Architectural photographers specialize in photographing the interior and exterior of homes and businesses for use in real estate marketing materials, portfolios for architects and interior designers, advertising, and national and regional publications focused on real estate, architecture and interior design. Some photographers specialize only in this area, but more often they have clients with a range of commercial and personal photography needs.
Photographers’ portfolios and work samples can give customers an immediate sense of their style and abilities. Years of experience count, too, as do references, which you can check by reading reviews on Thumbtack or photographers’ websites. Some photographers’ websites will list their clients by name. You can also request references and then contact them directly.
Pricing for architectural photography shoots can depend heavily on the location, as well as whether you need photos taken at different times of the day. Kent Wilson of Kent Wilson Photography offers a free consultation with all prospective clients at the photo shoot location to review client requirements, shoot details and more.
The location, number of images you need, lighting and variety of setups or scenes are considerations in determining whether or not the photographer needs an assistant—which will typically increase the cost. Macbeth Photography offers a variety of photography and videography services, and owner Jim Hobart employs five people to help him serve his clients. The number and variety of photos you need also helps dictate whether an experienced photographer can get all the shots alone or if an assistant is needed.
Touch-ups and enhancement
Most photographers include any post-production image editing or enhancement in the overall quote, but be sure to ask what exactly is included and read your contract carefully. Larger photography businesses have photo editors on staff, though many photographers do their own post-production image editing.
Most pros shoot with digital equipment and offer to deliver the final images as high-resolution files. If they don’t offer this option—or if they do not state that rights to all images you purchase belong to you—that may be a signal to look elsewhere. As photographer Linda Gordon says, "I shoot, you own. Simplicity makes life easy."
More often than not, pros charge a flat project rate that takes into account their time and all the factors described above. Costs vary widely. Prices in Los Angeles, Dallas and New York tend to be higher than those in Oklahoma City. Be sure you understand all of the costs involved before signing a contract. To avoid sticker shock, assume that costs for your project could be 25 percent higher than the national average cost, which is $145 to $750. Make sure your contract states clearly how many images you will receive (or how many you can choose from unedited proofs) after the shoot and whether image editing is included in the fee.
Established photographers who specialize in a particular field most likely own their equipment. Ask about this upfront because if your shoot requires special equipment that they don’t own, they’ll most likely pass on any rental expenses to you. Consider hiring an up-and-coming but less experienced photographer who is just starting out. These people may charge less in exchange for using photos from your shoot in their portfolio.