×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

What kinds of building photos to use for company website?
2

What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

(OP)
I hired a professional photographer to take photos of buildings I designed for my website. They're 2-8 stories. He has a certain style but I want to give some direction, and he said he's open to that.

Is it better in a marketing sense to take organic photos? Like ones with cars and people around. Or ones that almost look like renderings because the cars and people are removed? He said he can do either but the rendering type photo will be more money due to editing and number of exposures needed. Not thinking about cost, I think that an organic photo with cars and people will convey a sense of realism, as long as things like trash, clutter, and fire hydrants are edited out.

I was also thinking of asking him to subtly brighten my building and darken neighboring ones.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

A good photographer will have 'the eye' and you should be able to point him at a building, and a good photo will be delivered. There may be some features that you might want to capture... just explain it to him.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

Dont forget to have the buildings' owners sign off on the images before posting to your site.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

(OP)
@dik He said basically the same thing, but I wanted to give some direction because I'm not sure if mainstream building photos are actually done correctly. A photographer is an artist, not a marketer.

@CWB1 Thanks for bringing that up. Do you know a good and simple 1 page contract for that? I'm not going to get lawyers involved, but I also don't want to write it myself because I suck at legal things. But this is a good point, I definitely need consent.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

milkshakelake - what are your competitors doing? I just did a quick search of "New York City Structural Engineering Firms" and scrolled through their portfolios. Of the top three, they either use actual renderings or real photos without editing people out. One of them looked like it used a long exposure time to let the passing cars blur out and the building behind was in focus. I think you're probably fine with "real" shots.

Regarding the permission, I'm not sure you'd need it from the building owner. Does a newspaper obtain permission from every building owner when they use a photograph of the city skyline for the front page? It's a commercial usage. There may be a journalistic exception, but I'm not sure. Getting permission from the architect may be necessary. Unless the architect was foolish enough (or got paid enough) to sign away their rights, they own the copyright for the design of that building, including the elevations. So if anyone has a claim for commercial use of an elevation shot of a building for the purposes of showcasing the design, I'd think it would be the architect. You probably don't need to get a lawyer involved in writing up the paperwork, but a quick query to see if anything is required may be prudent if you're concerned.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

I'd think think that you could find a photo release template on the web. Try Googling 'photographer release'. If you're hiring a 'professional' photographer he should already have something to cover this issue. I'd start with this site:

https://eforms.com/release/photo/

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-'Product Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

(OP)
@phamENG Thanks for taking a look. I've been doing research on competitors and most of them tend to use renderings. I'm questioning why they do that, when the real building exists and generates millions for the owner. But these engineers get tons of business, so there is a question of why to use renderings instead of real photos. I can't tell if it's a conscious business decision or laziness. But I'm leaning towards taking organic photos.

My photographer actually told me that he's taking a long exposure shot of one my buildings that I designed. So that's totally what you said. I think I'll be fine with real shots.

Based on what you said, I'm not really concerned anymore about permissions. As a normal person, I could just walk around, take photos of random buildings, and post it on Instagram. The same principle applies to taking photos of buildings that I designed.

@JohnRBaker This is exactly what I was looking for. phamENG said that it's not really needed (unless I misinterpreted the comment) but I will do it. Thanks!

Edit: @phamENG I consider what competitors are doing but I would like to zip past them in terms of profitability if it helps. There is always a chance that others are making wrong assumptions, and I need to jump on that and make better decisions.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

Renderings or structural models show the actual product the engineering firms are producing. The structures themselves are being built by contractors, not the firm. I would think they are trying to convey to possible clients what it is they actually do and what their product is - look here is our full design that shows you exactly what the building will look like. One of the firms I used to work with put together a side by side video of a gas compressor station - one side was drone footage of the completed compressor station, the other side was a fly through of the rendered CAD model following the same path of the drone. It was a great marketing tool.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

(OP)
@dauwerda That's a cool concept. It's nice to put a rendering and real life product side by side.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

I think people relate to organic photos more readily. Carefully consider time of day and which light best brings out details.

Permission... really? It's a building, not a boudoir.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

MSL....you don't need the owner's permission to include a photo of a building. They are already in the "public domain", being visible and recognizable by the general public. Besides, even finding the current owner can be difficult.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

The question is what do you want to emphasize about the buildings to your clients in general. Are you pitching to technical people or more general personalities. The technical people are likely to be attracted to a more detail driven photo style.

Not all the photos have to be from ground level either.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

(OP)
@TheTick True, I gravitate to organic photos myself. A building photo is fundamentally different than a product on Amazon. Even then, I tend to watch product reviews on Youtube before buying, and those are more organic than marketing photos.

@verymadmac I'm pitching to developers, architects, and expeditors, so it's a mix of technical and general personalities. I'm not able to get photos above ground level. Drones are not allowed by code here (NYC), even with FAA license. It's also not really feasible for someone to take a photo from an adjacent building without appointments and access agreements in place. It was something I was looking into for inspections as well, and it is possible, but way more headache.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

Web Designer understands the power of images to promote a business and quickly convey a message. Images should grab your visitor's attention and hold it, communicating what your business is about and what products or services you offer. The more professional the images, the better the chance you have of impressing your visitors and keeping them on your site for longer.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

Quote:

Regarding the permission, I'm not sure you'd need it from the building owner. Does a newspaper obtain permission from every building owner when they use a photograph of the city skyline for the front page? It's a commercial usage. There may be a journalistic exception, but I'm not sure. Getting permission from the architect may be necessary. Unless the architect was foolish enough (or got paid enough) to sign away their rights, they own the copyright for the design of that building, including the elevations. So if anyone has a claim for commercial use of an elevation shot of a building for the purposes of showcasing the design, I'd think it would be the architect.

The media is exempt from laws covering the use of protected attributes like yours or your property's likeness when doing so purely for journalism. Using a protected likeness for an ad without permission like the OP is suggesting is illegal plain and simple. Even the major realty websites like Zillow & Redfin are required to remove images of homes sold within a specific time period or at the request of the new owner, whichever happens first. Not sure if it happens anymore but when I was a kid in Noo Yawk 30 years ago the city used to go around occasionally raiding the tourist traps for selling unlicensed trinkets due to the same laws.

Architects and engineers' copyright is only relevant to the artwork they create - prints, sketches, etc. It has no bearing on the actual structure/product created nor even their design unless patented.

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

Fair point about the media. And I was mistaken about the architect potentially having a right to it...copyright law prevents Architectural copyright holders from preventing photography of their buildings as long as they are clearly visible from public spaces.

Quote (17 US Code S120 - Scope of exclusive rights in architectural works)

(a) Pictorial Representations Permitted.—
The copyright in an architectural work that has been constructed does not include the right to prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the work, if the building in which the work is embodied is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place.
(b) Alterations to and Destruction of Buildings.—
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(2), the owners of a building embodying an architectural work may, without the consent of the author or copyright owner of the architectural work, make or authorize the making of alterations to such building, and destroy or authorize the destruction of such building.

Apparently there have been some cases of building owners trying to claim trademark infringement for the use of images of buildings if the image of the building is included in a registered trademark, but that's apparently rare (how many buildings are trademarks?) and hasn't really worked. Trademark infringement requires use in direct competition with the trademark holder, so the only situation I can see impacting the OP would be a different structural engineering firm hiring an architect to build them a building, the architect then hires the OP rather than their client (possible, I suppose), the owner then rebranding to include their building in their trademark, and then the OP posting a picture to promote their competing structural engineering firm. Sounds a bit far fetched to me.

Here's a self proclaimed legal site with an article on the topic (as I'm not a lawyer, I can't say if these folks know their stuff or not...but they do have quite a presence in the low cost/free legal advice arena):
NOLO

And here's one bit of case law that seems to hold that up. Plaintiff accused the defendant (photographer) of trespassing, taking a photo of their property, and selling it. Judge dismissed everything but the trespassing, which suggests to the several commentaries I found that the photography of private property wasn't really an issue (based on federal copyright laws). After the case was settled, the image remained for sale, meaning the photographer was not compelled by the court to cease commercial use of the image.

Of course, obtaining permission certainly doesn't hurt. Or you can put it on your photographer, who as a pro in that field should be aware of his/her legal limitations. Make sure you have a good contract with them in which they guarantee their works are 100% legal and that they'll bear the cost of litigation if they are not. And they should have insurance to back it up.

I've taken to adding a clause in my contracts that the architect and property owner grant permission of use for renderings, photographs, etc. in my marketing material.

And, as always, not a lawyer....just basing this on discussions along similar lines I've had with my attorney...consult your own before you make the final decision.







RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

Guys, what software is the best to use to retouch and edit photos of buildings?

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

Landon Bell,

GIMP.

--
JHG

RE: What kinds of building photos to use for company website?

After the advice of my friends, I tried to use the photo editor from Movavi and I really liked the quality of the photos that I am currently creating and posting on my website. I really like the highest quality sharpening of the photos, which makes them more expressive. You can find out more information on the website https://www.movavi.com/ about the photo editor itself and other products of this company. I hope this helps you as well.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Resources

Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close