Safety First - Being Compliant With Your Images
In construction, safety and compliance should always be top of mind. The same thought process should be applied when documenting your job site:
- Observe your scene like OSHA. When getting ready to photograph a site that is still under construction, you should be aware of any possible violation-worthy images that you may capture. This will also serve as a touch base on your project to address any infractions with the appropriate sub, vendor or employee.
- Image release. Your crew may not be ready for their Men of Construction photo shoot....always make sure to alert any workers who may be in the shot that a photo will be taken so they have the opportunity to remove themselves if desired.
- Proprietary property. Checking with your vendor or sub on any proprietary items they may not want photographed is a good idea. You don't want to violate any agreements in their contract by giving away their secret sauce.
Basic Photo Do's & Don'ts
Okay let's discuss the basics, here are some things to consider:
- Look at situations from all angles. Be a sharpshooter. Do capture the most stunning aspects of your project such as an elaborate entrance or intricate facade. Don't include unnecessary items such as debris bins, electrical wires, dirty construction trucks, etc. Look at each angle and frame your shot to look it's best. If something is in the way of that shot, move it or choose a new angle.
- Perspective is key. Buildings can play tricks on the eyes if shot up close. They can actually appear to be tilting backwards. The further away the better your perspective will be. For those Instagram worthy shots, try a 3/4 angle to capture a more interesting view of your subject matter.
- And then there was light. Noon should be what it's intended for, lunch. High-noon is the worst time to take photos. Direct or overhead lightning can make your images appear washed out. If you're an early bird or burning that midnight oil, sunrise and sunset lightning will give you dramatic shots with pops of color and interesting shadow contrasts.
- Stay focused. No one likes a blurry photo, especially for portfolio purposes. Invest in a tripod (either for digital camera or smartphone), the stable mount will prevent the camera from moving, ensuring clean and clear shots every take.
Shooting On A Smartphone
The digital age has been a godsend for photography and most phones have an excellent camera. Tips and tricks for the smartphone user:
- Zoom is for amateurs, crop. Using a zoom will actually degrade your images. You can use the provided editing tools in your camera app to crop photo for desired image.
- Say no to flash. Smartphones do not have a real flash, it's just a fancy LED bulb. It will make photos blurry and seem poorly lit. Ditch the flash and concentrate on shooting in areas with natural light and avoid taking photos at night.
- Cleanliness is next to godliness. Always be sure to give your lens a quick wipe before shooting. All of the dust and particles from the job site can create hazy, dark images. In a quick fix a t-shirt is OK, but a soft cloth similar to the ones provided with sunglasses is ideal.
- Get ready for your close up. Your phone loves getting up close and personal. The closer you are to your subject the better control you will have over lighting. Detailed shots of fixtures, special flooring/ceiling or abstract structures are perfect for portfolio and social media marketing.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Shaky hands cause blurring. Hold steady and keep hand still for 2-3 seconds after taking the shot, just because it clicks doesn't mean the photo was captured, it is still being processed. Be patient.
Setting up and taking the time to capture quality photos from every job site will generate returning clients and show potential clients your capabilities. Happy shooting!