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Why Good Photography Matters - Peter Wilson

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

When Peter Wilson judged our calendar photography competition last year, he remarked on the quality of some of the images and agreed with us that showcasing products in end-use applications is a real asset when suppliers are trying to target architects. 

So to provide a valuable insight from an architect's perspective, Peter kindly agreed to write an opinion piece for us, explaining why good photography should be an important aspect of a timber supplier or merchant's marketing strategy to help maximise the exposure of their products.

So, you want to sell more of your cladding and decking to specifiers? As an architect and regular writer about the use of timber in architecture and construction, I’m interested in how your products appear in use, how they’re installed, whether the cladding profiles you offer have been used creatively - and successfully - by other architects, how well these products have weathered and probably a dozen other questions to do with product quality, technical support and the after-sales service you offer.

You might ask why, but once your products are part of the final building construction, appearance and durability become of critical importance to specifiers and images of successful projects go some way to convincing them.

I’m always amazed by how little interest is shown by much of the timber trade in the end use of the products they sell and this is easily identified by a cursory glance at their company websites - all sorts of information on profiles and fixings but few illustrations of these products in use or testimonials from specifiers as to the back-up service they received.

Gripsure (UK) Ltd Eden Project
Silva_T&G_ Cladding.jpg
Ngarara Eco Development - Vulcan Cladding - Abodo Wood 1.jpg
650 Silva_web-edit5.jpg

Believe, me it matters: it’s an old adage, but a good picture really does save a thousand words and good images aren’t usually taken hurriedly in the rain on a wobbly mobile phone. Yes, modern phones have excellent cameras, but good photography is an art and architectural photography is a specialist area of expertise.

Architects may well have commissioned photography of a project you’ve supplied material to and they may even let you have access to these, but far better to volunteer to share the cost of a few decent photographs so that you have the use of some outstanding images for your own marketing purposes.

Long term this allows you to build up a library of good pictures of the products you sell and having a portfolio of the best of these projects on your website goes some considerable way to interesting a specifier in what you have to offer. This gives you the opportunity to secure a sale you might otherwise not even have got close to. It’s not rocket science, it’s the way of the modern marketing world: good images sell.

Peter Wilson is an architect, writer and director of Timber Design Initiatives Ltd. based in Edinburgh, the company is involved in education, innovation and demonstration of good timber product and construction practice.