Here is a great tool for those who are considering commissioning architectural photography for their latest projects. A collaboration between AIA (American Institute of Architects) and ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers), this short yet concise explanation has information for both architects and photographers.
One area I found of particular interest was the idea of shared costs. The PDF states, in part, “Inquire whether other parties in your project (such as the owner, contractors, consultants, product suppliers, financing sources, or even public agencies) might be interested in participating in the assignment and sharing the expenses. If so, all of the participants should likewise identify their needs and priorities. It is important that the participants understand which costs are shared and which are not. The total price has three components: creative/production fees, expenses and rights licenses. Expenses (e.g., travel; consumables; equipment or pr op rentals; and fees paid to assistants, models and stylists) and production fees (the photographer’s time, expertise and judgment) can be shared on any basis the participants choose. Rights licenses, in contrast, are based on the use each participant makes of the images and are not shared or transferable among the parties.”
It goes on to talk about when it might be advantageous to participate in such cost sharing and when it might be better to take a ‘wait and see’ posture. It goes on to talk about single or multiple contracts, who collects the payments, how are images distributed, etc.
Because it was written by two leading industry trade groups, it presents a very balanced viewpoint, intended to educate both the photographer as well as the architect. Other areas discussed are Selecting a Professional Photographer, Understanding the Photography Estimate, Controlling the Costs, Licensing and an On-site Check list.
In the licensing section, it talks briefly about copyright, which is a major discussion unto itself. My HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey), HAER (Historic American Engineering Record), HALS (Historic American Landscapes Survey) work, for example, is in the public domain, usable without any copyright restrictions. Remember, when commissioning architectural photography, hire local, hire experienced professionals and hire someone you enjoy working with.
Dennis Hill, Content Creation is a Los Angeles based architectural photography company with digital and film-based capture, specializing in historic buildings and industrial sites throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona.