Step One: Getting The Clients


Real Estate and Architectural Photography


Lesson Info

Step One: Getting The Clients

Name of this presentation, if you will is 'Architectural photography: 'Setting yourself up for repeated success.' And this is the formula that I have used, what I would consider amazing success in just three or four years. So, this is everything I did. If at any time now feel free to jump in with questions. Anyone online or in the audience. I'm no offended in any way if you interrupt me. Step one. You want a shot at architecture. You need to get clients obviously. It's the number one question I get; 'How do you get started in this?' 'How do you get the clients?' 'How do you get repeat clients?' 'How do you bid on jobs?' All kinds of stuff like that. This is what has worked for me. Social media is obviously enormous right now. You can't move without being hit with an Instagram post, a Facebook post, a Twitter post. You know, all this kinds of stuff. I love social media, like I said I'm a computer addict. I'm addicted, completely and utterly but this is the big caveat, if you are going a...

fter architectural clients and you're on Facebook or you're on Flickr and 500px. It doesn't matter, how popular your photos are with photographers, you need to target your social media posts. It doesn't matter if you put a photo on Flickr and you get 500 likes from photographers. If its not going towards the architects and designers and real estate agents, who you want to see it, it's not going to do you any good. So, be careful with your social media. I'd recommend the network Houzz, It's basically the Facebook for architects, designers. Basically the entire architectural products industry is on Houzz and I've had a ton of success. Making a profile, marketing myself, engaging with them on there and you can review each other and you get to know one another and you really get these cool social networks and it's just so much more effective than going out on Flickr or Instagram and blasting out photos and getting tons of likes from people that might appreciate your work but not necessarily be the target audience that you're going after. So, that's about social media. Mailers. I personally think that if I'm going to invest time and energy into sending mailers to potential clients that they have to be so good that even if they don't like me, they're not going to throw them away. So I see a lot of people sending postcards, they send a monthly postcard out and it's like, this big and it's just whatever. It's a postcard, you're going to toss it in the trash. I have always believed, I remember when I moved to LA. I spent my last $300 getting 500 brochures printed and it was eight and a half by eleven card stock, glossy, beautiful photos, nice and big, I handed it to him and like "Whoa, this is really cool". I still do that today but it's upgraded a bit. I now have a 25 page almost like a catalog, eight and a half by eleven, folds out horizontally, glossy, it's got dye cut gloss, everything and it's just very slick. I want them to see it and want them to actually look at it and not see a piece of junk mail. It comes to me, I'll put it in a little envelope, with a hand written note in there, 'Hey, I'd love to work with you, this is my work. 'Please let me know if you have any questions. 'Feel free to keep it. Just take a look at it. 'Let me know what you think.' Again, I think that one of those per year is going to do so much better than 12 little postcards that just get tossed out or some mindless email blast which is my next thing. I'm going to jump ahead for a sec. The next thing I have in addition to the mailers is a marketing oriented website. I see a lot of photographers with websites, they're all mysterious. It's just "I'm a photographer, here's my work." There's nothing about the photographer, who they are, where they came from. There's no juicy 'About' section. It just says, "John got a camera at the age of nine, "he's been obsessed ever since." Okay, so is every other photographer in the entire world. I want to hear, your life story, I want to hear, who you are, where you came from. I think of photography these days, it's honestly, a bit like online dating, people want to know who you are before they even meet up with you. They have so many options at their finger tips with Yelp and Google Reviews and all these different ways of finding out about you that the mysteriously artiste photographer website doesn't really cut it anymore. FaceTime, get in front of your potential clients, I take one out for lunch all the time. Not on like a date context but it's good to talk to them about how their business is doing. I try to make friends, I try to remember their names, ask them, how the kids are doing, have they started high school? Get in front of them, they'll never forget you. Lastly here, I think being a good person is so incredibly underrated these days because you can forget so easily with social media, who's who. Just be exceedingly kind to people. I think, I've got this thing, I don't know if it's Catholic's guilt or if I just have this kind gene in me, but I found that killing people with kindness is just the number one thing. Remembering all about them, getting them into a conversation, engaging them, being their friend is probably the most effective marketing tool that I've ever encountered. Here's my list of don'ts. Senseless email blasts. How many times are you driving in your car, we all do it, don't lie, you get an email, it buzzes you look at it. You delete it, who cares. You're out at lunch you get an email. It buzzes, you leave, who cares. How many times do you really look at every single email that comes in your inbox and you're like, 'Oh, this is interesting, I'll make a note, do this later'? For me, honestly I get a lot of emails, the answer is never. I don't even bother, people say I'm insane, I've never bothered with a monthly email blast. Every email I send is directly to a client, 'Hey Dave, how's it going? 'I just want to let you know, 'I've sent one of my brochures your way. 'Let me know what you think' or 'I've opened a new website up. Come and check it out, let me know what you think.' It takes forever but it's 10 times more effective than these senseless email blasters, marketing lists and they'll sell you a list of 5000 clients. Send an email out. Personally, I would probably never work with someone who did that to me. I get it all the time. I just don't think it's, you know, I want to know who I'm working for. I don't want. It's like the path of least resistance to me and obviously that's the path most traveled. I just think it's tacky, I don't do it, I wouldn't recommend you do it either. Impersonal mass communication. Same thing, email blasts, postcards. Targeted, great stuff is so much more effective. Again, don't be weird or desperate. If you send an email, I'm not going to email, don't follow up seven times asking 'Please, please reply. Did you get my email? 'Please, I want to work with you so bad, please.' They'll see it, they'll remember you, they are probably just as busy as you are. They may not get back to you but don't be creeping people out, it does not help in anyway.

Class Description

Photography is commonly used to sell, document, and advertise buildings, homes, and spaces – join Mike Kelley for an introduction to the fundamentals of real estate and architectural photography and how it can bolster your photography business.

This course will debunk common myths about architectural photography and share best practices for working with real estate agents, architects, interior designers, commercial clients, and editorial outlets. You’ll learn about the best approach to photographing any subject, whether you’re representing it realistically or embellishing its features. You’ll also explore lighting, staging, and infusing your unique style into your shots. Mike will also guide you step-by-step through the process of capturing an architectural image – from planning to shooting to editing to client delivery.

If you’re ready to gain a more sophisticated understanding of the architectural photography principles all the pros know, this is the course for you. Whether you want to learn more about breaking into this growing market, or add more advanced skills to you own photography, this is the course for you.


a Creativelive Student

Enjoyed this class. Took it to learn more about architectural photography because I know little to nothing about that area of photography. I feel Mike gave a solid introduction in the how-to's of getting into this business, offered some good outside sources, gave good supporting personal stories. Would have liked to lean more about balancing light color and to be referred to some outside sources on learning more about that. Overall, I feel this was a solid intro to architectural photography.