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Tips on Shooting Interesting Industrial Portraits | The Slanted Lens

By Hanssie on August 24th 2015

As a photographer, one way to stand out from the crowd and build your brand is to find your niche. Whether it is within a broader niche like wedding photography or something very narrow, like industrial portraits, specialization is a key way to be successful in the industry. There are many wedding photographers out there, but how many specialize in tattooed brides? There are many product photographers out there, but how many specialize in vape photography?


Industrial portraiture is a niche that isn’t something you see every day in this industry. According to Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens, an industrial portrait is not a “lifestyle portrait. It’s not a documentary-style portrait. It’s an industrial portrait. Which is more commercial than it is portrait. It’s about making the factory and the people look good. It’s more the kind of portrait you would see in an annual report or on a company’s website. Something they would use to represent the company.

In the following video tutorial, Jay P. set about to make an industrial portrait that looked interesting and inviting. To do so, he worked with the lighting, wardrobe, added visual interest and context to create the following image.


Jay P. also talks about the importance of speed in an industrial shoot, as every minute the machine they are using for the shoot isn’t running, the company is not making money. So, the second part of the 7.5-minute video discusses tips on how he sets everything up, including his light set up, finding power and warming up the fog machine. If you’re interested in a different genre of commercial photography or looking for a very specific niche, this is a great watch. Even if you are not, many of the tips found in this video can apply to any type of shoot.

To see more from The Slanted Lens, check out our previous posts and their website here.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Peter Nord

    I grew up in factories. Manufacturing is in my blood. Smoke in the work environment says to me, ‘bad ventilation.” Always liked facilities with white ceilings, clean. This place looked bright, a shame to make it look like something it’s not. I’ve been in steel mills to semiconductor plants. Seeing guys just standing around holding tools, not working is strange.

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    • Nick Viton

      The smoke is for dramatic effect for the sake of the image and they’re not working because someone is taking their picture.

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    • Peter Nord

      I understand about the dramatic effect. I’ve taken many a photo in the work environment of people working, not posing. Look at the old Rosie ‘the riveter’ and company photos from seventy years ago. Those women are busy working. The photos are just as dramatic.

      The style is a value judgement, a personal opinion, so we can have different views with no right or wrong. My opinion is that work environment photos ought to show real work. If there is smoke or dust there ought to be personal protective equipment on the workers. If you want lots of smoke take photos of working fires.

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  2. Alexander Europa

    The Slanted Lens has some really great content, I’m definitely a fan. I love this type of photography/portrait work, it is just so different from everything else that it really stands out from the rest…if it is done well. If it’s not, then it tends to be really bad. Not much room for “middle ground” on this type of work I guess.

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