This post is courtesy of Stephen Hicks, a professional photographer that specializes in product, portrait and architecture.
Located in Los Angeles, California. Check out his website here.
Hi there! I’m Steve, a professional photographer who’s been working in the industry for well over a decade. I specialize in portrait, product, and interior photography, so you might think I’m a little biased here, but I’d call it practicing. I’m good friends with a few interior designers, so I’ve heard the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Why Use a Professional?
Finding a photographer can be a daunting task for anyone! You’re an interior designer, you’re running your business, and this can feel like just one more thing to bog down your process.
I urge you to think otherwise!
The first thought on many designers mind is some form of, “I’ll take photos myself! My phone has awesome quality and I know what I want to show.”
Now I’m not against taking your own photos to show something to clients or for your day-to-day dealings. It’s important to be able to communicate and show your clients furniture, decorations, construction updates, etc. in a timely manner. We all know how impatient clients can be.
Photographers are necessary, however, for when you’re creating a portfolio of work for your website and other online presences needed to grow your business, get more clients, and present yourself as the professional you are.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, you can always tell when a photo was taken with a phone, and that’s not going to attract anyone to you unless they’re on an extremely tight budget, in which case they may not be the client you’re looking for.
A photographer will be able to provide you with sharp, clear images of the space you’ve designed. They’ll have it well lit and well framed. They’ll ask you the most important piece, what you want to show, and what you like. They’ll work for you to ensure you’re happy with the final images.
What to Look For in a Photographer
What to look for in a photographer can be difficult for someone who hasn’t used a professional before, so hopefully this can be of assistance!
1.) Look for a specialist.
Photographers who specialize. As the saying goes, “The jack of all trades is a master of none.”
A photographer who specializes in interior or architecture will be able to be more accurately show your space. Any photographer can point a camera and adjust for light, but the ones who will provide the best images know the more intricate parts of displaying interiors, making sure walls and corners aren’t distorted by the lens, straightening lines, and making sure the bright sun from outside doesn’t make windows pure white, and countless other little things which add up to a more beautiful and perfect image.
2.) Look for a photographer who asks you questions.
A photographer who asks you questions will be more attentive to your needs and wants. When building a portfolio as an interior designer, you want to showcase certain things, your unique style, and create a visual representation of you as a designer.
This one is tricky. You do not want to use a photographer who charges too little, that’s a sign that they’re either very new or not as skilled as you need. Unless of course you want to take a chance on a new photographer.
You also don’t want to pay too much, and this is the real tricky part. The cost of the photographer might vary based on the size of your project, number of rooms, number of shots, or amount of time they have to spend (both shooting and editing).
Personally, when I’m approached by an interior designer and asked my pricing, I like to try and get them a semi-flat rate price. I’ll ask how many rooms they want shot, how many images per room, and calculate a price based on that.
The area you’re in can play a roll as well. Photographers will probably charge a higher rate in big cities versus the middle of nowhere.
To use me as an example, the median cost to use my services will be roughly $500-$600 per interior. This will include about 2 hours of shooting and a few hours of editing the images after the fact, along with digital delivery of the final images at a very high resolution.
Note: Photographers do not typically deliver any unedited images. This is very standard and should be a warning sign if a photographer does agree to give you the unedited images.
If you’re going to hire a photographer, you should have a good working relationship with them! Especially if you like their work, you may want to hire them again. Once you build a rapport with a photographer, you’ll find that you spend less time talking to them about what you want and need and the shoots will be more efficient and fun!
Plus if you provide them with constant work, they may end up lowering their price for you!
TLDR: Hire a photographer you can afford, get along well with, and does good work. Don’t take your own photos because you’ll look like a cheap designer. Have fun with the proces