You Won the Lottery! Photography for Heritage Lottery Funded Projects

You Won the Lottery! Photography for Heritage Lottery Funded Projects

Photography of Historic and listed buildings

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has been a lifeline for many museums and heritage sites over the past decade.   It has saved from certain ruin hundreds of small heritage organisations, buildings, sites of special interest and given new opportunities to hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals through a dynamic and creative funding of projects across the UK.

HLF have certain requirements for documenting and preserving their funded projects through photography and have introduced guidelines for production of imagery.

This post is intended to run through a few of these guidelines to make sure that if you have been awarded a HLF fund; for anything from an entire multi million pound development project or even a small single workshop, you have the right information to choose a photographer who can help achieve these requirements.

For complete transparency I should note that I am a professional photographer who is trying to attract your business and whilst I specialise and have experience in working for HLF funded projects, I am not a representative of the Heritage Lottery Fund. However, all of the information that I am providing here can be obtained independently from the HLF guidebook - Photography of HLF-funded projects: A guide for grantees, which you can find on:

If you have been awarded a HLF grant – please refer to this guide as soon as possible! I am not going to cover every detail in this post, you should therefore refer to your funding documentation and your HLF advisor for a complete understanding of your particular requirements.

The first thing to note about photography for a HLF funded project is that it is a requirement. The first point of the guide states:

“Providing the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with images of your HLF-funded project is an important condition of your grant award.  We expect you to take and send us photos of the project throughout its lifetime. Good photos are a great way of capturing progress and successes. They help both you and us promote your project, and they show the difference that HLF funding makes.”

(Photography of HLF-funded projects: A guide for grantees, 2014. my emphasis)

Therefore you are required to take and submit, periodically, photographs that show your project to the highest standard you can achieve.

HLF suggests, and this is not exhaustive, that images show:

·       Photos that show both people and heritage, together.

o   Strong images that show historic places, landscapes, wildlife, etc, on their own can be very effective in showing off the heritage at the heart of your project, and we welcome those.

o   However, showing people engaging with, learning about, or looking after heritage is often the best way to tell the wider story of your project.

o   For example, if your project focuses on building restoration, show us the building with any visitors/volunteers at work.

·  Images of a diverse range of people taking part in and enjoying the project. We want to show that people from different backgrounds, cultures and age groups, and with different abilities, get involved with heritage, and thus encourage diverse organisations to apply to us for funding.

·  ‘Before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ images. These show the impact of the project.

·  Photos of events during the project. These can be effective in showing people engaging with heritage.

·  Archive photography of the heritage at the heart of your project. This can help to demonstrate historic value.

·  Images where HLF branding is visible. These show that you are acknowledging our support for your project and help us encourage others to do so.

This is quite a lot of requirements to achieve. Depending upon your project you may be attempting to photograph more than one, if not ALL, of these criteria. 

Headstone Manor during HLF funded redevelopment

For example, many projects include outreach and community programmes in which local people come and engage with the project during its initial phases, and sometimes  (if relevant), during any post-redevelopment and legacy goals. Educational programmes are also encouraged during the bidding process and will need documenting.   As you can see this can build up to be a great deal of photographs – with a expectation of high quality imagery. 

I specialise in providing a budget friendly solution to this issue.   With careful consultation and planning I am able to attend site during particular special events – such as community or educational sessions or landmark moments in construction phases – and document these events, and at the same time capture any construction or renovation work, thereby reducing time on site and therefore costs to you.  

HLF funded redevelopment of historic buildings

I also aim to deliver images that can be adopted for multipurpose uses – ones that fulfill HLF requirements, but also that can be used for your own marketing and social media, or museum archive and documentation, or even for your exhibition and museum display; illustrating the project in perpetuity.   I have extensive experience in delivering this form of photography, specifically for HLF funded projects. Please see my page Documentation Photography here. This means that you do not need to hire a photographer for multiple types of shoots – one for your HLF reports, another one for your marketing and promotional materials and another for your archive. My work intends to bridge all uses, thereby saving you money and providing images that can be used for years to come across many platforms.

If your project is building and renovation based with a lot of construction and building work, a ‘before and after’ set of images is a priority! This needs to be planned carefully before ANY work has begun, therefore get in touch as soon as you hear about your successful bid.   I specialise in creating exact positioned before and after imagery that highlights the impact of your project.  I can also produce periodical sets of images during construction phases that can document the project in a similar way to time-lapse photography (also something I can advise and create for you). How much or how little of the intermediate stages of the project is down to you and your HLF advisor. I can achieve anything from weekly, monthly or biannually.

Before and After Photographs of Historic house renovation funded by HLF

For a comprehensive package of documentation and multiuse imagery on a major construction or renovation project, I would recommend the following;

·       a comprehensive set of before (planned positions with your input and aims considered) images

Before and After photographs of historic house renovation funded by HLF

·       a monthly set of images taken from the exact same positions

·       a day shooting any notable progress (I would advise monthly but this can be coordinated with major construction points as pre-planned)

·       a comprehensive set of after images from planned positions

·       an additional set of images (outside of the prearranged positions) taking in any unplanned renovations or designed to highlight the legacy aspects of your project.

For bulk booking across longer construction phases discount rates can be applied. Contact me to discuss your needs.   These longer projects often prove a lot less expensive than you might imagine, given the scale, the volume and potential uses the images have.   However, I can design a bespoke package for your particular project and its goals that incorporates any level of photographic coverage you desire.

If your project is an event based activity, I can attend and shoot for a full day’s documentary style photography of people engaging and enjoying your project – be that a workshop, educational event or a series of community projects. These projects are charged at my standard day rate, although multiple bookings can attract a discount depending on time of year or number of days booked. Please get in touch for more information.

Another concern for many HLF projects is copyright and licensing of images. Many photographers retain copyright permissions and licence the images to museums for an additional, sometimes unexpected, fee. However, I charge a flat day rate! When you pay me for my day’s shooting, that is all you pay, ever! You retain copyright of the images. No hidden licence, no sneaky fees later. If you are not satisfied with my work, I will endeavour to rectify the issue immediately. All I ask for is a photographers credit in any publication or social media use.  That’s it! Nothing more! This way, you can budget accurately and have certainty about what you are paying for.

Budgets for these larger projects often change and can be difficult to track, therefore if you commission me for your photography I give a flat fee, with no hidden extras. We discuss what you expect and the imagery you require, we agree on the coverage of photographs you require, the number of days, and the intended outcomes of the project and I charge according to the number of days shooting. If you require a specialist outcome  (e.g. time lapse, infra red) these are agreed upon prior to commission and included in the quotation. Therefore, what I quote is what you pay. NO LICENCE, NO HIDDEN FEES! Just the best image quality and the reassurance that your project is covered.

Many projects have changing timetables, especially during construction. Delays can happen as construction continues or issues outside of your control arise. This is fully anticipated and should you find that prearranged photography days need re-arranging, provided I am given notice and am free on the desired day, there will be no issue or further charge.

Finding hidden archaeology during HLF funded renovation of historic building

Also, many projects find that additional photographs are required, sometimes on short notice. For instance if construction or renovation work turns up something interesting or important… This is the most exciting part of these large projects and am happy to come to your site as quickly as I can to document such exciting finds. Again, I charge my standard day rate, and no hidden extras for travel etc, (unless flying). Just give me a call as soon as you can and we can discuss additional shooting days.

Once again, if you have been awarded a HLF grant please refer to the guides online here: as soon as possible, and discuss the matter with your HLF caseworker.

However, please get in touch as soon as you are able. The more time we have planning our photography together, the better the results will be and the greater the impact for your project.

I hope you can tell from this post that I aim to be flexible, honest and open about my photographic service. I love HLF projects! I think they are excellent and I want to support them as best as I can. Therefore I try to be as easy and stress free to work with as I can. I have worked on these large-scale multi-million pound projects before, and I know how stressful it can be for the project manager and their team. Therefore I want to provide a guaranteed service you can feel relaxed and confident about. Don’t leave your important photographic requirements to chance!