So you have your mining equipment out in your yard and you grab a few quick snaps with your cellphone to showcase your beautiful creation to the world but it doesn’t have the “impact” you were hoping for? I wonder why.
One reason is because your surroundings are really not relevant to the equipment or the background is so distracting that your product is lost in the overall image. When I photograph Manufacturers equipment for their social media and marketing materials I try to get the equipment in the environment it was made for so that potential clients can “SEE” and relate to the product. If that can’t take place, the next best thing is to not have a background at all, like placing the equipment on a white background (or any color of your choice). Sounds simple but it is a tedious task as factors in lighting, composition and exposures are influential not to mention the post production on the image to extract the product. I know for a fact your cellphone can’t do most of those things and why would you want to? It’s not your job, it’s not your profession. You have skilled employees that specialize in their trades (welding, electrical and diagnostics} to get the job done right so why does that aspect not carry over into the photography, the most important “visual” component that your potential clients ALWAYS look at?
You would be surprised at the amount of time it takes to create the below images and how cost effective it is to hire a professional Mining Industrial Photographer to create your marketing images for you. Leave this job to me, so that you can focus on the more important things in your company.
Like everything in the Mining Industry production is always moving forward and is counted down to the minutes, so when you have a tight timeline to create a specific photograph you need to be on point to get the job done fast & efficiently. When you waste your clients time by testing your camera angles, lighting and exposure while your subjects are standing there watching, you are also wasting away your professionalism and company brand. When you know your equipment inside and out, when you know your surroundings above ground or under and when you know what the finished image is supposed to look like you should be as streamlined as the job you are photographing. This is why you will sometimes see me in my own images like the one below where I am taking light meter readings for the scene. Once I have everything in place, the exposures are defined, the composition is determined and I have tested the “scenario” by introducing myself as the subject, only then will I bring in the main subject for the final exposures. This way they are only in front of my camera for seconds and to them the shoot is fast and efficient.
“hoist winch set up for shaft deepening”
Most of the time I find myself on sites above and below ground where the color white is very seldom clean, let alone clinic quality clean. Another part of my job is photographing my clients products big and small to be showcased on a neutral background for their website or product catalog. It’s a tedious task with multiple lighting scenarios, sometimes in cramped spaces or dark underground passes but the end result “especially on a high key white background” speaks volumes when the final image/product is finished. If you are showcasing your products, there is one of two ways of doing it. 1. you show the product in it’s element doing it’s job or 2. you isolate the product like the image below. Either way the final image needs to look PROFESSIONAL. If you are using your cell phone or employee DSLR to take a snap in your showroom or parking lot, you are doing yourself, your company, and your product a disservice. Consistency is what your clients want to see, not just in your product, but in your companies brand.
Some of the best drives are when I am heading to and from the job sites as most of them are in remote locations surrounded by boreal forests and the chances to see some wildlife are plenty. I am accustomed to always rubber necking the area looking for anything that moves or catches my eye. I try to leave early when going to a job so that I can take the time to capture a few frames if something interesting crosses my path. I usually have my camera at the ready on the passenger seat in case an opportunity presents itself just as it did yesterday when I was leaving a job.
Every day I work at my business whether I am in front of the computer or behind the camera I am always striving to reach the next stage in my photography career. I have put in years of building up a reputation of safety, quality and efficiency that my clients know me for. It didn’t happen over night. I look back on my 20+ years of being a photographer and sometimes I wonder how the heck I managed to stay in the business this long. You learn a few things as you get older and just like in everyday life I approach my photography clients the same way: Tell them the truth and give them your best.
When I am on a job site the first thing on my mind is safety. I have to be just as safe as everyone else that works there. Not only do I have safety on my mind while creating the images (ensuring everyone has proper PPE for the location and job) but I also have to be safe as well. My wife is counting on my coming home, I like my health the way it is, and at the present moment I have s 100% safety record which I plan to uphold as long as my career will allow it. Also know your surrounds, who is in it, what obstacles there are and what safety precautions need to take place for a successful day on the job. I deal with a lot of moving vehicles on site, including the forklift. This thing can zip in and out of everywhere and turn on a dime. I have met some skilled operators in my time, and unfortunately I have witnessed some that are not so skilled. Here is a great blog post for “Tips On Operating A Forklift Safely”
The season is turning green and with that another industry is starting the long process of mining the environment for grains and vegetables. The preparation of soil for the crops is underway all around us here in Ontario. It’s a stark contrast photographing the Agricultural Industry but I also see a lot of similarities during my photography sessions. Long hours, hard work, safety, planning, production, the use of heavy equipment are just a fraction of the similarities. It’s a cycle in itself as the minerals mined from the earth are used to create the products and equipment needed to farm the soil for the food we need in order to complete the cycle over and over.
I look forward to spending more time in the Agricultural Industry photographing it’s people, processes and facility’s here in Ontario. When you are Top Side, the sun is always shining even if it isn’t.
If you are farming vegetables, grains, fish, eggs or trees having high impact images showcasing your commitment to providing for the World is a must. Hiring a professional photographer to create an image portfolio for your companies online social media presence is a must.
A few weeks ago I had a session with Signature Group‘s client Schauenburg Industries to create images for their newest marketing materials on their new line of Fiber Glass Ducting. It can be a bit challenging to create images with impact for certain products at times but it’s never as hard as photographing Bricks for a brick catalog (The most boring thing I have ever had the pleasure of photographing lol). Signature Group did a great job with a fast turnaround time for Shauenburg and I just received this email. Always nice to see the finished product.
“Hey James – just wanted to send a quick note of thanks for your outstanding work on the Schauenburg shoot. I know it isn’t the sexiest thing to take photos of, but the client loved how everything turned out.”
|Andrés Rodriguez | Creative Director
Signature Group | Showpro | CUBE – Credit Union Brand Engineering
One Custom Photography session with Mining Industrial Photographer James Hodgins accompanied by a Professional Marketing Firm can give you results that speak volumes above your competitors marketing materials. Can you get photography cheaper? of course you can, you can get everything cheaper…………..but it’s cheap for a reason.
I often get asked how dirty is it working underground. It’s Dirty. Very Dirty. In fact, it’s the dirtiest environment I work in. I mean, you are surrounded by dirt, all around you, above and below. You touch something, you get dirt on you. Dust particles are flying around everywhere, water could be dripping and sometimes the air is so humid you sweat just thinking about it. The camera gear takes a beating (never remove a lens from the camera when underground), my light stands get caked with gunk, my ThinkTank Bag has gone through multiple wheels and let’s not mention what happens if something falls into what I like to call “The pancake batter puddle” LOL. In the end though you learn to deal with the situations that arise while on the job and while 200ft below the surface is no different than 2000 ft, each shoot is exciting and challenging at the same time.
As I was looking over the guest lists for the upcoming PDAC Tradeshow I noticed a lot of familiar names that have now become my clients. I would like to take this opportunity with this post to thank all of you for your business and support. I have had a plan all along when I made the transition to Mining/Industrial/Commercial photography but it would not have been a success without all of you and your continued support and promotion of Mining Industrial Photographer. It has taken me across oceans, above the ground, below the surface and in some unique and challenging environments. It is never a dull moment. Thank You!