Industrial photography is a specialized field of photography dedicated to recording the means of production and workers involved in the various industrial apparatuses that have, in the past century, become essential to the functioning of a modern society. This may be a wide angle shot of a company’s newest factory to show business’s investors progress on their investments or a more intimate shot of the gears of industry turning and the people who allow them to keep going, be they autoworkers, slaughterhouse workers or machinists. Whether it’s for business or art, industrial photography is a field that captures a great many elements of the modern world.
However, photography in this specialized area requires certain methods and approaches to account for the sheer size of the subjects that are often quite hard to frame, even for professionals. Additionally, even the most exciting pictures will seldom be fascinating on their own, requiring even the best industrial photographers to do extra work to ensure that their resulting pictures are interesting on their own merits. Planning and preparation are even more important in industrial photography than most other forms of photography, be they commercial or artistic, and can make all the difference between an annoying picture and a compelling portrait of modern industry.
The right equipment is just as important in industrial photography as it is anywhere else. However, tripods are of particular importance, as machinery features a great many very straight lines and sharp angles that even the slightest movement and tilt can distort significantly. Without a tripod, your best bet is to place it on a flat surface where there is no shaking that will twist and blur the photo around.
The lighting of industrial areas will of course need to be accounted for when taking your pictures. Studying exposure and the techniques associated with this element of photography can be very important, whether the industrial lighting is unusually bright or unusually dim. Industrial settings have both these extremes and a lot in between, so understanding how to measure how bright light is and knowing how to properly use the light you do have is essentially. Some particular shots may allow you to bring your own lighting to illuminate the shot, but that leads into matters of preparation.
Indeed, as mentioned earlier, planning and development are exceedingly important in industrial photography. Visiting the area you wish to photograph before the shoot can be very important, particularly if you will not have much time to take the pictures themselves during the shoot. Knowing the ins and outs of an industrial area beforehand can be vital in knowing the best angles for everything from good lighting to the best places to get a wide angle shot without getting too far away. Talking to the area’s management to get access before the shoot is not a bad idea if the people above them have approved of your presence. Pre shoot are also quite important to get a sense of what the resulting pictures from the real shoot will look like.