What’s the Best Way to Capture Images of Finished Projects?
Hint: It’s not always your installer.
PICTURES OF COMPLETED installations can be valuable for more than just proving you’ve done a good job. A worthy addition to any marketing playbook, images of your work also show off what you and your team can do. Although most of the Brain Squad seems to understand this, the extent to which they focus on installation photos varies as widely as the methods they use to get them. Some members rely on the installer to take photos. Others take their own, enlist a professional, or adjust their approach depending on the nature of the job. Here is a sampling of what they had to say:
- The process varies. We have some projects shot by our in-house photographer, and all installations are photographed by the installation teams and uploaded to an installation database. Use of those images for articles or marketing is prohibited in most situations by NDAs or Master Service Agreements, but we can share internally. — BRIAN HITE, IMAGE OPTIONS
- We do all three. When it’s something unique, we sometimes do a time lapse. — CARMEN RAD, CR&A CUSTOM
- Our installers take photos of all our completions. They get sent to a shared email, which is then reviewed by our marketing team to determine whether additional photo or video work is worthwhile. — WADE NEFF, STRATEGIC FACTORY
- Our installer takes the photos. There are too many to have a professional photographer. The photos are more for our records than for publication or posting on social media, but we are trying to be better about the composition to be able to post an attractive photo when we have the time. — LINDA FONG, FASTSIGNS OAKLAND, FASTSIGNS HAYWARD
- Unfortunately, we don’t get a lot of installation photos. We work with high-end interior designers, and oftentimes the projects are entire homes. Our wallpaper might go in long before the project is completed and then the designer will have the home professionally photographed. Sometimes they are willing to share the photos with us, but sometimes not. It is always exciting to see the completed space when we get to, but it can be years before we get to see the photos. With social media, we get an earlier glimpse of it being installed every now and then, but not that often. We are one piece in a very large and complex puzzle. We are always so grateful to the designers who share the final images with us – especially if we can use them as well! — TRACY HINER, BLACK CROW STUDIOS
- Photography is about half of our business, so we have digital images of just about everything we work on. — JIM DITTMER, JDA CREATIVE COLOR
- It’s primarily up to our installers, but on significant projects our project management team will go out and take pictures. Only rarely would we use a professional photographer. — JIM WHITE, GO GRAPHIX
- [The] installer takes photos. — PAT DACY, 3V SIGNS & GRAPHICS
- For most jobs, the installer photos will suffice for reference and proof of completion. We ask our installers to take completion photos, but we have come to accept that these will never be great photos. They aren’t looking at the completion photos the same way as the marketing team. Our goal is to choose a few projects each month and send someone in-house out specifically to capture those jobs. — ROB MATTHEWS, M3
- We routinely ask clients and our sales reps to get client approval for jobs we’ve run. It’s tough to get consistent feedback. — KRISTI DUVALL, THE BOXMAKER
- We always get photos from the installer, but will hire a professional photographer if it is a high-profile job. Luckily the iPhone will usually do a good job for social media. — RYAN CLARK, DIRECT EDGE
- The new iPhones take incredible photos. I use some easily accessible editing apps to make the photo or video pop. — KRISTIN LANZARONE, WRAPSTAR PRO
- Our installers take pictures (coached on proper procedure) of most projects, but when it comes to images of really great projects, we have an in-house, professional photographer and designer that can gather the images and do any needed finishing. — DEREK ATCHLEY, ATCHLEY GRAPHICS
- We always photograph our installations. Our main printer has a degree in photography, and we’re powered by Canon cameras and printers, so we are pretty photo-licious! We also have an advisory board member who is a world-class architectural photographer, and he covers some of our most important installations. We just did two floors of the World Trade Center 3, and the law firm hired a professional photographer to shoot the whole installation, soup to nuts. We get all our jobs through photographs of the previous installs. It’s our bread, butter, soup, nuts, and bacon, egg, and cheese muffins! — BARBARA ALLEN, FRESH ARTISTS
- Our best photos are from our clients. We are terrible at getting [promotional photography], but our larger clients do have us under NDAs. Too much of a hassle. — RICK MANDEL, MANDEL GRAPHIC SOLUTIONS
- For most installs, our installers take the photos. They have been versed on getting the best angles and shots to make the product look great. Occasionally the sales rep will go back to the site for photos if it’s a large project. — ANN DURSO, EXPRESS SIGN & GRAPHICS
- We ask the installers to take photos, and they are usually the most blurry and unimaginative, often with a thumb partially in the picture. — TIM BEZNER, WESTMOUNT SIGNS AND PRINTING CO.
- We take photos of all finished projects in our facilities before shipping. This allows us to share photos with customers (for quality purposes – to give them piece of mind). Our installers also take photos after installations but more for internal purposes than marketing purposes. — BRIAN ADAM, OLYMPUS GROUP
- We don’t faithfully show off our jobs. We’ve had situations when competing clients of ours have found out we provided services with their competitors and have not seen work from them. So, we do not stir the brew. Silly as it may be, we only post when we can. — TOMMY MELENDEZ, MASTER GRAPHICS NYC
- Installers generally do not take great photos and with wallpaper, you have to wait for the interior elements to be moved back in as well for a finished look. We work with pros and shoot some things ourselves. — JON SHERMAN, FLAVOR PAPER
- The install team takes photos for our review and to verify install is complete. — DAVID KAISER, DIGITYPE DESIGN
- We take our own photos. — TIM ROE, OUTSPOKEN SIGNS
- We have our installers take photos of every job, and we save them into the job orders. — TAMI NAPOLITANO, AWESOME GRAPHICS
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