We were recently asked to put together an RFQ for a potential job. To those of you outside the A/E/C world, an RFQ is a Request for Qualifications. Architects are asked for RFQs all the time and also RFPs (Request for Proposals) and therefore, indirectly, I know what a major undertaking they can be. I had been asked for RFQs before but, they typically consisted of a 3 to 4 page document and a portfolio of work or website link. This RFQ was DIFFERENT. The request was a major university who was doing a national search to find a photographer or organization who would serve all their architectural photography needs over the next 3 years. The client took the same format that they would use to select and architect and applied it to architectural photography and thus, it was quite the undertaking. Apart from the run of the mill info: “How many years have you been in business?”, “Do you have ample insurance?”, “Do you have pending lawsuits against you?”, the meat and potatoes of the RFQ was How many national awards have the projects you have shot won? and How many times have your projects been published nationally? Well, one might believe we might readily know this information but, after a shoot happens, we are often not informed when these things happen and it required a bit of sleuthing. We reached out to clients, inquired and round up quite a list. In the process we learned that 45 Projects we had shot had racked up 90 not only National but, International Design Awards and if you threw in the State and Local AIA Awards, that number was closely approaching 200! We also found that our work had been published in either a Nationally or Internationally distributed publication 124 times! That is a bunch of published work.
In the end, our RFQ was 44 pages long! We sadly were not short listed but, I didn’t feel bad. The of the three firms that were shortlisted, two were local to the project and the third was a collaborative of photographers so, they could mix and match talents to the respective projects. I am not a stable of photographers nor could I make myself local so I felt good about the effort we put forth. More importantly, I learned a great deal about the work I had done and now can walk into a meeting with the knowledge that a significant amount of the projects I have shot have either won a design award on the National or International stage or have been published on those levels as well, and few can say the same. We have served out clients well and some GREAT clients they are!