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Making Manufacturing Sexy – The Glamour of Industrial Photography

For over thirty years Ainsworth Maguire has provided B2B PR services to industry throughout the supply chain from temporary buildings and civils, through plant and machines, to highly specialised components and processes. On meeting a new client – top of our list of questions is: do you have professional quality photography? Such is its importance to implementing a successful PR programme.

I am therefore pleased to feature this guest blog from industrial photography specialist, Adrian Waine. Adrian is based in Cheshire. He was formerly staff photographer with Saudi ARAMCO working from Dhahran and now photographs for corporate and industrial clients. In 2018 he won, for the second year running, the EEF industrial photography award.

Making Manufacturing Sexy – The Glamour of Industrial Photography

Photography and manufacturing is not a marriage made in heaven. Unlike studio based photography, the unpredictable industrial environments present unique challenges. These can include working around live production, mixed and usually poor lighting, health and safety, awareness of what is in the background (especially where there are visible products in shot that may be covered by non-disclosure agreements) and often the actual subject of photography may not be repeatable and so demands first time image capture.

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To an industrial photographer, like myself, these are the challenges upon which I thrive. Every new assignment is a puzzle to be solved, the prize being the perfect shot for the customer.

Most photographic assignments are commissioned for marketing purposes. A stunning visual image will always take president over the written word but it must also support text in news releases, feature articles, blogs, web site, advertisements, corporate brochures, exhibition stand graphics and social media posts. Still images can also play an important role in video. An often overlooked advantage of an outstanding picture is its ability to cut across cultural and language barriers.

Creating new content for marketing is little use without riveting pictures which stop you in your tracks. They draw your customers in, make them look deeper, maybe ask some questions and then you might be on your way to doing some business.

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A picture which carries its message from one brief glance can be worth its weight in gold, but how is it done? There are many different elements which create fantastic pictures, however the two main requirements are  (a) creative use of lighting and (b) attention to detail.

The key is often to root out something interesting about your subject which most people might miss, this might mean looking at it from floor level – yes down where all the dust and dirt lies! Once the viewpoint is located, it is then time to bring it to life with flash lighting which transforms a bland scene into a trade magazine front cover or a massive striking backdrop to an exhibition stand.

Picking out intricate details and textures by using small flash guns hidden within machinery can produce the most spectacular results. It shouldn’t be underestimated though, doing this kind of work takes time and sometimes equipment is out of action whilst the shoot takes place. Assignments which allow the appropriate time and space often produce the most exceptional photographs.

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As a fan of industry you will already know that the manufacturing environment can yield some of the most interesting and fascinating subjects. Transforming these into pictures can be heaven and hell at the same time for the industrial photographer, as things are not always as easy as they might seem. Simple issues such as power supplies, solvents and moving machinery are all obstacles to overcome. One everlasting occurrence is the flashing light on a fork lift truck – these act like a pulse which can continuously trigger electronic flashes into perpetually firing and then failing due to overheating!

Planning a photographic job requires a good technical knowledge where the photographer works in tandem with the site operators. The key is to get the job done safely whilst everyone else manages to achieve theirs with minimum disruption. Hence work permits and gas detection meters can come into action before a single shutter is fired. A good example would be paints and solvents where there is a potentially explosive atmosphere – don’t forget, electronic flash is a spark!

Having photographed in hundreds of workshops and laboratories over the years and seen countless shots appear on front covers and exhibitions, I wonder how many people ever give a thought to what effort hides behind them? The icing on the cake is really constructing these shots and putting them to work in your marketing!

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Professional industrial photography has to be seen as an investment as a set of really great images can run for miles and help you to win high value business and endorse the company’s brand though marketing and PR for many months, often years.

All images by Adrian Waine who can be contacted on 0151 356 3855 or www.photographyforindustry.com

If you require public relations and content creation services contact us now.

 

 

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