Make your construction case study photography more effective
September 17, 2019
- Make sure that your case study poses the question, ‘What problem did we encounter and how did we solve it?’ Your photography should then illustrate that journey.
- Use a professional photographer. Smartphone cameras are great and we all know someone who takes a good picture, but trust me, a professional will be quicker, more adaptable, and will ultimately deliver what you need without the hassle.
- That said, many professional photographers claim to be jacks of all trades when they’re really not. Choose the right photographer for the job, not the same one for all. Local newspaper photographers are noteworthy for their ability to shoot ‘on the hoof’ and to make the best of prevailing conditions. Often this is just what you need when shooting case studies. With the decline in local newspapers many have been forced to go freelance, so I keep a contact book of ex-local newspaper photographers for just this purpose.
- Write down your brief – for both your own and the photographer’s reference and protection. Your brief should include the following basics:
- The subject matter and problem/solution described in point one above;
- The location of the shoot (address or addresses);
- The person to whom they should report on arrival;
- The name and contact details of someone to whom they can address questions on the day (ideally, this person will also be present);
- How and where the photos will be used;
- How and when the photos should be delivered, and in what format;
- Agreement on copyright and proposed usage;
- Agreement on price and payment terms;
- Whether or not the price includes any retouching;
- The specifics of any shots needed (e.g. showing the product being applied).
- Be flexible on the final point above. A good photographer will always try to deliver on the brief but may see a better way of achieving the same outcome. This is another good reason for having someone available on the day with whom they can confer.
- Photograph what your audience wants to see. Beautiful, wide-angle shots of finished structures are lovely, but if you’ve ever watched an architect (or engineer) approach a building you’ll note how often they’re captivated by detail. The same logic applies when presenting case study photography. Specifiers do want to see the final product, but they also want to see the ‘before’ – the problem, the product (or service) in action, how it unpacks, how it installs, and what it looks like in use, before any finishes have been applied.
- Finally, pay your photographer promptly. Case study photography is rarely a one-off – and it’s never, ever straightforward. If your photographer does a good job, you’ll want them back. You’ll be amazed how much more available – and flexible – they continue to be if you simply pay them on time!