visual images designed to educate, communicate, and sell.

Industrial Photography

Boost Your Online Industrial Marketing with Optimized Product Photos

The goal of industrial marketing is to bring your products and services to the people who need them and this has become a bigger challenge in the digital world of endless information. When you boost your products and company with search engine optimized content, you will be more successful at connecting with your consumers.

Industrial-Product-photography

Organization and consistency are key elements for establishing and maintaining an effective online presence. Search engines want to connect their searchers to the most relevant content so your online strategy must be based on quality content tailored for people, not robots and spiders. In other words, “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines”.

There are simple ways to implement SEO into every channel from social media platforms to the photographs you choose to showcase your company and products.

Do Not Underestimate The Power Of Pictures For SEO

Pictures are nothing but a bunch of pixels and after all this is what Google thinks of them too.

In order to bring the pixels to life on search engines, you need to follow these simple steps. To get the most out of your product photography each image should be appropriately named, sized and described. This works wonders for industrial companies that offer online product catalogs.

  • Use ALT text to describe your product. Search engines find your photos by searching the text, not the image. ALT text is the primary text that Google uses to identify images in search results. ALT texts are usually the product name, i.e. 30 ft. horizontal car loading vacuum furnace, or Model MP1200 Melt Indexer.
  • Use Title Tags to provide additional information to the visitor. This is the text displayed when a cursor hovers over the image.
  • Adjust image file size. No one likes to wait for photos to load and page load time effects SEO rankings. To preserve the quality of your image and to ensure quick loading, use the free Image Optimizer tool. This will enable your photos to shine across all browsers and mobile devices.
  • Add a File Name. Pick a descriptive name for your photo and I recommend including a link to your online catalog. You want to choose a file name that you want the image to rank for. Look at these search results as an example to see how the top results are linked to a site.
  • All of your line items should have an accompanying image with them. The more pictures you have of your products, the higher ranking your catalog will be.

Over the years  I have seen industrial manufacturing photography change from a basic professional service into a digital powerhouse that can bring any industry to life on the web. Search engines are a great tool to help consumers find what they need and they work together with social media to connect your brand to your audience.

Advertisements

How Technology Has Changed The Business Of Industrial Photography

THE INFLUENCE OF TECHNOLOGY ON PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY

In 1827 the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce introduced photography to the world. Photography has evolved from a science experiment to a fast paced digital platform. Starting with silver nitrate, copper and other chemicals, the process of developing photographs was much more complex than that of today’s digital routine of memory sticks and laptops. Don’t get me wrong. This profession is packed full of digital tasks challenging me to produce powerful industrial images for my clients and digital photography allows me to expand my services into 3D rendering and photo re-touching.

Banner for Blog Industrial

The notable aspect of the technological influence on photography is how it is changing the profession. The demand for high quality professional photographs is diminishing, technology is shifting the way people perceive photography and technology has made digital photography more accessible. Every skilled and dedicated photographer knows the most expensive camera does not replace the value of professional experience or a pair of trained eyes.

Technology doesn’t create professionals

Take for example this comment from Barry Hayes, a 35 year old pro photographer in Vermont:

“We all started as amateurs. But some of us developed our craft and improved our art. And while technology may produce a camera that can make a technically perfect exposure, it cannot yet produce an artistically satisfying image or revealing portrait without the eye and mind of a skilled professional.”

Acquiring new business for professional photographers is more of a challenge than ever in the digital age. Businesses have adopted a “Do it yourself attitude” because it’s easy to access digital cameras and professional photographers are competing with point-and-shoot and smartphone cameras. Now is the time to show clients the potential in hiring a professional photographer. Professionalism extends beyond the images I create and leads into the fine details I put into every project. Professional photographers are those that put effort into bringing out the best of your company brand and push the envelope for every project. You hire a pro to visually connect your company and service to your audience.

Digital photography has become more widely accessible and improvements in technology are lowering costs of digital gear. As digital photography grows and taking pictures becomes a part of everyone’s life, the need for professional gate-keepers has vanished. I don’t fear the idea that everyone can have a digital camera. This is pushing the limits and keeping me accountable to deliver better work and bringing a new energy to the field.

Here is a snap shot of the widespread digital camera growth:

  • From 2005 to 2009, the use of camera phones in the United States grew from 41 billion to 141 billion
  • In 2000, the percentage of U.S households with at least one digital camera was 10%. This grew to 68% in 2008. In 2012 the percentage of U.S households with digital cameras was 84%.

With every evolving industry there comes new opportunities to expand your services and talents.  Many companies are beginning to use video to connect with their audience on an emotional level and the demand for video is growing. Creating the perfect scene to highlight the best aspects of your business is one of the most challenging parts of my job and video allows me capture high quality HD footage to pair with your company vision. As an industrial photographer it’s exciting to know that industrial activity was first depicted in photographs at the beginning of the 1850’s. These powerful industrial images have captured generations of progress and innovation spanning over 160 years but the professionals taking these pictures are now experiencing the change that comes with such progress. Professional photography is not dying, it is just evolving and I will remain persistent by not letting my ability to “capture” overshadow my passion to “create”.


The Law Of Reflection In Industrial Photography

HOW TO PRODUCE POWERFUL INDUSTRIAL IMAGES WITH THE PERFECT LIGHT

Robotic arm at work in an aluminum foundry in Detroit

As an industrial photographer every project comes with many challenges to apply the perfect light to my subjects. Machines come in all shapes and sizes, factories are spacious and the lighting is not the most suitable for capturing professional pictures. It’s important to research your shoot location and prepare for the type of light in the facility to know the appropriate lighting equipment to bring. The law of light and reflection that apply to studio work are the same when your on set but you have to use certain techniques and utilize the environment in different ways.

Compared to shooting delicious plates of food and suited up executives, foundries and factories are not controlled environments and industrial photographers must work with the scene in its’ natural state. I have been exposed to a variety of industrial settings. From squeaky clean and sanitized laboratories to dirty mechanical factories safety gear is almost always required. As you approach your subjects and move about the area you must be cautious of moving equipment and employees at work. Eye protection is mandatory for the macro shots of electric equipment, sparks or liquids.

Here are 2 photos I took in a small foundry in western Ohio to show you the importance of eye protection and safety. I observe the area to get an idea of the shots I want then have to clean up and arrange elements to create the perfect scene. I always like to capture the action of the scene when I’m shooting people. 

The most common materials in factories just happen to be the hardest to photograph; pipes, gears, lathes, giant drill bits, valves and the list of metal and steel objects goes on. When your client requests a product shot that highlights their logo, you better reduce the glare and create evenly distributed light. These objects reflect everything.

SHOOTING REFLECTIVE OBJECTS

 “The law of reflection means that the angel of incidence equals the angle of direction. The angel that the light reflects the surface of the object equals the angel of the light being casted on the object.”

Taken in an aluminum Foundry in Detroit

This law certainly applies to shooting sparkling kitchen appliances like silverware and china. You need to focus on the light that is reflected off of the object and create the reflection you see in the object. It’s easier to control the reflection in a studio environment vs. being on set at the factory. Machines are much larger than forks and knives and more difficult to situate. Only Hulk can rotate 2,000 pounds of steel and arrange the perfect shot but his assistance isn’t always available…

Photographing shiny objects is an experimentation process. Try repositioning yourself around the object and test out different angles to get the shadows and light just right. Now that you know the science behind light reflection, here is a list of techniques to reduce glare and shadows on shiny industrial equipment while exposing the ambient natural colors and tone.

  • Set up your lights so they do not reflect any light on the object
  • If I have to use on camera flash I use a diffuser to soften the light on the object. I try to avoid this because natural directional light gives a a more realistic tone to the image.
  • I use a light tent in the areas where light is heavily distributed
  • Longer exposure is required when using indoor natural light so a tripod will be required

You need to avoid reflection in your photographs when the lighting is not suitable to capture the effect of shimmer and shine. On the other hand use reflection to bring out the best in your photos and brighten up your subjects.

Remember the light is not always in your control in large industrial settings and glare might show up even after you follow the above techniques. Here is guide for photoshop to eliminate glare and shadow that could not be avoided on the shoot.  


Creating Powerful Industrial Images In Celebration Of Manufacturing Day

HOW THE NEW HOLIDAY WILL KEEP THE AMERICAN MANUFACTURING PULSE PUMPING

This year, October is changing the future for American manufacturing and is bringing a bright side to the spooky month full of tricks and treats. From here on out, mark your calendar for the new holiday on October 5th, Manufacturing Day.

The director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Roger Kilmer says Manufacturing Day was grounded in the need to get as many manufacturing-related associations and groups on board to help spread the word, encourage manufacturers to open their doors, and get the public inside for tours. To carry out this mission, hundreds of factories and facilities across the country will open their doors for educators, students, customers and the public at large to expose their true inner workings.

The manufacturing industry has been the pulse of American progress since the industrial revolution. Connecting the west to the east with miles of tracks began as an idea and became one of our nations biggest accomplishments. Year after year, America turns big ideas into reality inside the factories and chemical plants across out nation. We’ve put the internet in the palm of your hand and electric cars in your driveway. As American companies experience the benefits in re-shoring their manufacturing, it’s time we expand knowledge and improve the public perception of manufacturing careers and it’s value to the U.S economy.

The main issue addressed by Manufacturing Day is the disconnection between the general publics view of manufacturing and the actual truth behind the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing offers great high-paying, professional jobs, yet the public doesn’t view them that way and there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill more than 600,000 jobs right now.

  • Manufacturing workers make more than $77,000 a year on average (about $20k more than other industries)
  • For every 1$ of goods produced, manufacturing generates an additional $1.43 for the economy
  • In just five states, manufacturing adds over half a trillion dollars to the economy

CHECK OUT THE VISUAL STORY LINE OF THE FACTS IN THIS INFO GRAPHIC.

The gift of photography let’s me capture the inner workings of factories and their employees to highlight accomplishment, progress and company objectives. I strive to reflect the hard work and passion that fuels every facility I shoot in every picture I create. It’s where forum meets function to create powerful and compelling images to help companies connect.  View my Lightbox-Imaging Flickr photo stream alongside this blog and enjoy, share and experience industrial manufacturing through my lens.

To support American manufacturing this Halloween, pass out the famous Dum Dum’s and know your made in America Candy with the American made directory website.

To learn more on manufacturing day, visit www.mfgday.com


Making Made In The USA Sexy Again

Re-Shoring Manufacturing For American Companies Now Has A Bigger Appeal Than Ever

Call it re-stabilizing, re-balancing or simply re-shoring. It is the concept of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States and companies are pleased with the outcome of doing so. For the nation, re-shoring brings back desirable jobs that have been lost to decades of off shoring. Businesses that have turned to countries for cheap labor have realized that labor isn’t the only thing they are paying for and that doing business overseas is more trouble than it’s worth.

First off, average wages in China have jumped 10 percent to 25 percent a year, hitting $4 to $6 an hour in some plants. Add in shipping and high fuel costs, and off shore manufacturing is no longer such a bargain.

Take for example the Minnesota company, Calibur11 that brought back the manufacturing of its’ gaming console protection kits to American soil because of the hassle they had dealing with China. Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said, “when you are dealing across the ocean, there are logistical issues and language issues and it’s not perfect overseas”. There are many reasons to bring manufacturing back to the states and one of the biggest supporters of the concept is Harry Moser, the founder of the “Re-shoring Initiative”.

The mission of the Re-shoring Initiative is to bring good, well-paying manufacturing jobs back to the United States by assisting companies to more accurately assess their total cost of offshoring, and shift collective thinking from ‘offshoring is cheaper’ to ‘local reduces the total cost of ownership.’

Some companies have never outsourced their manufacturing to other countries and they have their reasons for doing so. The upholstered furniture company Southern Motion didn’t see the cost reduction opportunities that a lot of companies thought they’d have going overseas. The furniture industry tends to import pre-made fabric kits but Southern Motion stitches everything in house. Leather and fabric kits need to be inspected and genuinely cared for and there are some parts of the kit that cannot be used. CEO of Southern Motion said relying on his own workers ensures quality of the product and allows flexibility that otherwise can’t be found by relying on work done offshore. Read more: djournal.com – ‘Reshoring’ could boost US manufacturing

So many companies focus on rudimentary costs, not the whole cost, which can add 20 to 30 percent,” said Moser. You may have improved margin by offshoring but your quality may have worsened and your overhead costs may be higher.

Follow Harry Moser on Twitter and support the re-shoring initiative while I leave you with his top reasons on how re-shoring benefits the companies in our nation and the nation as a whole.

NATION:                                                                                                 

  • Brings jobs back to the U.S.
  • Helps balance U.S., state and local budgets
  • Motivates recruits to enter the skilled manufacturing workforce
  • Strengthens the defense industrial base

COMPANIES:

  • Strengthens companies’ ability to respond quickly to customers’ demands
  • Improves quality and consistency of inputs
  • Eliminates the waste and instability caused by offshoring

My Approach to Industrial Photography

EXPOSING THE WAY I WORK INSIDE A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN INDUSTRIAL PHOTOGRAPHER

My eye protection is on, the factory is in motion and my camera is focused on the diamond steel blade router spinning at 10,000 rpm. I kneel down on one knee and raise my elbow to prepare for the perfect shot as the shards of steel thrash out from the machine that sounds like a screeching tiger in my ear. It’s just another day at the office as an industrial photographer.

There are so many facets of photography and people always wonder what photographers specialize in. I’ve perfected the lighting in fashion photography, captured the excitement of a moment as a photojournalist and  have produced many portraits, but my lens is clearly focused on the industrial and agriculture scene. When someone asks me what my specialty is, I simply reply, “capturing everyday life and communicating the ways in which society sustains itself”. Pictures are snapped in seconds but creating powerful industrial images requires fine tuning and practice.

It’s important for me to scout out the location and have a preproduction meeting before I dive into a project. This allows me to plan out the shots I want and makes the overall experience run smooth. I also like to start out shooting the large picture of what the client wants then focus in on the smaller details. My goal is to create a connection between the photographs I take and it’s easier to do that when I expose myself to a project scene or set location for a long time. I can mentally piece the images together then capture them. It’s not a coincidence that I now find myself on manufacturing locations, construction sites and industrial settings with a camera in my hand.

I received my first camera when I was 9 and I participated in a 4H photography project shortly after. As a child, I spent a lot of time on work sites with my father and was exposed to the inner workings of grain elevators and foundries. Industrial photography is a great outlet to showcase my expertise of the technical side of business development because I have a thorough understanding of the inner workings of a business. Whether your company is seeking marketing material, executive portraiture or getting ready to release an annual report, I can capture and provide photographs that represent your company and make a statement.

In September I am attending the International Mining Expo to learn more about the mining industry. I want to reach out to people I can collaborate with and start exploring the different businesses and organizations I can shoot for. I’m in this business to help connect people around the country and to contribute to the advancement of newer technologies and industrial manufacturing.


Industrial Photography: From The Outside Looking In

INDUSTRIAL PHOTOGRAPHY CAPTURES EVERYDAY LIFE EVERYWHERE

Photography breathes life into everything on the other side of the lens. A photograph puts life on hold and captures the world around us. No matter how fast life moves and despite how much happens every time you blink your eyes, a picture tells the truth. What you see is what you get.

You could be dazing off into a 50-foot windmill as you drive through Kansas or starring down the black tunnel of a subway station while your waiting for the train in New York City. My point is that what drives our everyday lives is often overlooked and we pay little attention to the industrial structures of our society because we are consumed inside of it.

As an industrial photographer I enjoy capturing everyday life and communicating the ways in which society sustains itself. My mission is to provide content to help people create a better understanding of the services, businesses, people and places that keep the engine of the world running. In other words, this sector of photography gives you an outside perspective to the inside ways of our day to day lives.

What do I do?

  • portraiture of managers and executives
  • documentation of construction progress
  • instructional videography and photography
  • photography that expresses company values and identity

The Hoover Dam at night