I would like to share a brief interview I granted to a photography business review magazine. I am asked what it takes to become a top architectural photographer.
1. What made you want to start Antoniocuellarphotography?
Antonio Cuellar photography started as a hobby. People started reacting positively to my pictures and that brought me a lot of satisfaction. This reaction that people had towards my pictures became addictive and push me to experiment, improve and also lead me into turning pro around 2003.
2. If you had to pick one thing out of your day, what’s the most exciting / favorite?
I enjoy every aspect of the photographic process. From winning a photographic bid, meeting a client in person, impressing them with the level of sophistication involved with the way I shoot, to editing and delivering the images. Delivering the images and seeing a clients reaction would be my choice if I had to choose. This never gets old.
3. Who is your ideal customer?
An ideal client is one who understand the importance having great images for a marketing campaign. Someone who has worked with photographers in the past and is familiar with the process. This is an ideal customer because the level of expectation is set at a realistic level. A level of expectation you can exceed. Exceeding these expectations is what makes a client come back.
4. Do you use the Internet to market your business? What are the biggest marketing challenges you face?
I have used tools such as Google, bing and social media a lot more in the past. I have come to realize that due to the small photography niche that is architectural photography, I am better off investing in personal relationships with fewer and bigger clients, like AD agencies,Architecture and Interior design Firms. I do come across some important international clients who find me via the internet with no word of mouth referral. Google, in my case, is a great way to share work with the world and socialize with other artists who admire your and in the same way find other artists that inspire you.
5. If you could change one thing about your businesses day-to-day routine, what would it be?
People don’t realize that Architecture photography involves carrying around a lot of heavy equipment. The subject or client is brought to a studio in the case of other photography fields such as portraiture, fashion, food and products. I typically have to carry around a 115 pound generator and 8 other cases of gear with an average wight of 65 pounds each. I have thought about downsizing and compromising in areas but decided not to. Everybody owns a sophisticated camera these days and there is a lot of competition out there. I cannot afford compromise in my work.
6. Any new specials you can tell our readers about?
Yes I have had a policy of granting a 30%-50% discount on my daily fee to talented and up and coming Architects and interior designers, if their work is different and interesting. We are all artists after all and it is not just about the money.
7. If you had a chance to say one thing to a brand new customer, before they walk in the door, what would it be?
Everybody is always welcome to walk into my door. Once they do I always provide them with a great analogy about my services that I dont mind sharing it with my competitors so they could use as well. I always tell my customers that being a photographer is like being a professional athlete. You don’t want to hire a soccer player to play basketball. Even though they seem to have the right tools and be in enough shape to last the entire match they will not be competition to the other basketball players.
Some customers still think that the title of “professional photographer” automatically qualifies us for any type of job, as it did 30 years ago. I cant even begin to tell you how many jobs I had re-shot when other extremely, and even famous photographer, from other fields had ventured into the architecture field.
Antonio Cuellar is a luxury resort and hotel photographer and a avid travel blogger.