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Working On A Commercial Photography Shoot

Construction engineer wearing hard hat measuring

An Inside Look At A Commercial Photography Project in London

Commercial photography takes me to many interesting places, not only in Cumbria but across the UK - it's one of the many things I love about this work. So when I received an email asking me if I'd be prepared to travel down to London for a a few days and work at sites across the city I was intrigued to find out more.

One of the first and most important steps in taking on a commercial project is getting to know the people behind the business, understanding how the business works, the services it provides and the market it works with. From there we'll usually discuss the brief in as much detail as possible, identifying the aims of the project and then setting out a clear plan of how we might achieve it.

Close up of engineer using two wrenches on pipework.

What made shooting for Red & Blue Mechanical Services Limited was their clear passion and drive for a business they cared deeply about in all its aspects: from the value and respect they showed for their staff, to their commitment, focus and dedication in wanting to move the business forward.

Travelling down to London with the Commercial Manager, Ian Barnes gave us ample opportunity to further discuss the brief as well as give me additional insight into the company's aims for growth and that very much informed how the images would be realised. 

Overheaf cables, pipework and wires - commercial photography.

Headshots

One of the first tasks was to refresh and update the company's team webpage so the first morning began with taking headshots of all the staff.

 

In a business with colleagues spread out at developments across the city this was no mean feat, but we managed to get all but two in the same place at the same time, the two others were taken later in the day.

 

This was a great example of the flexibility of using a mobile studio. Professional lighting and equipment can easily be transported to different locations so we were able to comfortably work around different sites.

Red and Blue, an engineering company specialising in the installation of heating and air-conditioning units was set up 10 years ago by David Barnes.

 

Since then he's taken the business on a journey that has seen it grow its client base with high-end, luxury and prestigious developments in some of London's most desirable locations from Wentworth to Ascot, Canary Wharf to Westminster.

From new-build mansions to mews homes in Kensington and Chelsea, Red & Blue have focussed on project that demanded delivery of the highest engineering standards. 

Professional Headshots, Engineering Team, young man, with arms folded.

The mention of headshots can create palpitations for many that are not dissimilar to the prospect of a visit to the dentist! The job of a photographer is of course to make your subjects as relaxed and unstressed as possible. All it takes is a degree of empathy and understanding (few of us like our photos taken, and photographers are no different!).

A professional photographer should have planned ahead to ensure that everything is set up and working, ready to go before the first subject arrives so that there's a minimum amount of fiddling with equipment and camera settings. This allows the photographer to spend time on ensuring the subject is put at ease, usually through some casual dialogue and a friendly chat. It's important that a photographer stays relaxed and displays confidence throughout the shoot - the last thing a nervous subject needs is a nervous photographer making things even more stressful.

Professiaonl Headshot Photography - Engineering Team, man with beard.
Business Headshot Photography - Accountant, Woman.
Professional Headshot Photography - Engineering Team, Young Man,

Taking a range of different angles and poses gave the client options when it came to how they would present the images on their website.

The team at Red & Blue were fully briefed the day before on the details of the shoot, the time and location of where they needed to be and what to wear, and so they were all more than ready to get the job done. To give the client as much a choice as possible shots were taken with both head straight-on and shots with the body turned to a 45 degree angle from the head, as well as arms folded and unfolded. This gave the client the option of different styles but also allowed them to go for either a completely uniform style or the ability to mix it up. 

Environmental Portraits 

Smiling young engineer in hard hat at work.

Some of the most effective environmental portraits can often be natural, candid shots.

For me, this is where the real magic of reflecting your business and the people that make it work really comes alive. While headshots provide an important role in helping your customers see directly the team that forms your organisation, capturing them at work, doing what they do best.

 

Whether it's office, workshop, restaurant or construction, I use the working environment as the background to create images of people at work. They're often a combination of set-up portraits and natural, candid shots, which so often beautifully capture the personality of the subject.

 

Perhaps most importantly they also allow the viewer, your potential customer, a snapshot (quite literally) into your organisation, helping them get to know it in a way that no amount of descriptive text could ever really do better. 

Environmental Portraits In Commercial Photography

Candid, natural environmental portrait of an engineer in high-vis and hard hat using angle grinder.
Environmental portrait of engineers looking over plans - commercial photography.

Environmental portraits on a commercial photography shoot can often be natural candid shots like the one above, or set up like the one on the left with the engineer using an angle grinder

Candid, natural environmental portrait of an engineer in high-vis and hard hat.
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