The time has come to photograph that magnificent project you’ve been working so hard at.  You’ve taken the first step in the right direction by deciding to hire a professional.  Now you have to choose the right one.

Choosing the right photographer can seem a little daunting.  With so many choices out there, it’s hard to know who’s the right one for you.  Don’t worry, follow these few tips and the choice will become much clearer.

Check Their Portfolio

First thing is first.  Always check out your potential photographer’s portfolio.  This will give a good impression of the quality of his/her work.

Each photographer is different.  Photography is an art and every artist has their own style.  The same goes for interior and architectural photography.  The basic concepts will be the same along the genre, but each photographer will add their own tricks to complete the vision of the project.

Does your style line up with they style of your photographer?  Are you impressed when you see his portfolio?

Remember, a photographer’s portfolio SHOULD be the photos he/she is most proud of.  These are the images they’ll put the most work into to show the world.  You should expect your photos to be AT LEAST the same caliber.

If your potential photographer’s portfolio isn’t “exactly” what you’re looking for, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Some photographers are still up and coming.  If you see potential in their photos, you might have caught him early in his career.  This could be a great time to start developing a relationship.  Let’s not forget, this type of photography can be expensive.  If you’re young in your architecture/design career as well, you might be able to strike a good deal.  Perhaps you can help each other build those portfolios.

Google Them

Do a simple good search on the name of your photographer.  Scroll through a few pages and see what comes up.  Sometimes you’ll find hidden gems.

What are you seeing?  Are the results contributing to your photographer’s credibility?  

Good photographers want the world to know they’re good photographers.  This is how they build their business.  Same goes for you as a designer/architect.  

Look for results that establish your photographer as an expert in his field.  This could be publications, articles, videos, or anything that contributes to their credibility.  

Check out their website.  Does it look professional?  Do you feel like he/she is an expert?

Establish Expertise

Make sure your potential photographers can actually get the job done.

I would argue that interior & architectural photography is one of the most difficult genres in the field.  Lighting an interior properly is a very difficult tasks.  It takes a good amount of specialized equipment and years of practice.  Not only does this type of photographer need to be an expert in lighting and composition, they need to be an expert in Photoshop as well.

Research to ensure your photographer can accomplish your vision.  Make sure they’ve done enough interior/architectural photography to do a great job.

Think of a photographer as a contractor (just for this point please).  Let’s say you are hiring contractors directly for a project.  If you are building a custom shower for a high end client, who do you hire?  Do you hire the handyman who “does everything”?  Or do you hire a contractor that only does tile?  Hopefully you hire the tile guy because he’s an expert in his field.

This same concept applies to photography.  Your photographer should be a specialist who loves to shoot interiors and architecture.

Social Media

If you’re starting to feel like a creeper at this point, that’s ok.  You’re doing the research to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. This next part probably won’t help that “creeper” feeling, but’s its definitely a must.

Take a look at your potential photographer’s social media accounts.  A lot of times, you’ll find work that isn’t on his/her portfolio or anywhere else on the web.

Get a feel for their personality.  A good photographer is someone you want to establish a long, professional relationship with.  Can you see yourself working with this person for a long time?  Social media will give you a good hint at this.

Are They in Your Price Range?

This is a pretty big factor when choosing your photographer.

Photographers vary drastically when it comes to price.  Have a good idea of what your budget is before you get your hopes up on a particular photographer.

If you have a very large budget, you can be a lot more picky.  If you’re budget is low, your choice might be a little more difficult.  

Once you’ve established a photographer is a potential candidate, ask to see their price sheet.  If they are out of your range, you might be out of luck.  

If your budget is almost non-existent, there still might be hope.  Be on the lookout for up and coming photographers in your area.  Some of these photographers are hungry to build a portfolio and you might be able to work something out with them.  

Just don’t (PLEASE DON’T) ask for free photography or a discount.  Photographers are professionals and they make a living off their fees.  If you’re budget is low and really need some “deeply discounted” work, establish a relationship with an up and coming photographer.  Build rapport and see how you can truly help each other.

Ask Around

Last but not least, just ask around.  Often times, a good photographer will network in the same circles you do.  See if he/she has a reputation among your colleagues.

Takes these simple steps and get a good feeling for a few photographers.  Then see what your gut is telling you.  Usually, that intuition will point you in the right direction.