We’re photographers. It is our job to create and show photographs, but there are many images that we create that you will never see (from us, anyway). It can be painful for us at times because many of these unseen images include our best work, yet we cannot show them in our portfolio.
It is a service that we offer our clients and our respect for confidentiality is one of the many reasons new clients come to us. We understand that each business is different and although we would love to show off every image we create, we are willing to break studio ‘policy’ when needed.
Actually, our studio policies are not hard and fast rules, but guidelines that we have develop in two decades of working as commercial photographers.
Case in point… This week we had the pleasure of working with a new client. It is a French-based company that has a manufacturing plant in our local area. It was, of course, a rush job and we met our deadline with a full day to spare, completing the entire project within days of setting up on location.
The assignment was filled with unknowns, from the environment to the shot list. This is not uncommon in our field as we often go into a location not knowing what to expect. The facility tour consisted of a fast-paced rundown of what we could and could not photograph as many elements of the production are proprietary.
Little did we know that our main location in the facility would be a sweltering 100+ degrees with humidity that had to be off the charts. The lab coats, hair nets and hard hats we were required to wear did not help this matter. In the 3 hours we spent capturing details in this part of the facility, we needed to take a few breaks to refresh and catch some air – even the 93-degree temp outside felt like a relief. Luckily, the other site locations were perfectly controlled climates!
It was one of the harshest environments we have shot in to date – and we have been in some crazy situations – yet we persevered and our equipment hung in with us. We ended up creating some of the best industrial images we have produced in our careers.
Yet, we cannot show you. They are now the property of our client and we were merely the eyes that created them.
While some photographers will balk at that complete turning over of the work, it is something we feel comfortable with. Professional photography is a completely different world than it was even 10 years ago and everyone who wants to continue to do it needs to adapt to the changes. Our particular market is more challenging than others and we do what we need to in order to make our clients happy. That is our job!
In retrospect, this assignment was perfect on many fronts, not least of which was the creative freedom we were given. Our client understood that we know how to photograph machinery and industrial settings and trusted our vision completely. This allowed us to use our creative talents to their fullest extent and, quite frankly, it is how we work best.
Not only was our client willing to give us free reign on composing the images we knew would be best for their marketing needs, they also allowed us to approach the industrial subjects as we do our artwork. Commercial photography is art and if you haven’t noticed that in modern advertising, then you need to look again!
Our personal projects, such as the ‘Workings’ series, are a reflection of the work that we created for this client and proof that commercial shooters need to practice their vision even when not on assignment. The two feed each other and make us better in each realm of our work.
So, yes, we do wish that we could show you the amazing new images that we created this week. As challenging as the job was, it was a ton of fun and one that we will remember forever. The client representatives were great, the facility fascinating and the physical and creative tests were exhilarating.
It is assignments like this that keep us motivated and remind us why we chose this career all those many years ago.
We love what we do and our clients can rest assured that we will take care of them in every way that we can. That is why photographers who specialize in commercial work stand out from the crowd.