Interior Design Photography – Photographers Responsibilities to the Designer

In choosing to work with a specific photographer a designer has decided to not only make an investment of time and money in their photographs but to let that photographer have an impact upon the future of their business and their career.

Many photographers do not appreciate the level of trust placed in them by their clients and therefor do not recognize the importance of their photographs to the designer. The designer will use their photographs in sales presentations, to submit for editorial publication, in mailers, magazine advertisements and on their web site. The interior designer will be using their photographs in more ways, to do more things than any other business tool they posses other than their telephone. An interior designers photographs are every bit as important to their professional image as their business cards.

It is the photographers responsibility to ensure the client get high quality images that meet exacting technical standards in regards to exposure, focus and color rendition, but these technical issues are only the beginning of the photographers responsibilities. In order to craft a visual representation of another artists work the interior design photographer must also have a strong talent for composition as well as the ability to communicate complex concepts to the client in terms the client can understand and to understand the communication of complex concepts being directed at them.

Communication is the Key – You Can Learn Nothing if You Do All the Talking

For many photographers it is not difficult to share their ideas with others, but it is difficult to have others share their ideas with them without being “put off” or offended in some manner. As interior design photographers we must be able to accept criticism not as judgmental or as a condemnation of our ides, but as constructive contributions to achieving the goal of communicating the interior designers ideas and design concept. To achieve this we have to acknowledge that we are part of a team and be willing to accept that the other team members ideas are every bit as valid as our own and we have to hear what they are saying not just listen to the words, and incorporate their ideas in our compositions.

Two Heads Are Better Than One

As professional photographers we are expected to create dynamic images that catch the eye and elicit a visceral response from the viewers. By openly collaborating with our clients we not only create the best images we can, we create images that clearly speak with the designers voice. And this is what our clients’ need to make sales, win competitions and get published.

7 Marketing Strategies – Interior Designers, Consider These Areas

Interior Designers need to understand their whole marketing strategy and how each of its 7 constituent tactics work together to grow the business.

This article is a checklist. Go through each of the points I’ve listed and apply it to your sales and marketing in your business. My opinion on what are particularly important marketing communications for interior designers are highlighted in bold and might differ if you target business rather than the public. Let me know your thoughts:

1. Search Marketing – Get your prospect at the time of their decision-making.

* Search engine optimisation (Higher rankings)

* Paid Search / Pay-per-click (Google AdWords)

* Paid for inclusion / feeds

2. Online PR – Create Awareness of your brand by getting it mentioned.

* Industry Portal Representation (eg Thehousedirectory.com)

* Social Media (blogs, feeds, communities)

* Media Alerting Services

* Brand Protection

3. Online Partnerships – Link your brand WITH OTHERS IN YOUR INDUSTRY

* Affiliate Marketing

* Sponsorship

* Co-branding

* Link building

* Widget marketing

4. Offline Communications – You should know these.

* Advertising

* Personal selling [out]

* Sales promotion

* PR

* Sponsorship

* Direct Mail

* Exhibitions

* Merchandising

* Packaging

* Word-of-mouth (your old clients are your best and cheapest salespeople)

5. Interactive Ads

* Site-specific Media Buys (only if you target businesses)

* Ad networks

* Sponsorship

* Behavioural targeting

6. Opt-in Email

* House list emails (your clients and prospects)

* Cold (rented lists)

* Co-branded (share the marketing load wisely and boost your brand image)

* Ads in 3rd party newsletters

7. Viral Marketing – Electronic variants of traditional ‘word of mouth’

* Pass along emails

* Word-of-mouth (eg using the share & enjoy functionality below)

* Buzz marketing [out]

* Generating media mentions

What do you think?

And as a PS I will follow this up with 2 more articles; one about different ways of engaging (financially) with clients; and a second about using Facebook for an interior design business. The first comment, below, reflects a theme running through many questions posed to me: website designers (techies) and ad agencies (space sellers) are trying to get you to part with your hard earned design fees; I would read a book on digital marketing that comes more from the marketing end rather than the technology end eg. “Mastering Web 2.0 bu Susan Rice Lincoln”, that’s a good way to start. DON’T SPEND £10k/$15k on a new web site think about your customers and how they behave, your marketing communications need to latch into their behaviors.

Should You? DIY Or Hire a Designer For Your Interior Design Challenge

So, you decide to redecorate your home, what is the next step:

“DIY or engage a professional designer?”

Well, first you have to ask yourself a few questions:

Do you have any knowledge? Have you been studying the TV programs on HGTV and others? . Have you been buying decorating books by the dozen? Do you have the time? Are you game? If you answer NO to any or all of the above then perhaps you should hire an interior designer? However, if you answered YES and you have the time, why not use that opportunity?

Don’t be afraid, there are countless Web sites available to help you out.  Take the challenge. You can always re-paint, and return accents, and some places exchange furniture.

Hiring a professional interior designer will prevent from having to pay “unexpected costs” like; the wrong color, the unsuitable piece of furniture, the “no-style” decorations and/or the out of place accents. But, it will not stop the fee you are going to pay the designer, and these can be costly. Can you afford to pay out the cost of a designer at an estimated $35-$100+ per hour. Yes, then you will have to inform the decorator what colors you like, show them your home –  so they can get a good idea of your style, go over some pictures (the decorator should have brought along some samples or catalogs) of designs and styles. The designer should ask personal questions related to; children, anyone with disabilities, hobbies, favorite colors, entertainment preferences, favorite music, cultural background etc. The designer will use the information gathered in your first meeting to put up together some ideas for the next meeting.

The Next Meeting:  That’s when he (or she) will show you plans, sketches, wallpaper samples, color samples, fabric samples, (a color board) and so on.

However, Stop!     Yes, You can do this yourself! Just ask yourself all the above questions and make notes of your answers, visit Home stores and gather samples of paint/stain you like, go to fabric places and get swatches of fabric, yes, you can mix together – stripes, plaids, checks, floral, be bold (most of the stores have qualified assistants that will help you) – get catalogs and cut out furniture you like and accent pieces, drapes or other window treatments and paste them on a poster board. Hang this from your wall and leave it there for at least 3-5 days, look at it at different times of the day (the colors of paint, fabric etc., will change varying on the light). What you don’t like, replace with another. If you make your color board up first – the chance of any mistakes are going to be limited.

You can never do too much planning when it comes to decorating and/or DIY. You need to make sure you know what colors you want to use, window treatments, furniture, stain on the wood and even cabinets. Once you have these together, the accents will be easier for you to choose.

So You Can Save Money – and have fun.