Achieving in-studio quality while on-location.

For us, there is only one way to shoot industrial equipment: do it right, right from the start. And doing it right always saves our client’s money.

Take machine shops for example. There are probably 200 in the Houston area. And they all do precision work. But, even though they’ve invested huge money in state-of-the-art CNC machines like Mazak, Mori-Seiki and Bolton, how do they show their finished products on the web or in their literature? Too often, they do it badly – as a pile of parts resting on filthy pallets or the stained factory floor. Or, they throw away hundreds of retouching dollars to have each product outlined in post-production – dropped into a clean photo background, have the steel highlights cleaned-up, etc. Money wasted.

In this case, for Numerical Precision, an established manufacturer of oil tools in Crosby, Texas. We shot dozens of their finished products, some weighing over a ton, in less than a day, on-site with a minimum of post-production work required.

 

Here’s how:

First, we set-up our High Key Stage, 12’ wide, 15’deep, 8’ -12’ high, and light the stage with 4,400 watt-seconds of flash lighting power through multiple softboxes.

Commercial Photography Requires a Huge Investment In Lighting Gear.

Then…

Then, they brought each product or product group via forklift (overhead crane works, too), and carefully set them on stage-center. The results? Beautiful. The white stage made the steel shine uniformly on all surfaces. Here are some examples: 

Commercial Photography For Oilfield Products
Industrial Product Photography
Commercial Photography for Industrial Products

Sometimes, we just gotta clean things up. 

Shot in September, this Houston industrial facility, like most, bears all the scars and clutter of heavy industry success. They could have stopped production, swept, sandblasted, painted and stashed away all the cables and hoses, but who wants to lose a couple of days production revenue just for pictures? Nobody. Besides, would all that cleaning have looked this great? No way.

Slide bar left and right to see the difference.

Slide bar left and right to see the difference.

We can’t control the weather. Or can we? 

The client said, “We must shoot our vehicle fleet on a sunny Saturday because Saturdays are theonly days all the trucks are here at our Houston fuel terminal.”

Anyone who knows Houston knows that weather changes without notice, and forecasts are more of a general guide than anything you can plan on. We got the shots and made the weather (and other environmental improvements) in post production. Take a look.

New England Research Labs’ specialty is core analysis for oil & gas exploration.

In August, their Houston office asked us to create a backdrop image for their exhibit display. They wanted to show their equipment nearly life-size. The equipment is big. The room is very small…l too narrow to capture the equipment in one shot, not even with our widest angle, non-fisheye lens. So, we shot the left, center and right views, outlined each, adjusted the perspective, then combined the three into one 40+Mb file.

The bigger challenge was maintaining sharp focus on the aluminum control panels to the right and left of the computer monitors so that all the text type on all the buttons, dials and switches on those panels would be tack-sharp and legible when enlarged to life-size. To solve this, we photographed close-ups of the panels (and the monitors) then “stripped” these razor-sharp panel images into the final, printable one. The result? A visitor to their booth can walk up to the backdrop and read every word as clearly as if they were actually in the lab – like they could reach out and press any button. Some probably did.

Commercial Photography Northwest Houston
Commercial Photography Studio Houston Northwest
Commercial Photographer Northwest Houston

The United Road Trucking challenge…

United Road Trucking is headquartered in Romulus, Michigan. They specialize in automobile transport. And they’d just won the contract from Mercedes Benz to haul newly arrived vehicles from Mercedes’ brand-new ROLO (Roll-On-Roll-Off) auto import facility in Galveston.
The Corporate Photography Group’s task was to photo-document the Galveston facility’s grand opening event at the Port with Galveston’s Mayor, Port Commissioner, Mercedes’ execs, guests and the media. United Road also wanted a shot of one of their trucks right up beside the ROLO ship. However, trucks are denied access to wharf-side. (Who knew?) The wharf is reserved exclusively for the vehicles rolling off the ship.

Mercedes-Benz-Port-of-Galveston-ROLO-Terminal
ROLO-SHIP-PORT-OF-GALVESTON-TERMINAL

Then…

Using the two images above, we created a composite that put the truck with the ship, telling more of the story in a single frame.

“Point of Origin”

Here’s one of our editorial photographs that was featured on Sony’s huge “Jumbotron” video display in Times Square. That’s Houston Arson Investigator Tom Petty (not to be confused with the rocker or the same name).  Shot in-studio with rear-projection, we added a little smoke for atmosphere with our smoke machine.

Commercial Studio Photography - Editorial
hazmat photography

Speaking of our smoke machine…

Some chemical plants and refineries have “Haz-Mat Teams” – trained first responders in case of, well, a problem. Fortunately, they don’t have a lot to do. And, should an event occur, they don’t have time to pose for pictures. So, we had this team come to the studio. We charged the room lightly with smoke, then shot an extra amount of smoke from waist-high while dragging the shutter for four seconds. To keep the smoke from circulating too thickly in the studio, we had to turn-off the air conditioning. It got hot…even hotter in the suits. The guys had to be fully sealed in those suits before and during the whole thing – setup through shooting – nearly 2 hours without moving.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Have someone who is familiar with your project give us a call.
We know our business, now tell us about yours.

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832.843.7488