7 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting as an Architecture Photographer

Starting a carrier in our industry can be exciting and very rewarding once you jump through the hopes and established your business.

There are many things to do when running a business, and it’s important to put the focus on the right place.

Here are several key points to try and avoid when starting as an Architectural Photographer.

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Not understanding your client’s business

Being an architecture photographer does not mean you only work with architects there are more than dozens of industry professionals that require your services.

These can be the interior designers, lighting, furniture and kitchen company, hotels, restaurants, cafes, and retail spaces.

Each one of them has a different agenda and needs, yes all of them want amazing pictures, but most of the work, uses and leverages those pictures differently and each one of them has its focal point.

It’s important to understand what is the goal of your client, and who are their clients? How do they purchase their services or products? What style works for them? How many pictures do they need and what type (open, close, dramatic, bright, retouched) they are looking for.

So don’t run and do the same things you do for one person and the same for the others, as we are hired to create results for our clients and not just capture beautiful images.

Focusing on social media too much

Well everyone is on social media these days, so what? Don’t get me wrong social presence is important to any business in the modern age, but we need to understand what brings us business and not just like or hearts on each post you upload.

The average business spends about 4-5 hours a week promoting their business and in a year it can come up to 19 workdays just for social media time. That’s right you read it right.

Many tools allow you to do your monthly social posts automatically and in 2 hours a month, you can set up your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, google business, Twitter, and other social network posts that run daily and without you.

Take everything in proportion, 500 likes on a photo in 99% of the cases don’t result in new clients, so unless you are 100% fully booked months in advance I would focus on running the business first.

With a few euros a month you can get a subscription to many websites, sit for two hours, and set up a daily post that will be uploaded automatically at any time of the day you want and saves you hundreds of hours. 

Now you do need to check your engagement in posts once a day and reply and engage with your followers but this will only take you 3-4 minutes daily rather than 4-5 hours weekly.

Not Diversifying Lens Options

Does one size fit them all? So while we do work with a wide lens most of the time capturing the main spaces you should think about giving more to you and your client.

Diversifying your lens will create more variety, another feel, and a look. Try going from 17 to 24, try doing some 50 or 70 mm shoots.

You can create some amazing “whole room” shoots done from a distance of 50mm (depending on the size of the space) and create a more unique look.

Personally when I see a space that has several elements maybe a room that leads into another room, maybe an office space, when I finish with the regular wide shoot I will take my 24-70 and try to capture some more “dense” image. Sometimes it works it doesn’t, the important thing is that you try.

Focusing on the Real Estate not the Architecture

As opposed to real estate photography we are not trying to capture end-to-end images. 

We are trying to feature the space and the designer’s work within the space, to create emotion, and explain the detail and the scope of work that has been done in the space.

In general, it comes to play when we use a 17mm and up and avoid the ultra-wide lenses, more sectional part of the space instead overall, or even reducing “dead space” of walls and ceiling when there isn’t any need for that.

Using Natural Light Only

Natural light is great, it defnility the favorite choice for magazines like AD (architectural digest) Elle Decore, and many magazines that preferred the natural look.

You need to understand we don’t use flash and strobes just because we like the added weight, images, or post-production.

We use them to embellish details and create stronger, polished, and more powerful images.

I suggest you try developing your technique to create light, sometimes filling the shadows or even working with reflectors where needed.

Our goal as always is to enhance our client clients’ work, and if our client is a kitchen designer and you can’t see the finishes without proper lighting or maybe a furniture company that has a special texture we must show the true nature of those elements and finishes.

Running After the Trend

Trends come and go, the portfolio should look great at any given time today and in the future.

Doing something trendy is great, but don’t forget the basics, try to find the middle ground that your client can use those images for the long run and so are you.

The latest trend is removing all the colors in the image beside the dominant ones from furniture, giving this a clear and “true white and gray look”

In reality, there’s no such thing as pure white or gray, because every space has lighting and ambient light which brings in yellow, red, and blue colors into the image.

So this means you can go for a more clean and desaturated look but the middle group would be going 50% and not 100% which looks unnatural and edited.

Trying to Invent yourself every time

It’s fantastic providing your client added value, but don’t go too crazy as you will lose your focus. 

I see many photographers trying to change their entire look and feel every shot, trying to invent themselves every time they are going for a shoot.

Experimenting and trying new techniques and methods are great, but do them after you finish delivering your client the basic images they hired you for and experiment in the last 1-2 hours of the day.

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