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  • Amanda Paterson

Industrial Photography - DIY Checklist

Industrial Photo Shoot Checklist

Hiring a professional photographer to take project photos is an amazing resource and try to seize that opportunity whenever you can; however, I know it's not in the budget to get pro shots on every single project. Flagship projects, yes, I'm a firm believer that you will get what you pay for. So please, do yourself a favour and on those rare projects that truly 'define your company' - please hire it out.

For the day-to-day work, I believe it's completely acceptable to take your own photos - and better yet, encourage your EMPLOYEES (Supervisors, Foreman, etc.) to take pictures for the company. Hell, why not launch an employee photo contest? You'll engage your internal brand ambassadors AND you might just get stellar marketing-style photos in the process. (Reach out to me if this is of interest to you, and I'd be happy to give you some how-to pointers.)

Because of those pesky budget limitations, over the years I've developed a checklist of best practices that I would repeatedly use when going out to take project photos. Today, I share it with you!

So here it is, in all its glory, the - by-no-means-all-encompassing-but-has-lots-of-good-tips - INDUSTRIAL PHOTO SHOOT CHECKLIST.


  • Notify Project Manager/Construction Manager/Business Unit Manager/HSE Manager/other Stakeholders of your plan to take on-site photographs. Select date and time.

  • ASK PERMISSION: Don't take on-site photos without asking permission of your client. Every client will have different 'rules' on this.

  • Complete a Model Photography and/or Video Release Form. Say you photograph an employee who 'really wanted to take part' in the photo shoot. A year later, that employee leaves on his terms. Guess what? He may not want his mug on your marketing materials anymore - and that's a cost to YOU to get everything reprinted. Contact me and we can chat about this. It is best to have your lawyer review any release you plan to use.

  • Request employees to take part in the photo shoot (it's great to have a mix of equipment/product and people shots).

  • Involve your Communications and/or Marketing team. Make sure they know what you're up to and if they have any internal tips and guidelines.

  • Note: It is beneficial to ask a diverse range of employees to participate: age, gender, role/job title, apprenticeship level, etc.

  • Charge camera batteries and clear camera card.

  • Safety Sweep: (I know you've already done this today, but go do it again). Check the site for safety hazards and do some solid housekeeping. Clean up garbage, make materials look tidy.



  • Put camera to highest possible resolution setting. Use a high-quality camera whenever possible.

  • Check batteries for camera and flash (if applicable). Consider bringing spare batteries.

  • Do you have adequate space on your camera card?

  • Using your mobile is better than not getting any pictures! Most phones have amazing cameras these days. I love HubSpot, and they've provided us with some solid tips on getting the BEST mobile pictures.


  • Safety Sweep: (I know you've already done this, but go do it again). Check the site for safety hazards and do some solid housekeeping. Clean up garbage, put away stray tools, tie up loose cords, make materials look tidy.

  • All employees photographed MUST wear maximum level of PPE required (ie. Branded coveralls must be worn even if the site permits Carhartts).

  • Know the brands of safety gear per your company policy (if you have one) - make sure you're wearing them

  • Coveralls – check for general cleanliness (doesn't need to be perfect, but at least dust your shoulders off)

  • Eye protection – wear clear glasses (not dark sunglass-style)

  • Ear protection

  • Hardhat – utilize a variety of hardhat colors (if applicable – green, grey, white). Check for inappropriate handwriting, non-Company stickers, etc. If Company utilizes HSE initiative stickers, ensure most current are visible. Need help photoshopping out a bad sticker? You know who to call.

  • CSA-approved steel toe boots

  • Cut resistant gloves

  • Site dependent PPE: respirator, arc flash, etc.

  • You've already checked with your HSE department (per step one), so they may have asked you for other requirements (like proper safety tickets, etc.)


  • Safety Sweep: (I know you've already done this, but go do it again). Check for housekeeping and hazards that may be photographed: loose tools, loose cords, ladders not put away, possible fall hazards, etc.

  • Are your company logos visible? Are they correct and current?

  • Are client logos visible? If so, avoid photographing if possible.

  • Are non-employees visible? If so, request they sign your release form, or request they remove themselves from the photo shoot zone temporarily.


  • Trucks clean? Logos correct and current?

  • Employees clean shaven? Wearing appropriate PPE (see PPE section)?

  • Are man-lifts, ladders, equipment, etc. in good condition? Properly branded?

  • Consider taking photos mocked up for quality purposes (QA checks), safety purposes (tailgate meetings), project management (employees with drawings), etc.


  • ALWAYS ask before taking photos – if the site is live/fire protection is live, do NOT use flash

  • Avoid using flash when high-visibility vests or coveralls are being photographed

  • Try to shoot a variety of angles; zoom in and out; lay down on the ground; get as high as you can (following safety protocols)

  • Take shots of equipment and buildings WITH and WITHOUT employees present

  • Use your mobile device to try getting a pano, video, funny slo-mo, etc. You never know where you might be able to use these things down the road.

PLEASE NOTE: This list shall NOT be considered all-encompassing and must not be used as a legal advice while preparing any photo shoot. This is my personal opinion on steps that have helped me create a seamless on-site photo shoot (or, I should say, as seamless as possible. Things will ALWAYS pop up).

If you notice something that I've left out - please leave it in the comments. Would love to hear your best practices.

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