Photo documentation of historic buildings -- what to charge? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've been asked to bid on HABS/HAER (Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record) documentation of a historic house that may be moved or demolished. This requires large format (4 X 5" in my case), interior shots as well as exteriors and details. Maybe 15 to 20 photographs all told. Special archival darkroom work and fiber base paper contact sheets. Have any of you done this sort of work? What kind of money should I expect to get for such work. I also must obtain single weight fiber paper for this job, which is not readily available here in Denver. Do you have any ideas where that might be obtained easily? Note, that this is just a small portion of the full documentation which will be done. But others will do the written report and the necessary architectural drawings. Thanks in advance for any help!!!

-- Bill Tate (, March 08, 1999


The Jan/Feb 96 & 95 issues of View Camera included articles about HABS/HAER work and folks that shoot that extensively. Jack Boucher is a big name in the field, you can get him at the National Park Service 800 N. Capitol Street, Ste 300 Washington, D.C, 20002 (202) - 343-9614. Jet Lowe also works for NPS (202)343-1020. This is two year old info though. You might also try getting in contact with Kirk Gittings: 1414 Phoenix Northwest Albuquerque, N.M. 87107 (505) 344-5436. Hope this helps

-- Sean yates (, March 09, 1999.


I forgot, you can get glossy Azo, grades 2, 3, & 4 from Calumet Photo: 1-800-CALUMET. Are there any VC fiber based single weight papers?

-- Sean yates (, March 09, 1999.

Jack Boucher use 5x7 Linhofs and has developed a simple method of photogrammetric targets that are placed on the building. He does this without using a reseau grid in front of the film. They also are using the 45 Linhof Metrika photogrammetric camera.

There are a few books available from Habs that outling Jack;s working procedures and equipment. I have also seen these sold by the photogrammetric associayion in the

-- bob salomon (, March 09, 1999.

I don't know how I missed this one. I do this work almost exclusivley on a contract basis and have for 16 years now. It does not pay really well because there are a lot of barriers to charging what would be considered professional rates. I show up on site with $10,000 worth of equipment but rumor has it that the going rate for this kind of work is $500/day. I can't say what you should charge but do it lump sum, figuring what you would like to make and what it will cost you, and quote that figure. It is very techinical work but satisfying. I've done hundreds of HABS and HAER recordations over the years. I like the contract angle because I don't have to specialize in one or the other like NPS's Lowe and Boucher. I've done them in 4X5, 5X7 and 8X10. I would say that regions have some variation but for 16 years I have done all on double-weight, fiber-based, VC B&W paper with no problems. Azo is recommended in some of the stips but not adhered to. The result is what counts. Negs. and contacts must be archival, flat (pressed), well printed, and show the edges of the film (proof of large format). I would recommend doing your best to think of all expenses, work it into a proposal with your rate inserted, coming up with a final price and seeing if it will fly. Keep in mind that "they" don't like to pay for it. This is probably too late but consider it for next time.

-- Rob Tucher (, March 31, 1999.

Many, many thanks for the suggestions from Sean, Bob and Rob. You were all very helpful and I appreciate the expert advice. Rob, you were most helpful and I especially appreciated hearing from you since you have been doing this work. Thanks a bunch!!

-- Bill Tate (, April 01, 1999.

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