as always. A week or two later, you’re contacted by a publication asking to use the images in a story they are running.
This is awesome! You’re over the moon and swelling with pride. But wait – what should you charge for publication usage of your photos?
One of my goals for the new year is to endeavor to figure out what the heck an NFT is, and how, if at all, it could affect or benefit my work as a photographer. As luck may have it, a serendipitous scroll through my Instagram feed led me to a recent article on the subject by one of our favorite photographers here at APAlmanac, our good friend Peter Molick.
Images play a major role in defining how we come to know architecture and interior
spaces. Because photography is pivotal in understanding the built environment, choosing a professional to photograph your project is a most important consideration.
If you’re an architectural photographer looking to have an excellent new year of jobs with good client experiences, communication, and expectations, we have an awesome tool for you!
Ok, full disclosure…I got out of the real estate photography game a few years ago. But like myself, I would assume many architectural photographers used real estate as a launching pad for their professional careers. Via some other local photographers and “people watching” certain Facebook groups, I still keep my ear to the ground somewhat on this genre.
Just writing about my first book – Budapest Architecture – here makes my heart beat fast.
Before I jump into sharing the how behind this project, I think it is important to tell you the why. Since you’re reading this post on Mike Kelley’s APALMANAC, I assume you’ve already come across his book New Architecture Los Angeles.
How can you make a living by doing what you love – for us, that’s taking photos of buildings and interiors – while there are thousands of others doing the same?
For me, there is only one answer to that question: learn how to add value to the business of your client. There are many different ways to make an impactful difference that allows you to stand out from your competition.