Image Conscious: 7 Reasons to Think Visually About a Property


Ours is a visual business. The cliché about a picture being worth a thousand words? It’s a cliché for a reason.

During a recent on-the-job-experience I was standing on-site at a revitalization our firm had a hand in, and along with many of our favorites in the industry I watched as commissioned photographers spent day after day photographing the project. They documented the beautifully finished structure at different times of day and night, through varying traffic patterns, from every possible angle and with a variety of lighting and effects in place. In my opinion, it was well worth the effort. Here’s my take on the top seven reasons you must—yes, must—use photography and video to capture your work:

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To Stay Current. Social media is no longer just fun and games, it’s the way many of us gather news and ideas and generate excitement about our latest projects. Have you noticed that people are not even aware, at times, of what’s going on around them until they see it pop up in a newsfeed? Study after study has shown that posts with photos and videos are more likely to get viewer engagement, so if you want to capture your audience’s attention, add some visual media.

Images pull people in and command attention; they allow people to “see” what you are doing. Think of photos as a tool to speak more fully about architecture to your audience or, if you are a tenant or landlord, as an easy-to-digest way to share your new office space with the world.

Scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram or Vine can serve as a design resource. YouTube can offer a tour of a new office and Facebook may be another way to find out what’s trending and what competitors are doing to keep their offices looking fresh and modern.

For Vision and Inspiration. There is something extremely powerful about playing a video or handing a client a stack of images during a design “visioning session.” With different spaces to view, a client and his or her architect can more quickly and accurately hone in on the aesthetics and costs of a project and imagine how they’d like their own finished space to look.

To Showcase Your Portfolio. Images and videos are a must for any firm bidding on projects, but they are also a great reward for your team to reflect on—and be proud of—what they have accomplished over the past nine months or three years. Whether for a company portfolio or an individual one, it’s nice to have tangible evidence of your hard work to show to colleagues, office visitors and even friends and family.

To Gift to Your Client. At the conclusion of a project, we enjoy giving our clients photos, often alongside the original 3D renderings of their project, a “mirror” reflecting the before and after. Think of it like a souvenir photo: the images capture the special moment or journey for all to see. One client of ours, a communications firm, even asked for permission to use the photos in their own brochure.

As a Reference Tool. Many changes occur during a project build-out, as anyone in the construction and real estate industry already knows. In-progress photos can serve as a cross-reference against drawings, providing valuable, detailed “behind the walls” information in the event of a future reconfiguration or expansion.

For Immediate Release. Photos are an excellent public relations tool and often accompany press releases. They are also extremely helpful for industry competitions and awards submissions.

To Witness evolution. There’s something hypnotic about watching a project progress from an idea, to a shell and then into reality. Time-lapse technology and digital flipbooks are helping the industry capture all of the various stages of a project and seamlessly package them in one place. They can then be looked at, shared and referred to time and again and, more importantly, enjoyed for many years to come.

Scott E. Spector, AIA, is a principal at Spector Group, one of New York’s premier architecture and interior design firms and a leader in corporate tenant and building owner-based design. The award-winning company has affiliate offices nationally and internationally. To date, it has completed more than 1,500 projects.