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Photographing A 300 Foot Long Industrial Machine Plus Getting Started Bonus Material

Although I am a commercial photographer and videographer that mainly works with people, I must admit that I do love the architectural side of our business which includes industrial photography.

The image above is a of a packing machine that is 300 feet long which is the length of a football field to provide some visual perspective. It was the largest machine in the facility, so I started with it first as part of a full day photoshoot with my assistant John who had far more physical work than I did.

I spent a lot of time on a lift as you can see in the image below which is a selfie that I took near the ceiling of the facility. Doing cool things is one of the perks of being a commercial photographer.

Warehouse Behind the Scenes Shot With Text 9680 900
I don't have a lighting diagram or behind the scenes shots for how I photographed the machine, but I can describe the setup to you:

On the lift with me:
1) Canon 5D Mark III
2) Manfrotto Tripod
3) Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens
4) Wired Trigger for Shutter Release
5) Pocket Wizard on Cameras Hot Shoe
6) Cam Ranger Connected to Camera

At ground level with John:
1) Two 640WS Einstein Strobes
2) Two 7 Foot Westcott Parabolic Umbrellas
3) Two C-Stands
4) Two 250WS Profoto B2 Strobes & Packs
5) Two Standard Light Stands
5) Pocket Wizards
6) 8 Inch Tablet to Send Cam Ranger Images

I had John set up the two 640WS Einstein strobes with the two 7 foot Westcott Parabolic Umbrellas near the front of the machine which is closer to me. I had John set the two 250WS Profoto B2's further away from me and point the strobes straight on to provide some fill light toward the end of the machine.

The information above is the gear used and the technique. If I continue on and on about the gear and the shot, the post will be longer than it should be. Therefore, I'm going to transition into other Industrial and Architectural information below.

It's time for BONUS material.

Getting Started...

If you want to get into architectural and industrial photography, you may want to start with smaller offices and office buildings. The industrial shoot above is definitely not for the first time photographer just getting started. It was a full day of exhausting work.

The image below is a shot from a 3,900 square foot office only using the available light without incorporating strobes. However, there was still several thousand dollars worth of gear used and some staging involved. I shot with a blended image technique and the image has gone through post production processing: It's not just a click and done image.

Commercial Photography of Interior at Office Building in Durham NC

Although I love working with people in both photography and video, I also love doing commercial architectural photography which includes the shot at the top of the page of the industrial machine and the one above of a contemporary office environment.


When it comes to pricing projects in the commercial architectural and industrial photography vertical, it's not the same as residential real estate photography which may only range from $100 to $200 for an average size home in Raleigh.

Sure, like anything, you'll have someone want to take advantage of you for a hundred bucks to photograph their office. My advice is: Don't Do It! The commercial side is different than the residential side. You are hurting yourself and the industry if you use a residential real estate pricing model to price commercial projects. But the client said it's simple, the client just needs a few shots, $100 should be just fine. WRONG!

On the low end, commercial architectural and industrial photography should be priced at several hundred dollars minimum just for what is supposed to be a relatively simple photoshoot (not $100-$200). The pricing can range from $1,000 to $2,000+ depending on the details like whether it's a half day or full day photoshoot and how many images are needed. If Mike Kelley (industry recognized architectural photographeris doing the work, it will likely be several thousand dollars.

Happy Shooting!


This is an off topic side note for anyone thinking about blogging. There are just over 800 total words in this complete post. I find it interesting that the recommended article length these days is over 2,000 words mainly because of some research about Top 10 ranking content on Google being 2,000+ words. Well, Google is not the only reason to write a blog post and it doesn't take 2,000 words to rank in the Top 10. The humans that read the blog post should be the target audience and Google rankings are a bonus.

FYI: I have a blog post in a niche area of photography that is far shorter than 2,000 words, ranks in the Top 5 of the Google results and ranks above Amazon and DPreview.

Moral: Don't write 2,000+ words just to write 2,000+ words of jibber jabber, blah, blah, blah, who cares content because you think Google will be happy and rank your article.

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David Williams

Short Bio About The Author: I'm David Williams a professional commercial photographer focusing on corporate and business clients with some personal branding, lifestyle photography in the mix. My love for photography began in late 1981 while still in High School. I started making money with his camera in 1982. Brenda, my wife, and I started working together in photography in 1988 shortly after we met. Brenda and I married in 1989 and have two adult daughters. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed. Call or Text: 919.723.8453. Please reach out to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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