Last week I wrote about the types of architectural photography, which got me thinking about another question that you might have, about the use of these different types of architectural photography.
Architectural photography is used by architects, contractors, interior designers, and others in the construction process to record and promote new and refurbished buildings. Architectural photographs are used in portfolios of work which are presented to potential clients when seeking new work. Architectural photography is also used by the occupiers of buildings in the promotion of a wide variety of commercial sectors.
So architectural photography is definitely important, and has huge potential and commercial value, and is a central pillar of the marketing of numerous companies.
Actually, as you will see when you get to the end of this post, architectural photography is actually massive.
What is architecture?
I like to start at the beginning to give a complete,. standalone answer– architecture is “the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings”.
What is architectural photography?
Well architectural photography is the photographing of buildings, architecture, structures. I like to broaden this out to include the built environment.
This could be new, refurbished, or existing buildings.
Why is architectural photography so important?
Architectural photography is important as it is the mechanism by which the entire construction process is recorded. The completion of a building is a significant, major achievement which is recorded by an architectural photographer normally at the point of practical completion.
This only happens once for every building, so this once in a lifetime event truly deserves to be properly recorded.
And there are many users of buildings who rely on architectural photography to promote their businesses. More on that later, but for architectural photography we need to think way beyond construction and architecture. Which I am now doing.
What are the types of architectural photography?
Well I covered that last week on my blog in the post titled “Let Me Tell You What The 10 Types Of Architectural Photography Are”.
See – I know about this stuff!
When are architectural photographs taken?
We tend to think of architectural photography as photographing a shiny new building, but there is so much more to it than this.
Remember architecture is not only the design but also the constructing of buildings. This opens up the construction process itself.
Architectural photos are taken at the following stages of a buildings life
Who uses architectural photography?
Well there are a variety of parties who value and use architectural photography
As the designers of buildings, architects really appreciate and value architectural photography. This is the recording of the thing that they designed and made into a building from mere thoughts.
As I said, there is only ever one completion of a building, and architects just love having this milestone recorded. And quite rightly too. Architects are incredibly gifted people who I have nothing but admiration for.
Architects use photography for their portfolios to help them secure work, as well as for record purposes.
Principal Contractors, sub-contractors, specialist contractors – everyone who has had a hand in the construction of a building has a use for great architectural photography.
Contractors also commission architectural photography during the construction process, for marketing and promotional purposes.
Construction photography is a specialism within architectural photography, with its very specific challenges and considerations.
Like architects interior designers use architectural photography to record their work, and in marketing materials – a great photo of an interior is literally worth much more than a thousand words!
Product manufacturers and installers
Any manufacturer of any product needs photos of their products, and many choose to commission them during the installation process on site, which provides great material to add to studio shots of products.
I exclude studio shots of products (rightly or wrongly) from architectural photography, as these are covered under product photography which is a separate discipline with a different set of processes and techniques.
And not what I do.
Other designers and technical advisers
Mechanical, electrical, fire, structural engineers, topographical, geotechnical, landscape architects, any designer can use great architectural photography work for their design of a part of the whole thing that is a building.
The whole building will not work without each and every other designers contributions remember.
The same can be said for the good folk who deal with planning, Building Control, BREEAM, parking, travel plans etc.
Marketing and promotion
All of the above may use architectural photography to promote their specialism whatever it may be. Architectural photography is a powerful medium when done correctly, used by most companies on their marketing, which these days start with websites.
Estate Agent/ Real Estate Photography
Let’s not forget the people who sell/ rent/ lease buildings – they all need architectural photography to market properties.
In the modern online world great architectural photography can have a massive influence on the sale or lease of a building. Or more to the point poor quality architectural photography can and will have a negative impact on the success of marketing properties.
And that is where I had a lightbulb moment!
So far I have talked about everybody related to the creation, marketing, and leasing of a building.
And this is how I see architectural photography. In writing this though I have realised the error of my ways – there is a huge other market that uses architectural photography day in, day out.
Or maybe I knew this but hadn’t thought about it so clearly.
Hotels rely on architectural photography!
When I think about, when I am looking for a hotel for a short break or overnight stop I scroll through the hotels on all those booking sites and stop at the first hotel with a price that I am happy with that I like the look of.
If the photo is rubbish I will probably not stop.
And how many of us are doing that every day?
Hotels are a massive user of architectural photography, which can be broadened out to any type of accommodation,
- Guest Houses
- Holiday parks
And anything else that you can book to sleep in.
Hotels are a massive market for architectural photography.
You are looking for your next holiday, that all important break hopefully in the sunshine somewhere nice. How do you choose a holiday location?
Well you go online, or pick up some brochures from a travel agent. And what do you look at? Well photos of the resort, beach, sea etc for sure, but also photos of the hotel, apartment, whatever. And those photos are architectural photography of course.
And these photos will have a significant impact on you deciding to consider a place or not.
And let’s carry on with that train of thought. See this has really got me thinking!
Other commercial premises
Any commercial premise that provide a service in the building could well make use of architectural photography – I am talking here of
- Leisure facilities
You get the idea.
Blimey – this is why I love to write about architectural photography – it is such a massive area with enormous potential, and the potential seems to expand the more I think and write about it.
The starting point to this post was going to be focussed on the parties to a construction project. What I completely ignored was the enormous use of architectural photography by the users and occupiers of buildings.
They are probably a much bigger user of architectural photography, which is a very interesting thought if you are an architectural photographer.
One for another post methinks, now that I have considered who uses architectural photography and opened my eyes to the fantastic reality and potential that the broader market offers.
Who do I work for?
I work mainly for architects and product manufacturers. I have photographed a wide variety of buildings though, including hotels.
And I need to broaden my thinking, which I will come onto in another post.
Well there are lots of posts I have written about architectural photography, and I would like to point you in the direction of these two pages on my website which give you links to lots of related good stuff.
Photography Explained Podcast
Please check out my small but perfectly formed podcast, Photography Explained, where you can learn lots of photography stuff quickly and easily.
That’s all folks
That’s all for this post, thanks for reading this and I hope that you found it helpful. I’ve been Rick McEvoy, see you on the next one.
Next on my blog?
Next post is a good one – What Does An Architectural Photographer Do? Spoiler alert – it’s not all about taking photos – I wish!
Cheers from me Rick