Historic preservation and property photography

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Aquarium Dreams, Mar 22, 2007.

  1. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    731
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Does anyone here do this or know anything about it? I'm very interested in pursuing work in this area, but I have only a nebulous concept of what it entails. How do I market this kind of service and to whom? What kind of fees does one charge? Is a 400d or 35mm sufficient or is a medium or large format expected? I live in a rural area with some historic significance. As far as I know, outside of the local historical societies (yes, plural) no photographers are doing this kind of work in my area. Any input, information, or nudges in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. neea

    neea TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2006
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've considered this type of thing also.
    I dont know we have around here for historical societies but we do have a museum.
    I'd drop off a few samples and ask if they think they could use them or if they have specific buildings/areas that they may need photos of.
     
  3. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    731
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks neea. For the historical societies, you're right, I should probably treat it like anything else: call, schedule a time to stop by, and bring a portfolio. I'm still working on a portfolio, which I'd like to have done sometime in April.

    Also related to the portfolio, I'm planning a website, and in deciding what pictures to put on the site, I'm also deciding what I'm actually selling people. I'd like to be able to offer some sort of property documentation service, but I don't know what that would entail. Does anyone do this or have any ideas?
     
  4. neea

    neea TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2006
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You're welcome.

    I don't know what exactly you mean by 'property documentation'. Is this something that'd be considered 'art' or just a 'service'?
    Around here lots of farmers get aerial photos of their land, I'd consider this art.
    As for services, I came across a photographers website from around here and they do insurance pictures.
    They charge a zillion dollars and take like 1000 pictures of your house and all your expensive knick-nacks for insurance purposes.
    This could be considered property documention I suppose.
     
  5. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    731
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yes, I was thinking of something like documentation for insurance purposes, as well as "before and after" renovation or restoration documentation. I would like to offer "art," such as you mentioned, by taking beautiful photos of people's property (though I don't have the capability to do aerial, obviously!), but I'd also like to be able to offer additional "services". Other ideas I had include shooting for real estate ads and shooting local businesses (store fronts, details, etc) and offering the business owners 8x10s. For shooting local businesses, I don't know how that would work. Should I ask if they'd like me to shoot their building, or should I shoot their building, then ask if they'd like to buy prints? I've been thinking about services I could offer, because I see that many people offer portrait and special occasion photography, and there's clearly a market there, but I don't care so much for shooting people. The one thing I get most enthusiastic about shooting is buildings, so I've been brainstorming: "Why would someone pay a photographer to shoot a building?" If anyone has any thoughts on it, please let me know.
     
  6. neea

    neea TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2006
    Messages:
    710
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I hear ya.. although I would like to shoot some (most people) but that's not a 'photography' topic :D .

    I think you got alot of great ideas and depending on your area and the people there alot if not all could be very successful I think !!!
    Before and After renovations is a good one. A contractor or construction company might be your best bet here. Make them an album of befores and afters to show their future clients.

    For 'property portraits' you could possibly just take the picture (say you see a gorgeous house some where) make a nice print and then go back to show the owner. I would probably make up some excuse to go talk to them like to ask for a property release to put the picture on your website or something. And then maybe give the print away (for now) with business card and once word of mouth starts others may start phoning you.

    Does anyone else besides the two of us have input? :lol:
     
  7. Oldfireguy

    Oldfireguy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    987
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I think there are a few problems you may run into. Most insurance companies have their agents equipped with point and shoot digitals that photograph buildings, etc. Most historical societies around here are doing the same thing. They have members out shooting the old things and most only survive on the dues of members. They don't have a lot of money to pay out.

    There have been a few photographers in my area that have done projects on their own, the last being a photo documentation of old barns in the state. He is footing the bill and I'm sure will come out with a book.

    I see photo documentation for homeowners as a possible choice. Most insurance companies photograph the outside of a building and that is it. I photo document all my antiques, clothing, cameras, and anything of value. I burn it to a CD and keep it in my safety deposit box along with all the serial numbers in case of theft or fire. Most home owners don't do that and there is a reason insurance companies don't do it. Most home owners have no clue what they lose in a fire or theft because they have just to much stuff. If you can't remember it, the insurance company does not have to pay for it.

    Think about all the stuff you or your parents have and then think if you had a fire and it was all destroyed. How much of the contents could you remember. 28 years as a firefighter and I see it all the time.

    Just another option to think about.

    Now if you do this and make a million dollars don't forget who gave you the idea.
     
  8. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    731
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    That's a good idea! And it would probably work without coming off as creepy!:lol: I could do the same with local businesses. I really need to make up some more business cards. People on the street are always asking me why I'm taking pictures. I should be saying, "I'm a photographer, it's for my website/portfolio," and hand them a card instead of, "I just like taking pictures," which is my current line, since I'm still not entirely comfortable calling myself a photographer.

    Thanks for helping me think through this.:D
     
  9. Aquarium Dreams

    Aquarium Dreams TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    731
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Oldfireguy, you gave me a lot to think about.

    Those are some problems I thought of, too. It seems everyone documents their own projects now with point and shoots. Also, as you pointed out, local historical societies aren't the most lucrative enterprises. I think most of the people working for them are volunteers. I hope to at least be able to be reimbursed for gas money, even if it's just so I can plump up my portfolio.

    Do you know how he gets in contact with the property owners? Did he have a publisher before starting the project or did he jump into it fueled by faith alone?:) I'd really like to do something like that, touring my state and shooting locations for a project that would culminate in a book or a show, but I wondered if there was a way to go about it by securing grants or publication beforehand, or if I should just "do it," and worry about publishing or displaying once the shooting is done. I don't have much money, and that little safety net of being able to tell myself, "I know it's going to be published when I'm done," might help me through all the nights I'll spend in a tent camped on the side of a country road.:lol:

    That is an excellent idea and one that I will definitely research. Have you considered doing this yourself?

    As for forgetting you once I'm a millionaire, well, I'm too neurotic to ever have that much money. If I ever had possession of seven figures I would freak out and give it all away before I had a stroke. I'll be sure to send some your way.:wink:
     
  10. Oldfireguy

    Oldfireguy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    987
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I'm off on a plane in a couple of hours to D.C. When I get back in a week I'll check and see if I can get some information on the photographer. As far as I know he just approaches the owner and asks permission to shoot the barn. I have done that before when I travel. Never been turned down.
     
  11. supraman215

    supraman215 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Messages:
    979
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Maybe you could donate your time to take the pics for the historical society, since they usually don't have lots of extra money, this could get you some noteriety (sp?) i.e. your name in their publications and such. This could turn into real business. Of course your time would then be a write off against your income.

    Jeff
     
  12. ZyxKor

    ZyxKor TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Pgh, Pa & Histon, Cambs
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Take pictures for the historical society for free then have them sell pictures for you. Might not make you a millionaire but it works out for you and the society. Just make sure you supply the pictures, you sell them to the society for $X per image. Put your name/website/contact info on the back of the image or attached as a business card or something like that.
     

Share This Page