Attractive, professional photographs are an invaluable tool for any contractor. Well-shot pictures of your work can be used in marketing materials, sales proposals, and, well, articles in trade magazines. But while they may be worth every penny, photos of a quality good enough to be effective often carry a price tag too high for many companies to handle, regardless of size.
However, industrious remodelers should be able to significantly reduce that cost. Most projects aren't just your doing; much of the time, you're working with a whole host of other people – subcontractors, architects, designers – who may have just as much interest in the photographs of the finished product as you do. They may even be considering commissioning some photos themselves. Why not join forces to make it cheaper for everybody?
That's what Eric Borden, president of ESB Contracting, Toms River, N.J., did for a series of photographs of recently completed projects. He and designer Sheila Gallagher of Amaranth Interiors, Easton, Pa., agreed to evenly divide the cost of about 20 shots of the interiors on three separate projects.
Gallagher got her cabinetmaker, Chris Stoner of Renninger's Cabinetree, Mill Hall, Pa., in on the deal as well, and each of the three parties got rights to high-quality photos for one-third of the total cost.
Jane Pollini, one of the principals of Niva Productions, the company that took the photos, says that this type of collaboration isn't uncommon. Niva Productions has worked to develop marketing materials for many companies in construction-based industries, and according to Pollini, "about a third of the people we do business with think of doing it this way." Pollini adds that sharing in the costs not only saves you money but also allows you to get a better product in return.
Gallagher agrees. "It's so expensive to get good photography done," she says. "You'd never be able to afford enough [for a portfolio] by yourself."
When you share the bill, the pictures become a much more practical investment. Surely, you can find somewhere else in your budget to use the money you save.