Being able to shoot a wide variety of locations is important for having a diverse portfolio and even a factory making hard cases may request a shoot for business materials. If you’re prepared before you go in you’re more likely to come out with a higher quality product. In this video, Jay P. Morgan gives us ten tips for shooting in a working factory and leaving with a happy customer:
This video may be geared toward videographers but a lot of these tips apply to still photography as well.
1. Scout the Location
If you go in the day before and take a look around you’ll be more prepared on the day of the shoot. Knowing where you can stand, where the best angles are, when is a good time to shoot, and where you’ll be able to set up lights and cameras will help you when you’re ready to shoot.
2. Make a List of the Process
Factories have a rhythm and flow and are constantly moving and full of action. The product being made will have a set order of production and knowing this order will help you capture each step. Even if you don’t exactly understand what is being done, you can still capture it for the client.
3. Look for Interesting Angles
Use a crane to get a camera high up or shoot from below for different points of view. A GoPro can easily be clipped onto a piece of machinery to get a perspective that couldn’t be reached otherwise. Think creatively.
4. Move the Camera
This point applies mainly to videography but can be a good reminder to move yourself when shooting—try out different angles and test other locations inside.
5. Use Ambient Light for Fill, Create Highlights with Lights
Set up your lights so they shine on the focus of your shot and let the ambient light in the room be your main source for fill light. Factories are typically very well lit and shouldn’t be dark, so you won’t need a lot of flash.
6. Add Color for Fill
Putting a color filter over a light can give your shot a more dramatic effect or make something plain pop. In the video, they use a blue filter to give the metal a different appearance.
7. Destroy Some Product
To get a unique perspective sometimes you may need to destroy some product. For example, cut the bottom out of a box so you get a unique point of view of workers opening the box or reaching for something.
8. Bring Clean Shirts
Workers may not always have clean clothing on or may wear shirts with logos that can’t go into a final product. If you have some extra shirts for workers to wear just in case this happens it will make your final product look clean and professional.
9. Be Pleasant and Persistent
Help the workers to get on board with the shoot so they have the same vision as you and want to help get the right shot. Don’t be bossy or demanding but approach them with enthusiasm and positivity so they can get on the same page.
10. Use Multiple Cameras and Angles
Set up multiple cameras and angles so when shooting one thing you can choose from different shots to see what works best. Have them facing different ways and use different lenses to get a broad range of shots.
Shooting in a working factory can be difficult if you’re not prepared, but with the right gear, attitude, and approach you can come away with the right shots and a happy client.
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