Architects and photographers have always had a synergetic relationship. Photographers need good subjects to photograph and publish for a living. Architects need good photographs to promote their designs and attract new clients.
Photography has always played a crucial role in architecture. Like other forms of art, architecture photography may be perceived positively or negatively, but its relevance is undeniable in the industry.
So, is there a market for architecture photographers? Simply put, yes. Taking photographs of beautiful buildings and structures around the world may be common for hobbyists. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any profitable careers to be gained from this discipline as well.
Interest and experience in architecture and photography complement the expertise of acquired techniques and a careful look at architectural interpretation.”
– Andre Nazareth1
What is an architecture photography career?
Architectural photography covers not only building exteriors but also interior design. If you’ve developed an interest in taking photos inside homes and apartments, real estate photography could be an appealing and potentially money-making field worth pursuing. One key reason for this is that it’s part of the upcoming trends expected to impact the real estate market. Architecture firms, real estate companies, and interior design businesses come out as the most frequent clients of architecture photographers today.
Like most professional photographers, most of those specializing in architecture don’t have a fixed monthly salary as a typical 9-5 employee would. Photographers are usually paid a certain amount for each project they’re hired to do. Moreover, the rate they charge may depend a lot on where they live too. Some architecture photographers charge a flat rate per assignment, factoring in the time they will need to plan, shoot, and post-produce.
How do you start an architecture photography business?
A photography business can be your main career or a great way to generate a second income. Many business owners have been able to find their niche and build a sustainable career, although the market is a competitive one. Yet, to succeed, you must find a balance between your passion for photography and developing some serious business skills.
If you’re worried about the financial issues of starting a business, there is some good news. Some benefits of starting your own photography business include healthy profits, low startup costs, and sustainability. One advantage of architecture photographers is they don’t need a studio, as they work only on location, which saves a lot on initial costs. You need to invest in high-quality gear, a website, and some marketing skills. As you grow your business, a good base of repeat customers can help you expand with simple yet effective advertising via referrals.
What advice can experts give?
To give you some help, we have compiled some quotes that could inspire you.
“I’m originally an architect, and I’ve been working as an architectural photographer for more than 12 years,” shares Nour El Refai, an architect-turned-photographer, who points out the potential architecture photography offers even for those who started as architects.
Andre Nazareth, who is currently both an architect and photographer, would agree, “Interest and experience in these two areas now complement the expertise of acquired techniques and a careful look at architectural interpretation.”
Trust your style and vision – it’s what makes you unique and what makes the creative process fulfilling.
– Keith Isaacs2
Specializing in residential interior and architecture photography (along with the garden, food, and lifestyle), Laurie Black is a seasoned photographer of 25 years, proving how versatile you can be in professional photography. “Never assume that you have this profession mastered. Over the years, I have constantly found myself learning new things about photography, and I don’t think that will ever stop.”
Former photographer for the American Institute of Architects, Keith Isaacs, would tell you, though, to take it easy, “Don’t be so hard-headed about specializing. Don’t compare yourself to other photographers, and trust your style and vision – it’s what makes you unique and what makes the creative process fulfilling.”
If what these experts have to say isn’t enough for you, look around for more architectural inspiration.
- As an architect and photographer, André Nazareth uses these two skills to direct his documentary, cultural and artistic production. Based in Rio de Janeiro, he is a frequent contributor to the main media in the architecture and interior segment in Brazil and abroad. He has published several essays in art and design books. The continuous record of contemporary Brazilian architecture results in an extensive image bank whose highlights are available on this website.
- Keith Isaacs is a real state photographer from Chicago, living in Florida since 2001. Passionate for people and photography, Isaacs loves very technical things, and that challenges his brain. For him, photography is the perfect marriage of the two.