The Industrial Photographer

Kenneth Jones


chemical processing, drone photography, industrials, M&E, manufacturing, photographs, quarries, real estate, transportation, warehouse

An industrial photographer is a professional commercial photographer who specializes in photographing anything and everything related to industries of every type imaginable, including the specialized machinery and equipment used in those industries.

They are experienced photographers who shoot everything from a small local machine shop to the unique components of a chemical processing facility, to a quarry mine and its processing equipment, to a container shipping port facility, among thousands of other industrial uses and the equipment each uses.

industrial photographer

People who shoot industrial buildings, sites, structures, machinery, and equipment are intimately familiar with industrial uses.

For example, in 1970, Sandvik Steel trained me in steel production techniques at their main steel manufacturing facility in Sandviken, Sweden. The training program included being in the mills to observe and gain a functional understanding of the machinery, equipment, and procedures used to manufacture stainless steel pipe and tubing.

industrial photographer

Shortly after, I became a broker and appraiser of industrial uses, and since then, I've shot thousands of industrial buildings, structures, sites, machinery, and equipment throughout the United States. I also became one of the few who earned an Accredited Senior Appraiser designation in the area of Machinery & Technical Specialities: Mines & Quarries by the American Society of Appraisers in 1991.

The Unique Nature of Industrial Photography

Industrial photographers frequently work exposed to the elements rather than in the shelter and comfort of a heated and air-conditioned studio. Consequently, they don't usually have control over the lighting conditions under which they are frequently required to shoot, which are often less than ideal.

In addition to being highly skilled photographers, industrial photographers use their knowledge of their equipment and their decades of experience to overcome most adverse issues. They're also a rather hardy bunch who venture into places where most other people would never venture.

Although they commonly photograph buildings and heavy equipment from the relative safety of highly developed areas, the industrial photographer also finds themself in some relatively remote and potentially dangerous locations, as well as in some precarious places such as on bridges, ship decks, building roofs, and catwalks.

But there are also new technologies that provide excellent photo and video quality which have substantially minimized the risk to life and limb.

Today's professional industrial photographer holds an FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate, as I do, and uses a high-quality drone (a/k/a Unmanned Aircraft System - UAS) to reach vantage points from which to shoot photos and video that are inaccessible by any other means.

The latest drone technology, called a Fist Person View, or FPV drones affords the licensed pilot photographer the ability to fly through building interiors and shoot high-quality photos or video. These FPVs can also fly through and photograph a variety of structural spaces, and even inside accommodating machinery and equipment.

In addition to being able to take high-quality photos and video of things that were previously inaccessible, using a drone, the photographer no longer has to climb up 100 feet on a steel ladder to a small platform with the wind blowing in his face or lean over the edge of a bridge to get the needed or desired shot and eliminates potential serious injury to the photographer; it also saves their client the cost of the high-risk insurance.

Who Hires an Industrial Photographer and Why?

The types of businesses that hire industrial photographers are almost as limitless as the types of industrial uses and related machinery and equipment.

That said, among the most frequent users of industrial photographers include:

  • Property Owners
  • Architects
  • Construction Companies
  • Construction Materials Manufacturers
  • Material Fabricators
  • Machinery & Equipment Manufacturers
  • Real Estate Brokers
  • Banks and Private Investors
  • Insurance Companies
industrial photographer
industrial photographer

Professionally created industrial photographs are an essential necessity for virtually every industrial related business.

These images are used in marketing and advertising campaigns of property owners, architects, and real estate brokers to display the type and quality of the structural designs and amenities to attract tenants, buyers, and investors.

High-quality photos are also used for marketing and advertising purposes by construction companies to show their skills, machinery and equipment manufacturers to emphasize the benefits of their products, construction materials manufacturers to bring attention to the quality and uses of their materials, and material fabricators to feature the skills.

Operators of quarries that manufacture construction materials, including architectural stone and aggregates for asphalt and concrete manufacturing, use industrial photographs in their marketing materials to demonstrate their sites and processing equipment. Many aggregate quarry owners are also involved in manufacturing asphalt and concrete and use industrial photographs to bring these products to the attention of existing and potential customers.

Banks and private financial investors with an interest in major industrial construction projects use industrial photographers to catalog the progress of a project and as on-site inventory control. They will also use these photographers to make regular observations of existing projects to track maintenance quality and regulatory compliance.

Much like banks and investors, insurance companies also use industrial photographers to help them determine the quality, condition, safety, and maintenance of insured or potential insured items in their risk assessments.

The Value of Industrial Photography

As you may now understand, industrial photography isn't about the vanity of having an attractive picture on the wall of your office.

Industrial photography serves a variety of valuable services, from marketing and advertising a property or a business to maintaining good business and financial relationships to boosting your workers' company pride and morale.

industrial photograph

If you're interested in learning more about how industrial photography and videography can benefit your business, contact me for a complimentary consultation.

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