Types Of Industrial Photography

welder with mask and backward hat working at industrial facility

Industrial photography is a broad category of corporate photography documenting the facilities, people, and processes behind an industrial brand. While it’s technically a “niche” on its own, several sub-categories fall under industrial photography. 

In this article, I’m going to break down as much as I can about the types of industrial photography. Continue reading to learn: 

  • What types of photos are used in industrial photography 
  • What industrial photographers capture 
  • The different segments of industrial photography 
  • Common applications of industrial photography 

What Types Of Photos Are Used In Industrial Photography?

Industrial photography is comprised of different image types. In essence, an industrial photoshoot involves a combination of the following services: 

  • Architectural Landscapes: These are images of industrial facilities and workplaces – both from the exterior and interior perspective. 
  • On-Location Commercial Lifestyle Photos: Roaming the grounds without disrupting day-to-day operations, industrial photographers document the facility through candid commercial lifestyle images of everyday interactions. 

architectural image of corporate building

What Do Industrial Photographers Capture?

Photographers are tasked with capturing an industrial brand through visuals. Think about how many different components factor into the success of a business in an industrial sector. 

The final product or service offered is a culmination of three main components that need to be captured in a single industrial photography session. 

  1. The Equipment
  2. The People 
  3. The Proces

In the following subsections, I’ll break down the various elements of an industrial organization’s visual brand that photographers capture. 

1. The Machinery 

Industrial organizations want to highlight innovation and technology in their equipment and machinery. Staged shots of equipment and candid photos of machinery in action are valuable images for visual marketing content and branding

Photos of machinery serve as a literal example of groundbreaking, innovative technology. They can also symbolize a forward-thinking industrial brand always a step ahead of the competition. 

Documenting machinery also highlights a part of an industrial operation that consumers rarely get to see. 

2. The People 

One core component of an industrial photo shoot is the people – the workers in the factory. To connect emotionally with their target audience, industrial brands highlight the real people behind the products and/or services they offer. 

In documenting people, industrial photographers showcase elusiveness by maneuvering throughout a facility to capture workers in their natural element. This opens the door for consumers to relate to the authenticity of employees. It helps put a face to the brand and the products or services that it provides – shaping a positive brand image

As with machinery, images of the people in an industrial facility provide a behind-the-scenes view of an industrial brand that’s often overlooked by consumers. 

group of individuals walking through industrial manufacturing facility

The Process

At their core, industrial photographers specialize in capturing the industrial process through imagery. In a sense, the people and machinery make up the process. But skilled photographers find a way to weave those images together in a cohesive visual narrative that explains the process from start to finish. 

To provide a full view of the process, photographers move throughout the facility while work is completed. As I mentioned before, this requires the ability to blend in and go unnoticed without disrupting the workflow. All while making sure to capture each step of the process.

The Different Segments Of Industrial Photography 

Industrial photography is a wide umbrella under which numerous subcategories sit. 

The different types of industrial photography include: 

  • Aerospace Photography 
  • Agricultural Photography 
  • Architectural Photography 
  • Automotive Photography 
  • Construction Photography 
  • Environmental Photography 
  • Industrial Services Photography 
  • Logistics and Transportation Photography 
  • Manufacturing Photography 
  • Mining Photography 
  • Pharmaceutical Photography
  • Power Generation Photography 
  • Technology Photography 
  • Telecommunications Photography 
  • Utilities Services Photography 

In the subsections below, I’ll provide a detailed overview of each industrial photography segment. 

man with white beard in red flannel long sleeve cutting metal with saw

Aerospace Photography 

Aerospace photography is a type of industrial photography that documents aerospace operations. That includes both aviation and space flight. There is a wide range of aerospace applications, including commercial, industrial, and military. 

The aerospace industry manufactures many products, including: 

  • Passenger and military airplanes
  • Helicopters
  • Gliders
  • Spacecrafts
  • Launch vehicles 
  • Satellites
  • Other space-related items 

The aerospace process is documented through images ranging from the design and assembly of a helicopter to the test launch of a new satellite component. 

Agricultural Photography 

Agricultural photographers document the practice of cultivating, breeding, or harvesting plants and animals to provide food, wool, or other products. 

Several different types of organizations fall under the agricultural industry, including: 

  • Farming products 
  • Ranching products 
  • Food production
  • More 

In an agricultural photography engagement, photographers capture images of the following: 

  • Farm equipment 
  • Livestock 
  • Crops
  • Landscapes 
  • Farmers and field workers in action 

Images that take consumers into the fields where food they eat or products they use are grown provide a new perspective in marketing and advertising materials, as well as imagery for a professional website

agricultural farmer working in fields

Architectural Photography

The documentation of structures is a form of industrial photography referred to as architectural photography. It involves capturing both exterior and interior shots of various structures. 

Architectural structures that photographers are tasked with capturing can include: 

  • Buildings
  • Bridges 
  • Cityscapes
  • Other structures 

Architectural photography isn’t always classified as industrial photography. During a standard corporate photography session, images of compelling office building exteriors and/or modern, sleek interior spaces are often taken.

group of employees meting at round table in office facility

Automotive Photography

Automotive manufacturing photography is a form of industrial photography that documents automotive products and the processes behind them. Photographers go into the factory where vehicles are made, providing a rare perspective to the customer. 

Automotive photography can range from any of the following: 

  • Behind-the-scenes shots of the design process 
  • Candid images of a new car’s assembly 
  • Visuals of testing new components 
  • Action shots of the vehicle in motion

automotive manufacturing employee working in facility

Construction Photography

Construction photography is the documentation of construction projects, worksites, and practices. It incorporates a range of images focused on specialized equipment, workers on site, and the jobs they’re completing. 

There is a wide range of use cases for construction photography, including: 

  • Capturing the progress of a project over time 
  • Giving viewers a unique perspective on the project 
  • Promoting a project 
  • Showcasing a construction brand’s work 

Not all construction photography engagements are on behalf of construction companies. A corporate brand investing in a new office may utilize construction photography to promote its future facility. 

overhead image of bridge construction project

Environmental Photography

The documentation of the environment is a form of industrial photography known as environmental photography. It’s a niche primarily aimed at bringing attention to environmental issues, promoting preservation, and highlighting research efforts. 

Food Processing Photography 

Food processing photography is the documentation of food processing operations through images. 

Different types of food processing operations fall under this type of photography, including: 

  • Packaging and labeling 
  • Preparation processes 
  • Cooking processes and preservation 
  • Storage and warehousing 

Examples of imagery range from candid shots of a packaging plant highlighting the cleanliness standards to portraits of warehouse workers promoting the people behind the brand. 

food manufacturing employee measuring product

Logistics and Transportation Photography  

Another type of industrial photography is logistics and transportation photography. It’s pretty self-explanatory – documenting logistics operations and transportation providers. 

Two main types of logistics companies invest in photography: 

  1. Freight forwarders specialize in the transport of goods. They offer a variety of services like documentation preparation, packing and shipping, cargo insurance and customs clearance, consolidation and deconsolidation, and freight insurance. 
  2. Third-party logistics providers offer a range of logistics services including procurement, order fulfillment, storage, transportation, supply chain strategy, inventory management, IT systems integration, and more. Businesses use third-party providers to completely outsource their logistics operations. 

Both types of logistics companies need to sell their process to prospective businesses. Industrial photographers go inside the facilities of logistics companies to capture the process in action, the services they provide, and the people who make the operation run. 

When it comes to transportation photography, there are four main forms: 

  • Air: Planes and helicopters that transport goods (or services) via air. 
  • Road: 18-wheelers, large trucks, vans, and other vehicles that transport goods on the road. 
  • Water: Larger shipping barges, smaller ships, and other boats that transport goods via water. 
  • Rail: Trains that transport goods by railroad. 

Industrial photographers working in the transportation space capture the entire shipping process, from loading vehicles to the physical act of transporting goods.

Manufacturing Photography 

Manufacturing photography is one of the most common forms of industrial photography. It’s the process of documenting manufacturing facilities. There’s crossover between manufacturing and other types of industrial photography, such as automotive manufacturing photography. 

Manufacturing photography is a massive segment consisting of its subsections. Some examples of manufacturing photography include: 

  • Food and beverage manufacturing 
  • Cable manufacturing 
  • Clothing manufacturing 
  • Petroleum, chemicals, and plastics manufacturing 
  • Electronics manufacturing 
  • Metal manufacturing 

welder with mask working at industrial facility

Mining Photography 

Mining photography is another self-explanatory type of industrial photography. It’s the visual documentation of mining operations. Ranging from extraction to transportation, industrial photographers typically shoot one of the following types of mining facilities: 

  • Open pit mines 
  • Underground mines 
  • Quarries 
  • Sand and gravel pits 

Pharmaceutical Photography 

Pharmaceutical photography is the visual documentation of pharmaceutical operations. It covers every step of the process, from research to manufacturing and testing. 

While pharmaceutical photography is a type of industrial photography, there are other use cases. Pharmaceutical and medicine product photography expands beyond the lab, incorporating high-quality product photography as well as advertising photography used to depict scenes of successful treatment. 

pharmaceutical manufacturing professional assessing product

Power Generation Photography 

The visual documentation of power generation facilities and processes is called power generation photography. This type of industrial photography covers anything from the construction of a power plant to the operation of a facility. 

Some examples of power generation facilities that photographers could be hired at include: 

  • Coal power plants 
  • Natural gas power plants 
  • Oil power plants 
  • Nuclear power plants 
  • Solar power plants 
  • Wind turbines 
  • Hydropower plants 
  • Biomass plants 

Each type of plant uses photography to capture its efficient process, state-of-the-art facilities, and hardworking employees in action.

Technology Photography 

Technology photography is a broad subset of industrial photography that documents technological manufacturing facilities and processes. 

Some examples of technology photography include: 

  • Computer industry 
  • Electronics manufacturing industry 
  • Scientific instrumentation 
  • Industrial machine production

manufacturing employee working on machine in factory

Telecommunications Photography 

Telecommunications photography documents the operations of a telecommunications brand. It encompasses every facet of a telecom company, including: 

  • Construction of cell towers 
  • Maintenance of a telephone line 
  • Workers interacting and completing tasks 

Utility Services Photography 

Utility services photography is the visual documentation of various utility providers and facilities. Some examples of utility services that could incorporate professional photography include: 

  • Electrical utilities companies
  • Fiber optics companies 
  • Water and wastewater treatment companies 

Common Applications Of Industrial Photography 

Although there are so many different segments of industrial photography, they tend to use the images for common purposes. 

Here are some of the most common applications of industrial photography: 

  • Product catalogs 
  • Instruction manuals 
  • Website content and imagery 
  • Online marketing and social media 
  • Print advertisements 
  • Sales presentations 
  • Trade shows

man with hairnet working in egg manufacturing facility

Work With Casey Templeton For Your Industrial Photography Needs

That was a lot of information to take in. Such a wide range of niche industries can benefit from investing in professional photography. Industrial photographers typically shoot for multiple industries but always double-check to make sure they shoot your specific industry. When finding a photographer for your needs, you can narrow down the search for professionals with a deep portfolio relevant to your niche. 

Casey Templeton Photography offers professional industrial photography services in Nashville, TN, and beyond. Casey has years of technical practice behind the lens and experience in business branding for various industries and business sizes. To learn more about industrial photography or get started on a project, fill out a contact form

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