by Christian Scully
We are super excited to announce that the Harley School Commons project that we photographed in 2014 has been awarded a 2015 Design Award for its innovative and sustainable design by Metal Architecture Magazine. Congratulations go to Chris and Amanda at 9x30, the Nichols Construction Team, designer Tom Johnson, and of course the great educators at The Harley School. Check out the article and view the other winning projects in the July '15 issue of Metal Architecture here: http://www.digital.metalarchitecture.com
by Christian Scully
There is a very basic law of photography that should be professed from the get-go: what appears in reality is not what appears in the camera, and vice versa. It has been said that the camera is the greatest liar of all (quote a photography history course, somewhere, sometime). While you could delve for days into the philosophical meaning of this statement, I'm just referring to the very literal ability of the camera to lie, or perhaps only slightly bend the truth, or light.
The fact is that our eyes and brain are very perceptive to our surroundings, able to recognize depth, size and proportion as we move about a room. But place a glass lens in at a single perspective and reality can start to morph. Pieces of furniture can change size, five feet of space could become one, a tiny room can even appear large. It comes down to how the photographer's lens choice translates the interior onto an image.
The real job of an interior photographer, after gaining technical camera skills and understanding light, is to become a mover, a stager, a set builder. I'm not the first in saying my job is ten percent photography and ninety percent moving furniture, and though exaggerated, the notion is correct. Once determining the best angle to capture an interior, to highlight whatever the designer chooses, I then need to adjust everything in the frame according to the camera, not the eye.
Often, when working with a new client, I see the looks of worry and panic on their face as I move a piece of furniture or prop. They are viewing the space from perhaps several feet above and to the side of the camera, viewing the reality, not the story that the camera is about to tell. After assurance and an explanation, I will take the image and reveal the results, followed by sighs of relief and couple laughs. They get it.
Representing interior design is definitely something that takes a lot of practice, trial and error, attention to even the most minute details, and still consistently presents new technical challenges. Most people can walk into a room and either take it for granted or acknowledge it, saying "nice room" and move on with their lives. Not a design photographer. It doesn't matter what space I am in, interior or exterior, small or large, historic or modern, I autonomously scan my surroundings to find the best image. Like most photographers, I see the world in cropped frames. I frame my vision with lines, textures, color, shape, depth and pattern, always looking for that one hero shot. It is this thought process, this visually addicted personality, that brings value to the title of professional photographer.
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by Christian Scully
1. Increase the Quality of My Company's Image Through Marketing
Let's be honest. You may not have the opportunity to speak to every person that stumbles across your company website. In fact, you may only end up conversing with a very small percentage of your viewers. Maximize your potential to convert a visitor to a lead by displaying your best work, in the best possible light. Design Imaging Studios focuses solely on capturing high quality photographs of spaces, whether it is architectural, interior design, construction, hospitality or more broadly categorized. Whomever you choose to represent your business, no matter what service or product you are selling, make sure your imagery reflects the quality you offer.
2. Grow a Library of Marketable Imagery to Create a Diverse and Impressive Portfolio
This is what we love. So you haven't invested in professional photography yet? Think it's time to up your game? We will work with you to create a photography plan that will result in a complete portfolio. We don't want to shoot your next project. We want to shoot your next 10 projects, and provide you an amazing and professional portfolio.
3. Develop High Quality Content to Operate My Blog of Social Media Pages (and stop just stealing images I find online)
Yes. Agreed. Just grabbing images from some unnamed source and posting a couple one or two word phrases each week to your social media outlets.... well, its a waste of your time. Not only will most people ignore that kind of content (because its a transparent attempt to hastily create content from nothing), but the fact is Facebook probably won't even show it to people. The algorithm that Facebook uses to broadcast News Feeds is becoming more and more sophisticated. Facebook now can judge the quality of the content being published, and as a way to create a better experience for users, they will not display your posts.
But, if we were to create some awesome images of your work, studio, process, clients, testimonials... audio, visual, motion, stills... you name it! Now that is quality content with a high production value. That is worth sharing. Design Imaging Studios can help.
4. Create a Visual Marketing Strategy That Works For My Budget, Schedule and Goals
Budget, schedule, and goals are three components that don't play well together. Don't let your goals burn through your budget and schedule. Don't let your budget hold back your goals. And don't let your schedule burn through your energy and drive to reach your goals. These components need to be balanced, carefully. There is most likely a way to make it all work, and we'll happily sit down and chat about ways to make it all happen. We are pretty creative, understanding, and supportive.
5. Attract Higher Budget Projects
Simple concept, but not easy by any means. Do great work. Show off said great work. Market. Market. Market. Network. Network. Network. Be patient.
Step 2: Show off said great work. Give us a call, and we can make that happen.
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by Christian Scully
As a small business owner, I understand the difficulties that come with trying to establish your own company. There are so many things to do, so many aspects of the operation to manage and endless costs to cover. You need to market your product or service in order to earn new business, but you need to afford the costs of marketing. It’s the old dilemma of “what came first?”
It takes time and continued effort to devise a marketing strategy that works best for your particular business. We are constantly trying new things, testing campaigns, and evaluating what will cause the phone to ring and your website to flood with traffic. As business slowly starts to roll in, you might have an opportunity to bid on a project. This is one of the most difficult parts of business that I have encountered, and I don’t feel alone in the experience. How you price will impact every other part of your business.
Know Your Costs
So how do you price your product or service? Do you compete on price? Do you compete on quality alone? What you charge says a lot about your business. I can speak personally to the creative industry, one that is packed with everyone from well-established industry veterans to high school hobbyists. As a professional that tries to represent a trade with respect and pride, I don’t want to just offer the lowest price to win a job. I want to offer a thoughtful price that covers my operational costs, my desired profit and one that is fair for the value of my service.
Plan Ahead Marketing
Marketing is an operational cost often overlooked, or neglected until a need arises. If you plan for marketing costs from the beginning, you will be able to afford it when the time comes. I often speak with potential clients that need professional photographs of a completed design project, but they don't really have a budget for it. Planning ahead for marketing is the solution. The budget for professional photography can be established before the need arises. If an interior designer considers the cost of photography when estimating a project, that operational cost can be built in to the designer's fees. Then when the project is completed, funds are already set aside for professional photography.
I highly suggest to anybody looking to hire a photographer, or build a new website, or start a pay-per-click campaign, that you plan for it from the start. If not, then you are forced to pay out-of-pocket, and you reduce your profits. Cover your costs of doing business from the time of estimating and pricing, and you’ll never have to worry about affording your marketing again.
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by Christian Scully
The concept of services like Instagram is nothing new. The value and production of photography changed in 1900, when Kodak introduced the Brownie camera, saying “You push the button, we do the rest.” The reduced cost and increased simplicity of creating an image enabled millions of amateurs and hobbyists to click away and deliver the quickly-named “snapshot” to the modern world. Polaroid, “one-time-use”, instant, digital cameras, “point-and-shoot”, cellphone cameras and now even Google Glass… the technology changes and might improve, but the concept is hammered deeper and deeper into the minds of photo-viewers all over the world: anyone can take a picture, everyone is a photographer. This faulty idea misleads many businesses into believing that they can and should take their own photographs, but it also blurs another line.
If everyone is a photographer, than a PROFESSIONAL photographer must certainly be able to shoot anything.
Well, unfortunately, that is not always the case.
While there are talented photographers in the industry that could easily tackle most subjects because of their complete understanding of the camera, light and composition, the fact remains that there are too many genres of photography for one to devote enough time and become an expert in all. As with any skill, a photographer must practice and improve over the course of many years. I will not be spending every day for the next ten years photographing surfing, weddings, food, babies, celebrities, wild animals, AND interior design. I don’t have the time, money or even the desire to do that, and thus I won’t be deemed in expert in all of those fields. I won’t know how to time the wave in order to capture the best shot of the surfer in the tube. I won’t know how to connect with Jack Nicholson and capture the best photo for an editorial piece. Don’t ask me how to get a baby to relax and curl into some cute jelly-bean pose. And that turkey on the cover of the November issue? Mine might look very different.
You get the point. Just as a disclaimer, this is not to say a photographer can't have more than one specialty. They absolutely can. But each specialty does require different knowledge and experience specific to each photography subject.
With interior design photography, so many factors come into play that are different than in a portrait studio. We are working with space, with furniture, with windows, with light fixtures, with color, lines, textures, and telling a story through a photograph that accurately depicts the quality delivered by the designer. Through years of experience, lessons are learned, styles are created and skills are honed.
Yes, a trained photographer will hopefully take a higher quality image than your handy iPhone. But, if your goal is to create the best possible photos of your best work, to impress and earn the best potential clients, then your best answer is a specialized photographer, with passion, experience and skills specific to your needs.
Below are some images we captured for Selma Hammer, a talented interior designer in Rochester, NY. Contact Design Imaging Studios with any questions, or to chat about how we can help showcase your design projects. And please join us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr to stay tuned!
Design and Styling by Selma Hammer
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