Industrial product photography—AKA shooting really big stuff!
Okay, not all of the industrial photography we do is of really big stuff. But much of it is. And when I say “big stuff,” it’s because I don’t have the mind of an engineer—unlike my partner Greg who seems to know what he’s talking about when chatting with the project engineers. :)
What I do know is that a lot of love and hard work go into the final product, from the engineers to the production crew, to the marketing team. Everyone is proud of the final product and wants to show it to the world in its finest form.
That’s where we come in.
Much of our job as photographers is solving problems. And photographing large products in an industrial setting presents challenges that you don’t always face shooting smaller products in the studio. With enough experience, you know how to solve problems that arise because you’ve seen them before.
We photographed this new energy recovery ventilation unit for RenewAire in Waunakee. Working with the marketing team, we were able to create exactly what they needed to tell the story they wanted to tell in their product brochure.
So, what do you need to create beautiful photographs of large pieces of equipment?
Here are just a few of the things we rely on for industrial photography:
Client input: Glamour shots may be obvious. But only the engineers and marketing people may know what shots are critical for telling the product story.
A knowledge of lighting: Going hand-and-hand with solving problems, photographic lighting is all about managing reflections. Many of the industrial products we shoot are made of highly reflective polished metal or painted metal. If you want to avoid unwanted hotspots or highlights, you need to know how to light!
Powerful strobes: A majority of the time, we use our strobes. (There are cases when this isn’t possible or the best option.)
White paper: Rolls of white paper are a key tool for managing reflections from the environment around the product and for saving time in post production if a product needs to be dropped to white.
A wide angle lens: Did I mention some of these products are BIG? And we usually have a limited space to shoot in.
Photoshop skills: Sometimes it’s most efficient to solve as many problems as we can in camera and use Photoshop to perfect the final photo. Experience tells us when this is the case. PS is also key for fixing the distortion that comes with shooting wide angle.
Before and after we dropped out this product shot for ACS, Madison. Sometimes equipment is too big to put white paper behind. This makes it more difficult to drop to white in Photoshop. But not impossible!
Do you have a new product you’d love to show off? We’d love to help!