Frequently Asked Questions
The answers to the following questions are intended for architects, interior designers, and custom builders seeking photos of their projects for their portfolios, to market their businesses. Some of the information might also apply to other kinds of customers, while other information might not.
"How does the process start?" I will start by having an initial consultation with the you, to find out the specifics about the project you want to have me photograph and any particular goals you might have for the look or usage of the photos. This provides me with a preliminary sense of the scope of the assignment, and the scheduling and budgetary considerations involved. This information helps me to arrive at an estimate and a schedule for the photography and delivery of the finished photos.
"Will I own the photos?" I retain copyright to the photos and sell usage rights to them to my customers. For designers and custom builders, these rights are for non-exclusive perpetual usage in the customer's marketing materials. Any other parties wishing to use the images must obtain my separate permission to do so and pay a separate usage fee.
"What do you charge?" My rates vary with the scope of the commission, which has a bearing on the amount of time I will need to spend and the production costs I will incur. Your goals for the look and quality of the photos will have a direct bearing on these things. As a general rule, the base fee will typically be $150 per photo, for daytime photos shot with ambient light only over the course of at least a half day. For commissions requiring any significant amount of supplementary lighting, use of assistants, rental of specialized equipment (such as for elevated views), twilight photography, that involve travel outside the Bay Area, or that will take more time than normal, the cost per photo will typically be higher. If shots of a more casual nature that don't need to be as highly polished are adequate for your needs, I may be able to do these at a lower cost per photo. My minimum charge for local shoots is $500 per session. For a full day of a photography of a local project, and using substantial supplementary lighting, the fee will typically be in the range of approximately $1,800 to $3,500, depending upon the quantity of photos.
"What is supplementary lighting?" The term refers to modifying the ambient lighting, either by adding to it with photographic lighting or by blocking it. This can get quite complex and sometimes requires one or more assistants to help set up the equipment. Supplementary lighting is not inherently better in all cases. Sometimes it is a matter of choice, depending upon the desired look and style of the photos. Sometimes it is a necessity for high-quality results with particular subjects. As a general rule, with projects that have very high quality ambient lighting, I tend to use little or no supplementary lighting, though I might need to spend more time photographing such a project to capture each scene with the best lighting, when dealing with changing lighting conditions.
"How many photos will I get?" This will depend upon how much time is available to shoot, how many useful subjects are available, and your budget. As a general rule, when shooting with little or no supplementary lighting and working without an assistant, it takes me about 20 to 30 minutes per shot, on average, assuming the scenes are mostly already set up and only modest adjustments to the arrangement of the scenes are necessary.
"Will you preview the project?" I prefer to scout a project before photographing it, which allows me to identify any unusual challenges that might arise beforehand, and to create some preliminary reference photos to help plan for the photography session. I factor any scouting into the fee. Photographers who do scouting and say they do not charge for it are simply not expressing it as a separate fee. They are still factoring it into their fee, one way or another. My standard base fee of $150 per photo does not include scouting, but I will review any information you provide before the shoot, such as snapshots, drawings, renderings, or plans for the project.
"Will you travel outside the Bay Area?" Yes.
"Do you include retouching?" Other than editing out a few easy items such as a few stray leaves or an electrical outlet against a plain background, adding or removing items from the scene will entail an increased fee to account for retouching.
"Do you do styling?" I can help out a bit with some styling and offer advice, but it is fundamentally your responsibility to provide it where appropriate.
"How long will the photography session take?" This will depend upon a variety of factors, including the number of photos, how much arranging of the scenes will be necessary, whether I am working with any assistants, whether any people will appear in the photos, and any variability of the ambient lighting. When more than a few photos are needed and the ambient lighting is variable, it is not unusual for me to spend at least a full day on the photography.
"Do you do aerial photography?" Yes.