Industrial photography is perhaps one of the toughest jobs for a photographer. But is always reward with many fascinating pictures of the industrial sector. I totally love making pictures that are more difficult to access by the public, i don’t like to be quite same with anyone else. Is pretty boring.
Nothing is as easy as it looks. You may have noticed how the photographer takes a picture, and you may think his effort is idiot proof, “I can do it too, hold the camera and point at the scene, what’s so difficult about it?”. However, when you tried it, the end result is vastly different from a professional photographer whose eyes is “trained” to compose a picture perfectly.
What are the challenges industrial photographer faced?
1. 99% of the shooting time is working under the scorching sun, if not underground (more dangerous). I am perhaps no different from other construction workers working on the site. Sometimes my neck may be sunburnt after out on the site from day to evening. That is why workers are usually well covered up from head to toe.
2. PPE means Personal Protective Equipment. This refers to wearing of protective clothing, safety helmet, goggles, or other forms of garments to protect my body from injury in the construction site. Everyone that enters into work site has to comply with the site stringent requirement. This is a basic requirement and importance of safety aspects.
3. If you, unfortunately, have acrophobia. Industrial photography job is not suitable for the weak hearted. Many times i have to be “cage” inside the boom lift and elevated me up to the maximum height to make pictures. I will be required to be geared up wit a safety harness, which is an additional weight on my body, sometimes am just too lazy to take it out until the end. If is in a windy condition, my body will feel the panel cradle is shaking, can be a rather scary moment, but i trust the capability of the industrial equipment. Anytime when is not safe to work, the operators will have to lower us down. Safety always comes first.
4. As any other type of outdoor photography, having a clear blue sky is the most ideal. Having a clear blue sky makes the scene stand out very well, and with an understanding of the direction of the sun. The downside is the weather can be rather roasting, especially sites in the coastal area. Temperature can easily reach 34-35 degree celsius . Can you within the heat?
5. Hydration is very important, i usually can be out on-site with little food. As i always lost my food appetite under the hot sun. But i can’t go without water. The body can be easily dehydrated. Constant fluid is much needed, i always try to carry 500ml of water bottle with me. Additional weight as well.
6. Going into the construction site require maneuvering past a lot of obstacles. As i am required to climb up long steps or even squatting low for access to a certain access point. If i carry my bulky camera bag into the site, the additional weight and size will affect my mobility and stamina. My solution is to bring 2 cameras with lens attached, a special design belt that can hold my ThinkTank modular pouch with lenses in it.
7. Getting the “right” picture can be challenging at times because of various reasons.
a) Some workers may not be properly geared up for certain type of work
b) The site is unorganized due to the arrangement of equipment
c) The ground is muddy after a heavy downpour
d) Certain type of work breach safety regulation which i have no knowledge of
e) Weather is cloudy, makes the picture almost flat
This concludes the numerous difficult challenges for an industrial photographer (I haven’t even touched on the technical aspect). This type of job requires someone who is passionate and dedicated to documenting the industrial work process for the client. You may not need to be in the field of construction or engineering to do this type of photography. But the passion for it is more important. I started out with no knowledge but a desire to work in the industrial sector. I always learn along the way as i paved to further develop our skill and knowledge.
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