Pre-construction Photos & Video No one wants to come to the end of a project only to be told "nice job, but you need to fix this damage." Wouldn't you like to say, "it was damaged before we started; here, let me show you the photos?"
A comprehensive set of photos or videos can help you avoid the time and headache to defend against such claims … not to mention the expense of repairs. You might say, "our guys can take those photos with a smartphone," and when conditions are good, you're probably right. But when your risk is higher, when you need really clear detail, when a smartphone isn't cutting it, or when your guys are simply too busy, you should hire someone who can make consistently sharp and clear photos and/or video and record the date, time and location of every shot.
Will every instance of pre-existing damage be photographed? No, not likely. Will your risk be brought to zero? No, not likely. But I try to be very thorough, and my photos can help save a lot of time and hassle, and avoid unfair, unnecessary and unwanted expense.
What will it cost? Get a bid.
Periodic progress photos & video help to communicate overall progress and site conditions to the owner, architect, subcontractors and financial backers. They can also record inventories of material stockpiled on-site, and can be used to demonstrate a contractor's expertise to prospective clients. Should you hire an experienced photographer? Well, if the architect and owner are satisfied with the quality of smartphone photos, and if your guys have the time to produce consistent results, you might be OK. But when the architect or owner are a little more demanding, or when your guys need to focus all their effort toward keeping your project on-schedule, call an experienced construction photographer. Fill out this form to get a bid.
Will periodic photos capture all of the tiny details or defects in workmanship that should be communicated to a subcontractor in a timely fashion? No; your guys should capture those day-to-day detail shots on a smartphone as required for the daily or weekly report.
Final photos So, it's time to take close-out photos. Your crew is busy taking care of the last items on the punch list, and your client is anxious to move in. Maybe you've been taking photos throughout the project, but you know you need something better at this stage. Who has time for photos? Glad you asked! Give me a call (301-695-1221) or send me an email. There are things to consider, and I consider them all.
• the weather
• the building orientation
• the best time of day
• the path of the sun
• the occupant's move-in schedule
• the appearance of the landscaping
Final photos can usually be made in one visit near the date of final completion. They are un-retouched, true to the scene as photographed. Do you need them solely for your company, or does your contract require them for the architect and/or owner, too? If I've been making periodic progress photos for your job, you're already covered. If the final photos will be my first trip to your job site, please see my Sole & Shared Use Policy.
Marketing photos You're a project supervisor. All you want now is to finish this project and move on to the next challenge. Before you do, please put me in touch with your sales/marketing manager. You can contact that person directly, or refer me, and I'll make the contact with your blessing. I can provide photos that are perfect for your marketing portfolio and website, or to display on your office walls.
"As-built" photo documentation service providers hold forth the promise to document every aspect of construction, but in my view, that's a pretty lofty promise. "As-built" photo documentation requires precise co-ordination and flexible scheduling. As a solo independent photographer with commitments to other clients, too, I can't promise the flexibility to meet those expectations and so I do not offer "as-built" photo documentation.
Video may produce a better record than a series of still photographs in some situations, but it takes time to scan through a video to locate a particular area of concern. It's much quicker to zero-in on a specific item using well-documented still photos. Let's discuss your needs to determine whether you need photos, videos, or a mix of both. If you need videos, will live narration will be satisfactory, or will you need a typed transcript?
Key Plans show where each photo was taken and are vital when documenting a project. For each photo, I add a numbered arrow to a construction drawing. The arrow shows the camera location and direction of view; the number references the specific photo. A new key plan is created for each site visit, and the marked-up Key Plans are submitted in PDF format.
Digital delivery or Enlargements Before digital, enlargements were the only way to share photos, but they lost popularity as digital photos become accepted in the construction industry. Still, enlargements are written into the specifications for some projects, but when it comes time to crunch the numbers, the requirement for enlargements is often dropped. When they are required, I prefer to submit 8x10 prints that display all of the required ID information in a wide margin on one long-side of each photo, as shown in these sample construction photos. Using this format has advantages even when digital photos will be delivered; all of the required ID information is integral to each photo and visible to anyone who can view the photo, no matter what software they might use. For digital delivery, the specs often ask for the ID information to be included in the file metadata; but you risk loss of that metadata when the file is transmitted electronically, and then all you have are photos without any information about where, when and what is pictured.
On-line photo sharing or CD/DVD On-line photo sharing gives your team access to photos and key plans immediately after upload. There is no need to wait for delivery of CDs. My personal preference is to post photos in a temporary private album as shown in this gallery on Dropbox, and to deliver a CD/DVD for a more-permanent record. Given access, I will upload photos directly to your preferred cloud storage or directly to your project management system.
Time-lapse videos compact an entire project into a few minutes and will impress current and prospective clients. The most important factor in planning for a time-lapse video is camera placement. The path of the sun and the potential for construction activity to obstruct the camera's view must be considered carefully. My simple battery-powered set-up is viable for projects that are - for me - close to home. It requires a weekly maintenance visit.
Web cameras that stream live video may be required on larger projects. They require installation and 24-7 technical support that are beyond my capability and expertise. Click this link to find construction web camera providers on-line.