I field a lot of calls for HABS, HAER or HALS photography services so I wanted to put the fourteen most important questions for a HABS photography project out there. This will help you get the fastest and most complete estimate and if you’re getting competitive bids, every photographer will be quoting the same project, apples to apples. These are the basic questions I’ll be asking when you ask for a price for documentary photography plus there will be specific questions on every job such as schedule and logistics.
Of course the most important question is HOW MANY VIEWS but the other thirteen will help in terms of accuracy and avoiding surprises and upcharges.
1. Number of HABS/HAER/HALS views required (or range) :
2. Is one set going to the Library of Congress as a donation or through NPS (Section 106) :
3. Archival CEQA/NEPA/106 complaint Large Format Film or other :
4. How many sets of film negatives per view (typical is 1 master set) :
5. How many archival mount cards sets are needed for distribution (typical is around 2 to 4 archival sets) :
6. Are duplicate color digital camera views desired for each B&W film view :
7. Who is creating the final HABS captions and Photo Index and key maps (photographer or consultant) :
8. Is 2M/4M enough insurance coverage for the contract :
9. What is the underlying project or change that requires documentation is there a HSR, 523s or survey you can share :
10. Is there an MMP, MOA, EIR or mitigation requirement for the documentation and can you supply the text :
11. Daylight hours of access permitted (7AM to 7PM is ideal) :
12. Access issues: dirt roads, boarded windows, locked access gates, security clearance or escort required :
13. Electricity available for interiors :
14. Can the tasks be invoiced as completed :
Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section of my website if you’d like more details about what to expect in planning and carrying out a documentation to Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record or Historic American Landscapes Survey documentation photography standards. Large Format photography that conforms to the HABS/HAER/HALS photography guidelines is still the only type of photographic documentation that meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Architectural and Engineering Documentation.
Stephen Schafer Photographer