DISTINCTIVE PHOTOGRAPHY FOR HIRE
Everyone’s marketing improves after adding ‘killer’ photographs, so let me help you with your photography needs. You probably have some great buildings or product installations without the benefit of equally great photographs. I will economically provide you with the images you need.
How do I do that? I travel around the USA frequently while on photography assignments. If I am aware of the commercial buildings and/ or homes that you need photographed, I can probably shoot them when I am nearby. You can possibly save travel expenses and only pay for the few images that you really need. [If only shooting exteriors no special permissions are necessary. If interior pictures are requested, then I would need the necessary permissions in writing.]
Conversational Questions & Answers of
Glenn D. Hettinger, AIA, ICAA
Q#1: What led you to specialize in architectural photography?
A#1: As a life-long architect I never really had any other interest in photography other than to use it to capture beautifully distinctive buildings. Sure, I take a fair amount of family and landscape pictures, but I’ve always gravitated to buildings and to the details of those buildings.
In 2008 I did some ‘soul searching’. I asked myself, “What would I do now if I was independently wealthy and did not have to work?” I sat with my writing tablet for eight hours writing down everything I love to do and everything that I hate to do – with no thought of how any of it would make any income. What fell out of the bottom was that I would walk around gorgeous residential neighborhoods and take pictures of distinctive homes – whether I got paid to do so or not.
I now photograph mostly for my books, Architects, Builders, Interior Designers, and Building Product Manufacturers. I also photograph for individual Homeowners that want to document their estate homes, collections, businesses, philanthropy and/ or life stories in heirloom or legacy books.
Q#2: Are you an expert on your favorite subject of architectural photography?
A#2: I decided to be an architect in eighth grade, and I’ve never lost my passion for building design. I’ve always been a nut for taking extensive pictures of distinctive architecture everywhere I travel. As a result, I have developed a keen eye for composition and for capturing outstanding architectural images in my lens. You might say that I am becoming an expert.
Q#3: Have you become innovative in your approach to architectural photography?
A#3: My goal is to represent the buildings and their details exactly the way that the architect intended for them to look. My goal is not to make weird artistic representations of small parts of buildings, I’ll leave that to the Fine Art and Fashion Photographers. My objective is to make the whole building team of Owners, Designers and Builders very proud of their accomplishment.
Q#4: What distinguishes your work from other architectural photographers?
A#4: Dimly lit dawn and twilight shots are usually thought of as the “sexy architectural shots”. They don’t show off all the architecture very well, so I limit the amount of those shots that I take. Most of my shots are in bright sunshine. This does mean that I sometimes need to enhance my images by Photoshopping in a more dynamic sky (than the pure blue-sky sometimes present on the day that I took the image).
All my completed images are guaranteed to be wonderful or my client doesn’t pay for them. We do basic to extensive editing based on the client’s investment. I do the basic editing and our fantastic graphic artist does the extensive image manipulations.
Q#5: As you have developed your trade, how have you and your approach changed?
A#5: My sense of observation has been greatly sharpened. I used to have to take many more shots to get ‘the killer image’ that we all strive for. Now my first shot is almost always my best shot. I have developed the patience that it takes to wait for the perfect combination of sunlight and clouds, and I’ve learned a lot more about the camera settings available to assist me.
I typically shoot high end homes for my 'Distinctive Homes Of America®' series of coffee table books. I always ask the Homeowners, “Is there anything of great value, like a Picasso, that we do not want to reveal in the pictures of your home?” This avoids all kinds of liabilities down the road. I also shoot the entire home in the morning and then the entire home again in the afternoon. I am amazed at how some rooms look better with bright sun pouring in and some with no sun.
Q#6: What has been the biggest influence on your development as an architectural photography?
A#6: My main influence or driving factor has been my desire to promote and preserve distinctive, American, building design and craftsmanship and the patrons who make them possible. Shortly after really getting into photography I began work on my first coffee table book in my ‘Distinctive Homes Of America®’ series of books. That led me to more books that required lots more photography to be done and to many more lucrative assignments.
Q#7: Can architectural photography make the world a better place? Is this something you personally work toward?
A#7: Most all art in general absolutely makes the world a better place. Photography has a big influence in positive and negative ways. I use it to convey the best that there is in the art of architecture. I hope that my work is somewhat of a reward to the people that made the buildings and a positive influence on all the people that ‘borrow ideas’ from their work and mine.
Q#8: Do you have formal training in architectural photography?
A#8: I didn’t when I got started, but I do have a five-year architectural degree from Iowa State University and I have been a registered architect for 35 years. I understood architecture and composition and that was and still is my strength in photography. I have since taken many on-line courses, informal lessons from my photographer friends and read several photography books.
Q#9: How do you feel about the tremendous changes in the photographic practice in the last ten years?
A#9: There have been great technical advances through the decades, but nothing compares to the advances made in digital cameras and post production software. Even some phone cameras give great wide angle images.
Q#10: What non-photographic do you find essential?
A#10: I have learned to wear a gray shirt so as not to be reflected in my close-up pictures of shiny plumbing fixtures and hardware. A small step ladder gives me more height options, comfortable shoes help me to enjoy my long walks and my dark chocolate bar gives me an energy boost.
Q#11: How much longer do you think you will keep working at architectural photography?
A#11: They always say, “Find something to work at that you love to do, and you’ll never work another day of your life.” I intend to keep doing what I love to do. I meet great people, experience nice travel and make a good income for my two favorite charities: HOPE International and The Hettinger Family.
“You have to have passion and love for what you’re doing, because any rational person would give up when it gets hard.” Steve Jobs