A photography project may take a whole day or even several days, but if plans are made beforehand then this is the best possible way of achieving results which will suit all concerned. It is vital for clients to be committed and involved in planning, location preparation and shoot. The following is my guide in getting the most out of a photo shoot.
- I always start by to you, not just e-mailing. A proper conversation will help you find out what the message really is and who it is to be aimed at. My intention is to try and get under your skin to be able to understand the situation and the industry as well as I possibly can in the brief time available. I aim to try and have an initial visit or a recce to assess the situation for myself. I can then raise any concerns and make suggestions. This will help you know what I require on the shooting day so that we make the best use of the time available.
- Who will be involved in the photography? Do they know they are to be included? Are they willing and can their time be made available for the shoot? Should they wear uniforms or specific workwear, should these be branded and is any new clothing required?
- If machinery is to be included does it require cleaning? If so, who is going to do it and can it be ready for the shoot date? Does the area to be shot need to be tidied up and is there enough space?
- Since I work with extensive flash lighting, I need a power supply. Are there enough sockets or is there power available? What kind of sockets are they, is it 110V or 240V. Warehouses are notoriously bad for power supplies and long leads generally need to be run from offices or cabins. Be aware that these may cause trip hazards and vehicles should not be allowed to drive over them.
- If the photography is to take place on a process plant, are there any gas clouds? If ‘yes’ then using flash could cause and explosion, so a gas meter will be required and a risk assessment and a method statement. Frequently, a work permit will then be issued which has to be closed at the end of the specified period.
- I aim to create a shot list from the initial recce. What do we need to photograph and how shall we achieve it? This schedule can then be put together which can be shared with people involved in the shoot. On the shooting day, the weather might be bad or a particular machine is not running. Hence what can be done instead or in a rearranged schedule to make the best use of time and the people available?
- I find it is essential that the individual person commissioning the photography is available on the shooting day. If not, then someone who is closely connected to it. If the photography is for you, then try and make sure that you are there to see what is happening and to sort out any difficulties or make decisions relating to circumstances on the day. It is your site and your factory so make certain that the results you want are achieved and that is done through good planning. For example, if a vehicle needs washing then please make sure it is ready beforehand, otherwise valuable shooting time can be wasted on chores which should already have been completed.
- Good photography takes time. I set-up a great deal of lighting which requires a power supply and space to work in. Photography is sometimes a bit disruptive but the results will last you a long time and may help to secure orders for years ahead. Therefore it is an investment in your company and is important. ‘Quick snaps’ will not do the job for you. They just won’t work.
- Where people are included in photographs, make certain that they are the right people for the situation and all health and safety procedures are followed. This includes clothing, displaying tattoos, PPE. Usually, I make certain that people have a job to do. An activity takes the mind off the actual photography. It may be a job that is undertaken every day, but for shooting purposes, arranging positions might be different. A photographer will place a chair at a certain angle for a reason. They may ask you to face in a particular direction for a reason. Please ask people to take instructions and listen to advice. And inform them, it is highly likely that it won’t be a 5 minute job. Being patient will help to achieve a polished result.
- Finally, I find that I can rarely do my job without other people helping me. I always make a point of saying ‘Thank you’ to people involved. I frequently rely on an extra pair of hands to help in making the job run smoothly. This might be carrying kit, it might be shifting stuff that is in the way which requires a fork lift. Even simple tasks like brushing the floor. They are all essential jobs to help in achieving a top notch result.
All images by Adrian Waine who can be contacted on 0151 356 3855 or www.photographyforindustry.com
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