The thing I like most about shooting commercial work is that each day is never the same. Given we specialize in on-location work, this couldn't be more true as each building / location in the great out doors comes with it's own nuances. Some buildings are better suited to particular types of photography work like on-ground exteriors and interiors, elevated pole/drone, aerial photography or more of a lifestyle approach. If you have a development and are wondering the best way to photograph and market, here's a quick break down of the process and how to choose what suits your project.
Identifying your needs:
With each building, we firstly like to have a quick chat to the developer or architect about the design principles of the building, why your company or your client chose to build at the location and what market and what capacity your looking to use the pictures in, ie. whether this is website, annual report, billboard, internal records or magazine use. Understanding where the pictures will go gives us the best opportunity to allow for options with negative space for banners and copy etc.
Depending on the scale, positioning and type of project, you may need on-ground, elevated or aerial work.
While there's optimum times of the day to take exteriors, if needed, we often combine large-wattage lighting packs with the ambient light and photograph the building to draw focus to what the core design principle of the building is. If your building is designed to gesture to other elements of the street scape or has a strong entrance and a pedestrian scale to the design, this is the most effective way of combining these elements, whether it's photographing from the street view or from some distance away. Sometimes we'll need elevation, in which case we'll arrange to access a surrounding building or use a 10m boom or drone.
Working out the best way to capture the project from the air depends on a few factors such as, height and area needed, location of the site and budget. The cost can be comparative hourly for either helicopter or fixed wing plane, though each has their advantages and disadvantages. Often a development will be in a built up city environment or in a flight circuit of a nearby airport, and we'll opt for using helicopters in this instance which saves on air-time, reducing the amount of delays and circuit work needed, as well as saving on budget, similarly this is our go-to method for shooting amongst tall buildings. If there's a large expanse you need to capture and won't require tight circle work, a plane is your most economical choice here and we'd arrange a high wing plane to save the photographer from heavy banking to avoid the wing.
Larger developments such as hospitals, factories, shopping centres, tunnels etc are best suited to aerial work, which can show the extents of the site, scale of development and it's positioning to CBD's, major road networks, parks and rivers etc all of which reinforce the selling points of the project.
Understanding Usage Licence and Copyright:
Commonly, there are numerous parties interested in photographs of the development and this can be a great way to be more economical and share usage costs. Usage Licences and Copyright need to be treated separately. A Usage Licence is the right to use the pictures for their intended purpose without being able to modify, on-sell to other parties or advertise in a way that hasn't been previously agreed upon, in this instance the Photographer retains Copyright and can chase up any miss-use of the pictures on your behalf. On the flip-side of this coin, larger companies can prefer a Copyright buy-out, which while being more costly, allows their marketing departments to use and pool material for future marketing collateral.
Ok... so where to from here? The Check list:
- Get in touch with your photographer... preferably hit the Contact Us page here.
- Discuss the design of the building and any factors to downplay.
- Final Photos or in-progress as well?
- Type of light to best describe the building
ie. Depending on orientation a cooler dawn light or warmer dusk might suit, or hard sun if it's a beach house for instance.
- What your future use and needs are.
- Usage licence or copyright agreed upon and building release forms signed.
- What are the expected completion / hand-over dates?
We like to get somewhere between completion, post-building clean and before the hand over.
- Furnishings, paintings etc installed / completed?
- Temporary signage on the building, hoarding or road removed?
- Alarms and access to the site arranged and approved?
- Lights and permanent signage installed and working
- Deadlines and turn-around on final pictures
This can be important for awards or to align with future marketing.
- Are the pictures being commissioned by a single client or multiple parties?
- Security and OH&S issues?
We've worked in high secure areas before, and while it's important to allow for timing for checks, these areas also require strict OH&S measures.
- Vegetation complete and looking healthy?
- When do sprinklers come on...
The Black Bee