Photographing large industrial equipment has many challenges unlike any other product photography. Generally the biggest difference is the scale. Machinery used to manufacture almost any product, ingredient or widget is just large. So how do you take on the challenge of product photography for large commercial clients?
Top 5 tips for industrial product photos
Here are my top five tips as a commercial product photographer for taking large scale product photos such as conveyor equipment or packaging machinery.
Tip 1 – Clean up – Make sure the machine is extremely clean inside and out. Yes you can make fancy edits in post production but do you really want to remove pinup posters off the wall between every part of the machine? I doubt it. Ask your client to have their employees clean the equipment as well around the system.
Tip 2 – Get up high – One of the best ways to capture the scale and complexity of any industrial machine is to photograph it from up high. Now you’re two foot ladder isn’t going to work here you’re going to need to go way up. Many factories will have gang ways or rooms, such as a lunch room, built above the work floor. Often you can find a perch with a strong footing to take your picture. If you have to use a scissor lift watch out for vibration, those things are notorious for wabblying.
Tip 4 – take your time – Make sure you have the time needed to take plenty of photos. Large industrial projects require many photos from the standard large overview shot to the more detailed photo. Keep in mind that many if not all of your pictures will require long exposures. This is not like sports photography where you snap hundreds of images in the matter of minutes. No this is a long slow process so make sure the client knows this and respects it.
Tip 5 – know your equipment – I know you know how to turn the camera on and use it, but do you really know all your equipment? You often read about finding the sweet spot for your lenses, what F stop is best etc… Well this is critical in shooting industrial photos. The ability to capture detail through the full image is essential to making a great photo. So take the time to read up on your lens and then test out the various aperture settings. Take photos of parking lots if you have to just simulate the space you’ll be photographing and test. Once you know the sweet spots for your lenses write them down and keep it handy.
Do you have any tips for photographing large industrial products or environments?