Shining Light on the Drama of Industrial Environments #manufacturing #industrial #photography

Adrian Waine, an award winning industrial photographer, shows how rugged industrial environments are worthy of good photography and can be transformed into outstanding images which turn heads and get your company noticed for all the right reasons.

“It is not worth taking proper pictures here, the environment is too…”. You can complete this sentence with as many negative adjectives as you like, some unprintable! In my 30 years plus as a professional photographer I have heard many … ‘it’s too dark’, ‘too busy’, ‘too dangerous’, ‘too old and worn’, ‘too secret’, ‘too scruffy’.

Yet all companies are compelled to compete and promote themselves and, in our digital age, that means in pictures as well as words. So what to do? An approach taken by some is to find out who has the best camera on their phone and send them along to do the deed. From the selection of poorly lit and badly composed phone pictures, one shot is selected and trundled out on to social media and the company web site.

Yes, some money has been saved and you got that social post done. However, you don’t know how much you might be losing because those pictures are not making your business look like the skilled, expert, professional engineers that you are. You are not yet aware that when you need a large version of that picture for your exhibition board, the poor quality image only enlarges the gap between how you want to be seen and the perception you will actually create.

Poor pictures will never open the door of an opportunity to make the front page of your key trade publication. In short, a quick snap for a quick view and to be quickly forgotten.

Good Images Turbo Charge Your Marketing

Professional photography is an investment. A library of high quality images, kept up to date, is an enabler. It allows you to take advantage of marketing opportunities quickly because you always have something to draw upon where your competitors may not. In time, this pictorial record is your history – a valuable resource that will find new uses as new digital technologies emerge.

So what, you work from an industrial building that might be over a hundred years in use! We see it as a dramatic and charismatic backdrop. Dark? It just needs some sympathetic lighting. Works around the clock? Well, that is just a matter of timing and the right preparation to fit with production. In fact, all you need for ‘proper pictures’ in an industrial setting like yours is a ‘proper photographer’. One who understands these difficulties and knows how to overcome them easily to create striking images that ‘pop’ wherever they are seen – print, online, video, in the boardroom or a large exhibition board.

Painting with Light

A recent commission from PR experts Ainsworth Maguire, shooting for Wallwork Heat Treatment, illustrates my point. Their Manchester site is one of the largest heat treatment facilities in the UK. Serving aerospace, motorsport, medical and other precision industries, their working environment is 24/7. Much of their work is subject to non disclosure agreements. They have sites around the UK, some modern while others have had an 80 year plus working life. Lighting is mixed, skylights, sodium, strip and spots.

Understanding light is fundamental. Problems of mixed lighting are overcome with the right equipment. Using multiple high powered flash units, lighting can be arranged to generate a sense of drama and texture. The aim is to spotlight the subject and lead viewers into your world and see anything but the everyday and ordinary.

The furnace pictures you see here are from a shoot at one of Wallwork’s vacuum furnace halls and shows that such a hard-working environment can be transformed into some sensational head turning images. And yours can too! Review your photo library. Is it up to date? Are the images good enough in this digital savvy age? Are they working for you? As a professional industrial photographer, I know that however difficult you think your environment to be, there is a great image in the making.

Tackle your subjects with cracking lighting and you’ll have a set of images which keep the publicity fire stoked far longer that you thought possible. Coupled with this, Ainsworth Maguire PR can add the crafted text. Let them make headlines for you with their knowledge of engineering and manufacturing. It’s a positive combination that can blend words with imagery and put you on the road to progress.

To see more of our work visit the Photography for Industry gallery at

Adrian Waine, Photography for Industry (link, Tel: 0151  356  3855 Adrian Maguire, Ainsworth Maguire PR (link, Tel: 0161 408 7888

Manufacturing Update