In the old days, construction companies used photography as a way to track their ongoing progress at jobsites, to share with real estate developers, investors, business owners or anyone else who had an ownership stake in the project.
These progress photos, normally taken from plane or helicopter, provided a top-down view from 1,000 feet or more - but provided little detail on much else.
Times have changed.
With the advent of drones and digital cameras that shoot high resolution photos and video, innovative construction companies and construction contractors have discovered a host of new ways to leverage the capabilities of drones and ground-based photography to track progress, document work processes and market their businesses!
Today's Progress Photos
Drones allow photographers to get elevation shots to show the entire project site, while flying at altitudes of less than 400 feet. This can be accomplished by flying the drone out horizontally or by shooting several images and stitching them together as a panorama. The value to this approach is that you photograph the jobsite more from the side to give your developers a horizontal perspective of the jobsite - not just the roof.
Progress photos can now be provided in the form of videos, increasing the value of the information you provide to real estate developers and business owners by assembling views from different angles and elevations into a single short video. Manned aircraft simply can't match the variety of perspectives you can share with your clients that drone- and ground-based imagery can provide. These videos are invaluable for showing progress, coordinating change orders, responding to owner questions and more.
Not sure if you want photos or video? The video is taken at 4K resolution, so we can extract still photos that print at 8x10 or greater - you don't have to choose one or the other.
Process, Not Progress
Progress photos are snapshots in time to communicate the status of a project periodically throughout the construction project. They reflect the work that has been performed, but not the work BEING performed.
Process shots deliver a close-in look at the work as it is happening. What does this mean?
- Progress shots show the finished slab; process shots show the dump trucks pouring the concrete.
- Progress shots display a completed wall; process shots show a close-up view of the tilt-up panels as they're being lifted into place.
The macro view of progress photos offers a valuable global perspective of the entire site. But process photos provide the detailed views that developers and business owners love. They document the specific work being accomplished, and these photos and video can be used for a wide range of purposes such as project team meetings and pay apps.
Process photos also answer questions. For example, in one situation a business owner couldn't understand how a laser screed worked to deliver the flooring to the specifications his business required. The below drone video shows a view of a laser screed in action to illustrate its function in a way that no verbal or written description could match.
Obviously, video and still images both make great process photos.
By the way, this imagery is not just for general contractors. Specialty contractors and trades can use process photos to illustrate work for invoicing to the general contractor, document safety practices or develop content for in-house training materials.
Process photos are also great for marketing.
Marketing - Critical For Continued Sucess
Construction companies and contractors have been slow to embrace marketing as a critical part of thier business development process. The growing construction companies in Dallas, Fort Worth and throughout Texas are seeing new technologies like websites, social media, Youtube videos and more as a way to drive new business opportunities and reach potential clients outside of the state. Many companies are relocating from states like California and how will those business owners identify and select construction companies for their new buildings in Texas? By looking at online resources.
No matter how you plan to market your business, online or in print, website or Facebook, you need photos and videos to sell your business.
This is just as important for skills, trades and specialty contractors as it is for general contractors. You can't rely on snapshots taken with your cell phone to convey your expertise and experience. Quality interior and exterior photos and videos and (when applicable) aerial drone photography help to sell your business because they present your portfolio and showcase exactly what you do.
For businesses in the construction industry, this must be addressed from the time of ground breaking all the way through project completion. It's too late to capture the roofing work after the Certificate of Occupancy has been received, or record electrical or concrete work when the job is done. Steel work must be photographed before the building envelope is enclosed. You can't go back and get these images after the fact.
To develop the library of marketing materials you need to grow your business, you must arrange for periodic photography of the jobsite - not just drone progress photos, but interior and exterior photos and video from ground level as well. Once the job is complete it's time for final shots to showcase what you've built.
The exciting news is that when you have the photos and video you can produce marketing materials for almost any application - newsletters, flyers, brochures, space ads, social media, Youtube, websites, email marketing campaigns, press releases, magazine articles, TV ads and more.
And when you want to submit the project for an award from TEXO, Tilt-up Concrete Association or another industry organization, the blend of macro shots, close-in process views and interior / exterior completed project photos can clarify and illustrate the points in your narrative to help you be the company standing on stage when they hand out the trophies.
Think of how your bid packages will look with in-progress pictures as well as finished building photos. Consider the value of a company overview video or finished project videos of completed projects to open your interviews with prospective clients - a completed project video that looks something like this: