Different Types of Industrial Photography: What Works for Your Industry?

Written by Robert Lowdon

Robert Lowdon is an internationally published commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada. He spends his time photographing architecture and industrial projects for the most part.

Published February 10, 2022

A construction worker takes a picture of the progress on the site with their phone.

Industrial photography is a specialized form of commercial photography that is used to capture images of industrial companies and their facilities.

Industrial photographers must have knowledge of how to use specialized equipment, such as professional cameras and studio lighting, in order to create images that accurately represent the company and its products.

Industrial photography is often used by companies to promote their products or services, and it can also be used for marketing and advertising campaigns.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different types of industrial photography by industry and give a brief introduction to how each one is used.

Agricultural

Agricultural photography is a niche within the broader field of commercial photography. Agricultural photographers typically work with art directors and art buyers to create images that sell products or services related to farming, ranching, and other food production.

While the specific subject matter can vary widely, agricultural photographers often focus on topics such as farm equipment, livestock, crops, and landscapes.

Tracking the combine through the dust cloud. © robert lowdon
A combine harvests crops in the fall

Construction

Construction photography is a type of photography that focuses on the documentation of construction projects. This can include anything from the construction of a new building to the renovation of an existing one.

Construction photography often captures the progress of a project over time, giving viewers a unique perspective on the construction process. It can also be used to promote a project or showcase the work of a construction company. Whatever the purpose, construction photography is an important tool for anyone involved in construction.

Worker inspects re bar on truck
A construction worker directs the unloading of rebar

Manufacturing

Manufacturing photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of manufacturing facilities and processes. This can include anything from the assembly of complex computer chips to the production of textiles.

An industrial photographer often captures the progress of production, giving viewers a unique perspective on the manufacturing process. It can also be used to promote a project or showcase the work of a manufacturing company. Whatever the purpose, manufacturing photography is an important tool for anyone involved in manufacturing.

Manufacturing | robert lowdon photography
Worker inspects product on production line

Logistics

Logistics photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of logistics operations. This can include anything from the loading of a truck to the unloading of a ship.

By capturing these operations in photographs, logistics photographers provide a visual representation of how goods are transported and delivered. It is important because logistics is an unseen industry and most people just don’t understand the complexity and difficulty involved.

Types of Logistic companies

There are many different types of logistic companies, each with its own specialized services. Some of the most common types of logistic companies include:

Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarders are companies that specialize in the transport of goods. They work with shippers and carriers to ensure that goods are delivered to their destination in a timely and efficient manner.

Freight forwarders often provide a variety of services, such as packing and shipping, customs clearance, and freight insurance. They are essential for businesses that need to transport goods overseas or across the country.

Third-Party Logistics Providers

Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are companies that offer a wide range of logistics services, such as transportation, warehousing, and order fulfillment. They provide these services to businesses of all sizes, from small mom-and-pop shops to large multinational corporations.

3PLs can be extremely valuable for businesses that want to outsource their logistics operations. By using a 3PL, businesses can save time and money while still getting access to the same high-quality services.

Transportation Management Companies

Transportation management companies (TMCs) are companies that specialize in the transport of goods. They work with shippers and carriers to ensure that goods are delivered to their destination in a timely and efficient manner.

TMCs often provide a variety of services, such as route planning, freight consolidation, and load tracking. They are essential for businesses that need to transport goods across the country or around the world.

Types of Transportation

There are many different types of transportation, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common types of transportation include:

Air

Air transportation is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to travel. It is also one of the most expensive.

Road / Truck Transportation

Road transportation is the most common type of transportation. It is relatively cheap and easy to use.

Water – Shipping

Water transportation is a slower but cheaper alternative to air transportation. It is often used for long-distance travel.

Rail

Rail transportation is a faster but more expensive alternative to road transportation. It is often used for long-distance travel.

Industrial photography of train
Train leaves oil refinery

Mining

Mining photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of mining operations. This can include anything from the extraction of minerals to the transportation of ore. By capturing these operations in photographs, mining photographers provide a visual record of how minerals are extracted and transported.

This type of photography can be extremely valuable for businesses that rely on efficient mining operations. It can also be used to improve process efficiency and identify areas where improvements can be made.

Mining photography can be used to document a variety of different mining and industrial facilities.

Some of the most common types of mining facilities include:

Open pit mines

Open pit mines are a type of mining facility that extracts minerals from the ground by removing large amounts of surface material. This type of mine is typically used to extract coal, oil sands, and other minerals that are located near the surface.

Underground mines

Underground mines are a type of mining facility that extracts minerals from the ground by digging into the surface. This type of mine is typically used to extract metals, such as copper and gold, that are located deep underground.

Quarries

A quarry is a type of mining facility that extracts rocks and minerals from the ground by breaking them into smaller pieces. This type of mine is typically used to extract gravel, limestone, and other types of rocks that are located near the surface.

Sand and gravel pits

Sand and gravel pits are a type of mining facility that extracts sand and gravel from the ground by breaking them into smaller pieces. This type of mine is typically used to extract sand and gravel that are located near the surface.

Each type of mining facility has its own unique set of challenges and photographic opportunities. Open pit mines, for example, are typically large and expansive, providing plenty of space to capture the scale of the operation. Underground mines, on the other hand, can be dark and atmospheric, offering opportunities for creative lighting effects.

Commercial photography clients
Geologist inspects core sample

Power Generation

Power generation photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of power generation facilities and processes. This can include anything from the construction of a power plant to the operation of a coal mine.

There are several different types of power generation facilities, each with its own unique set of challenges and benefits.

Power infrastructure is an essential part of any industrialized society. It is the backbone that enables businesses and households to access electricity and other forms of power.

As such, it is important for a professional photographer to have a good understanding of power infrastructure. This type of photography focuses on the documentation of power infrastructure facilities and processes.

Power generation industrial | robert lowdon photography
Employee at large power generation plant

Technology

Technology photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of technology products and processes. This can include anything from the assembly of a computer to the testing of a new software application.

Technology photography can be used to document a variety of different technology industries. Some of the most common types of technology industries include:

Computer industry

The computer industry is a type of technology industry that produces computers and other related products. This industry is typically divided into three main segments: personal computers, enterprise computing, and consumer electronics.

Electronics manufacturing industry

The electronics manufacturing industry is a type of technology industry that produces electronic components and assemblies. This is typically divided into two main segments: semiconductors and non-semiconductor electronics.

Scientific Instrumentation

Scientific instrumentation is a type of technology industry that produces scientific instruments and related products. This industry is typically divided into two main segments: laboratory equipment and medical devices.

Industrial Machine Production

Industrial machine production is a type of technology industry that produces industrial machines and related products. This industry is typically divided into three main segments: construction equipment, agricultural equipment, industrial equipment, and mining equipment.

Technology photography can be used to document a wide variety of different technology products and processes. Some of the most common types of technology products that are documented with photography include:

Industrial equipment | robert lowdon photography
Industrial service vehicles

Industrial Services

Industrial services photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of industrial service operations. This can include anything from the maintenance of a factory to the repair of a machine, or services to support a business.

Welder on job site
Hvac maintenance and installation

Automotive

Automotive photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of automotive products and processes. This can include anything from the assembly of a car to the testing of a new automotive component.

Inspecting large industrial mold
Machinist works on molds for automotive components

Food Processing

Food processing photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of food processing operations.

Food processing can be divided into several different types, each with its own unique set of challenges and benefits. Some of the most common types of food processing operations include:

Packing and labeling

Packaging and labeling is the process of putting food into containers and adding labels to identify the contents. This type of food processing is typically used to store food for later consumption.

Preparation Processes

Preparation is the process of preparing food for eating. This type of food processing typically includes tasks such as washing, peeling, and slicing.

Cooking Processes and Preservation

Cooking is the process of heating food in order to change its consistency or flavor. This type of food processing is typically used to prepare food for eating.

Storage and Warehousing

Storage is the process of keeping food in a safe and secure location. This type of food processing is typically used to store food for later consumption.

It is often standard to combine some form of food photography and/or product photography to promote the finished product.

Female warehouse worker promo
Logistics employee inspects client order

Utilities

Utility photography is industrial photos that focus on the documentation of utility operations. This can include anything from the construction of power lines to the maintenance of water treatment systems.

Generally, it is better to feature on-location photography for these types of businesses. You can also throw in a range of lifestyle photography to tell a better story of the work being done.

Also, it is important to feature the industrial facilities in the background to really get the story across.

Related: The Different Types of Photography

Environmental

Environmental photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of environmental issues. This can include anything from the prevention of pollution to a river to the recovering deforestation of a forest.

Forestry

Forestry photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of forestry operations. This can include anything from the planting of trees to the harvesting of timber.

Telecommunications

Telecommunications photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of telecommunications operations. This can include anything from the construction of a cell tower to the maintenance of a telephone line.

Pharmaceutical

Pharmaceutical photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of pharmaceutical operations. This can include anything from the manufacture of drugs to the testing of new pharmaceuticals.

Laboratory photography 14 | robert lowdon photography
Lab worker creates samples for testing new pharmaceutical products

Aerospace

Aerospace photography is a type of industrial photography that focuses on the documentation of aerospace operations. This can include anything from the assembly of an airplane to the testing of a new aerospace component.

Industrial images of aerospace can be quite dramatic. There are few industries like it.

Where Should You Use Industrial Photography?

There are a number of different places where industrial photography can be used. Your marketing company will often have the best places already outlined.

Here are some common applications for industrial photographs include:

-Product catalogs for industrial clients

-Instruction manuals for commercial clients

-Website content

-Marketing materials

-Sales presentations to potential clients

-Trade shows

No matter what your application, an experienced industrial photographer will be able to produce the high-quality images that you need.

Why Hire an Industrial Photographer?

Industrial photography is a specialized field that requires both experience and skill.

A commercial photographer who specializes in industrial photography will have the necessary skills and equipment to produce great results.

In addition, an industrial photographer will be familiar with the challenges that come with working in industrial environments. This can be a major advantage when it comes to getting great results.

If you need high-quality industrial photography, be sure to hire an experienced industrial photographer who specializes in this type of work. You’ll be glad you did!

Conclusion

There you have it. There are many different types of industrial photography, each of which is used to document a different type of industrial operation.

The combinations are truly endless, but I think we covered the major categories that commercial photographers would photograph.

A successful industrial photo shoot should include a broad range of images. The most important thing is that the image produced resonates with different kinds of potential customers, and gets them interested in doing business with your company.

Is there anything we should add to our list? Let us know in the comments!

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