If you ask an architectural photographer to make some beautiful images of a building, he or she will do a few things first:
*figure out which way the building is facing (east, west, north or south – somewhat in between?)
*find out when the sun rises and sets at that spot on the proposed dates of the shoot
*based on that information, the photographer will arrange for a time that puts the client’s desired view in the – quite literally – best light
Depending on the budget and the final concept, he or she may rent boom trucks or sky-jacks, perhaps lights, perhaps close off the parking areas to the building to make sure the views are not obstructed by random vehicles (in extreme cases on high budget shoots the streets may be shut down, etc – just like for a high budget movie production!)
In addition, the photographer will want full access to the building and its lights. Everything is just so, and the final piece – is the weather. Using sophisticated, meteorological reports, a date is chosen. And if the weather plays a trick, the shoot is rescheduled.
A few hours later, a couple of perfect views of a building are captured.
Of course that’s great if you are working with a multi-thousand dollar budget and have complete control over time and all other variables on location… But… Then there is real estate photography. The house needs to be on the market on Monday. The cleaning company was unable to deliver their bins because of a two day bout of freezing rain. You can shoot the house any day of the week you want… as long as it's Sunday. Sunday morning, specifically, because anything after noon is a “no go” with the owners and or the realtor…
And you’re a photographer who is not willing to just say “oh well, it is what it is”, you pride yourself on setting YOUR client apart with exceptional, eye catching photos.
You show up on Sunday. There is a slight wrinkle – it’s a blizzard. Quite literally, visibility measured in feet, not yards, lovely giant flakes of snow falling sideways from a slate grey sky. What do you do?
Well, some variation of this theme happens pretty much all the time in real estate photography. You are not the master of when and how, usually. Your clients understand that it would be better if you were, but that’s just not the reality of the business. From backlit houses and harsh shadows to full on blizzards, it all happens. Sure you could come back and reshoot the exteriors – but you have two other shoots that day (joke’s on you – they’re all facing the wrong way anyway by the time you get there).
This is why you’re a pro – you make it work. Most people could take a decent photo under perfect conditions if they get enough tries at it. A professional is called in to make a great image regardless of what conditions or challenges are presented; to solve problems, to find a way. To put it bluntly, this is what we get paid for.
I was inspired to write this post based on a recent experience. Have a look at the before and after photos. See what an out of the camera shot looked like, and what was delivered to the client. You have to know your craft very well, and when the unexpected happens, you can count on your technical knowledge and artistic vision to fall into place and combine for a result that makes your clients truly happy that they had you on their team.
TwoSixPix philosophies, tips and tricks, and just a little peek into who I am behind the camera.