Photographs taken before a project has begun can prove to be very valuable in the future. They are able to give a grounded perspective of what had previously existed. The scope of a project seen through the final result only shows a small, but vital, glimpse into all the time, effort, problem solving, and creativity that lead up to that point. By giving a customer, investor, or any other type of client, a grounded perspective of what existed before you put your hand to it, you are showing them proof that you have created something significant and new. You are not just “repackaging” or “rebranding” something, you are creating something new.
Find The Difference
Once the project is completed, you have a point of reference on what was actually changed. You provide the viewer of the photographs with an opportunity to find the difference and see how it looks significantly different. There is a considerable amount of fun that can be had through this type of viewer engagement, they really become more involved in your process as they see what details went into the transformation. You might have a great end result, but without the before photograph we really do not know at which point you started creating and changing things for the better. We find value in something that has actually been changed, making our lives better or at least better looking.
Problem & Solution
In a similar manner to before and after photos, these photos can serve as “problem and solution” photographs. The before photograph establishes or illustrates the problems and the after photograph established or illustrates the solutions. This could be a great way to show off most products and services in a way that customers can understand and relate to. Most businesses are out in the world trying to create solutions to problems on all different levels of life and industry. However, if customers do not see the problems, which could be shown through photographs, there is a strong possibility that they will see little to no value to the solution being offered.
Once you have made a change to something, there might be no going back. Products and places fade from our memories without historical documentation of them. Why do we care what something or somewhere once looked like? History gives us a sense of our place in the world and in time, something that is important to individuals and businesses that are out in the world trying to create solutions to relevant problems. There is no point in trying to create a product that is no longer relevant or has been tried and failed before. These photographs can be a source of inspiration, to anyone really but especially to designers and all kinds or creative individuals and businesses. Maybe you will get an idea for the name of a place or business based on the type of business that had previously existed for decades. Maybe the architecture can be integrated into new structures. Maybe you want to use an old product as a reference for the styling of a new one. Maybe you can learn something from an otherwise forgotten product. Without photographs of places and products before they have been drastically altered or lost to time, they become simply a fragment of a memory.
When photographs are taken before a project begins, you are creating a grounded perspective on the understanding that you are creating something new, and doing something significant. You are providing a customer with an opportunity to engage with your process and results, showing the changes you have made or showing the problems you have solved. In creating these photographs you are building a valuable historical reference, one that can inspire and truly capture the valuable transformative powers of your time, effort, craftsmanship, imagination, and your creativity.