Designer Marketing 101 - 6 Tips on How To Prepare For a Project Photoshoot

12 years ago   •   3 min read

By Marcia Kadanoff

Designer Marketing 101 is a series of educational content target to the design trade on how marketing can be used to build your brand (and ultimately your business!) beyond your portfolio. Topics discussed reach past your firm and into the mind of your prospects, opinions from industry colleagues, insight from editors, and how to leverage online traffic to get found. After all, your customer spends 6-8 hours online. Making it imperative that you focus on findability, the art and science of making sure you are findable in search and visible in social media.

We know digital marketing can be scary and often times intimidating, especially for an industry solely focused on word of mouth marketing and PR value through shelter publications. Hear us out. Think objectively while reading not only our opinions, but the insight of your peers, their opinions and experiences within selected topics. We aren’t saying we know everything about marketing for the trade but we’d like to start the dialogue.

01. Photographer

Consider your options. Just because John Smith always shoots your projects, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider diversifying the look of your portfolio.

We  research and interview photographers about their past experience, review their portfolio, and find out where they have been published.  All photographers have a special area of focus, expertise and talent, and matching a photographer to what you are trying to accomplish is very important.  For example, if the intent is to tell a story about the clients, we select a photographer who puts the clients at ease and captures them in action.  This may be a different photographer than the one who will photograph a restaurant from midnight to 11am while the space is closed and quiet.

– Hannah Brown for Feldman Architecture

02. Scouting

Scout the project first. Have a game plan and dialogue before scheduling a photographer.

Always scout a project first, when possible. Internal dialogue and decisions can be made on what angles need to be shot. Sometimes there are multiple consultants buying into the shoot to help off-set the costs. Yes, we can cater to specific disciplines but the amount of shots and time allotted need to be discuss prior to showing up onsite. This is also allows more efficiency and better workflow. Scouting helps everyone decide which areas need to be staged. Planning ahead also allows a designer the ability to prep the next scheduled space and arrange flowers, etc.

– Art Gray Photography


03. Preparation

Hire cleaners to prep the spaces being shot.

Whether shooting a $20 Million dollar new construction home in Malibu or a small apartment remodel in West Hollywood, my job description is usually house cleaner, then photographer. Windows and skylights need to be clean. 12 foot glass windows facing the ocean or desert can not be cleaned by Windex and some paper towels, need professional tools to do it right. Oy Ve!!! Bathrooms with glass walls for the shower. Scrubbing hard water spots on glass or tile in a bathroom is less than desirable when trying to frame the perfect shot. Post-production editing can only fix so much.

– Art Gray Photography


04. Art Direction

Too many cooks in the Boffi kitchen

When I first started going on editorial photoshoots, my initial impulse was to direct the heck out of the photographer. But my favorite photographers approach their work as their art, and so I learned that by giving them room to explore and get creative and have fun, the results are often far more inspired. I still attend nearly every shoot we do for the magazine, and if everyone in the room respects each other’s professional expertise, the final product really sings.  It’s definitely creative collaboration that yields the bet results.

– Erin Feher, California Home + Design


05. Control the Uncontrollable

Remove the client from the equation. But ask nicely.

We find it’s often best to shoot when owners are not home. Nothing is worse than setting up the house for the big twilight shot over the pool from the back yard showing the whole house, then the family comes home form work or school and is trying to make dinner as you are trying to do the best shot of the day.

– Art Gray Photography


06. Staging vs. Reality

A picture is not a place to live in

What works on plan and serves as a functional space might not be too editorial-worthy. Photographs need to have a sense of dynamism and drama that excites readers and motivates potential clients.

– Eche Martinez for Martha Angus Inc.


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