In our field, getting to project closeout and building occupancy is years in the making, with teams of client stakeholders, architects, engineers, and contractors working together toward a common goal: the ribbon cutting and the opening of the building! One of our favorite activities once a project is complete is documenting the finished design with some gorgeous, fresh photography.
The final photos are polished, but capturing the many details and design decisions that go into a building is no easy feat. From the way the light shines through the windows to the focus of the frame, there is an endless list of elements to consider behind a successful photo shoot. Working closely with architectural photographer Raj Das, we have recently documented two projects, Lower Basin Barracks along the Charles River and York Judicial Center in Biddeford, Maine. Here’s a look into what this process was like.
First, we begin by meeting with the project team and photographer months in advance to discuss the best way to convey the story of the finished building design. The photo shoot typically encompasses both exterior and interior shots. Topics include: when will the project be complete, and what time of year and day are best suited for the photo shoot? Are there certain rooms we would like to feature? What are the details and finishes we would like to highlight? This meeting consists of brainstorming all the unique ways our design combines artistry and functionality. We want to bring the viewer into the building with us to show how we have transformed these spaces, whether it is a new construction or restoration project.
Secondly, representatives from the design team, the Marketing department, and the photographer make their way to the building to block out the shots on site that were brainstormed earlier. We like to call this scouting day. It consists of a trial run photo shoot to see how these specific shots and angles will turn out and if there are any adjustments we would like to make before we commit to the final photo shoot.
Finally, we make it to the day of the photo shoot. At this stage in the process, we gather the team, Marketing department, and photographer to capture the glory of the finished project. There is a lot of patience and communication that goes into this step to deal with the variables of the day as we align the vision of the photographer with team Finegold Alexander. Whether it be the angle, lighting, details, or movement, there is always something to consider when capturing the perfect shot.