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Having creative freedom on a commercial project is sometimes very difficult to get so it’s nice when the client gives a one line brief and leaves you to it.

My latest work was almost exactly like that. There were a few things that the client didn’t want in images but essentially capturing what they do, for an online presence, was the order of the day. Auto Chip and Dent is a busy auto body shop and are in the process of a little bit of a re-brand. Part of that process is building a new website so they require images.

Honda NSX bumper re-spray
Honda NSX polish

I’ve seen a few articles recently about image creation and the use of consumer cameras or telephones to capture images for online commercial use. I don’t think that it makes much difference what the images are captured on, for screen use. What I think does make a difference is knowing what to capture and how to select for final output.

I’m not going to rant on about using a commercial photographer because ultimately people will do whatever they feel is right at the time. What I will say is that on this particular job I received feedback that proved to me why it’s worthwhile considering it.

One comment really struck a cord and that was from the person that commissioned me to do the work:

“I didn’t think we had the sort of place that would look good in photos, you’ve made what we do look amazing”

That to me sums up commercial work, making the mundane look interesting. Nothing too fancy, just a bit of lighting, creative composition and an eye for the right things in shot.

Prep Work by Callum

Spending the time to watch what was going on paid dividends and knowing the key stages of body shop process were crucial. This was achieved by speaking to staff before I even took a shot. I didn’t go as far as staging too much and kissing spray guns in a Brian Griffin style would’ve resulted in a few choice words in my direction. Choosing when I photographed certain things was as close as I got to staging. I knew after just a few hours who was going to be where at a certain point in a vehicle or wheel repair. Plus people who are working don’t want to be interrupted all the time.  

Prep Work

Once the images were captured and the edit was complete a real sense of what goes on when repairing a vehicle could be seen. I know only a few of the images will be used on a website but having a library of images to draw on will also help the client show what they can do using other electronic platforms. Social media is an almost unavoidable part of marketing in this day and age.

Paint store

The final stage of my work was the part I really enjoyed. Unrelated to this job, I recently hung a body of work in commercial premises in the same City. That body of work was deliberately shot as photo art for sale as photographic prints in their own right. See the Bigger Picture tab on this website for more information.

To the point, after discussion with the client it was decided to print some of the images to display in offices at the body shop. I was left to curate images for print. As they are to be hung in a dusty working environment I also chose to use pre-assembled frames with plastic rather than glass. White seemed like the best choice due to the amount of dust in the air. If the space for hanging had been less industrial then perhaps larger prints in custom made frames could have been an option, although cost is also a factor.

Seeing commercial work on the wall in frames is really quite satisfying. The idea that images are so easily swiped to one side and forgotten about concerns me. Ok, this work is only hung in one place and mostly seen by passing staff and customers but there’s something about a picture on a wall that can make you stop and look a little longer, they become part of the space.

Thanks to the staff at Auto Chip and Dent for putting up with me for a couple of days whilst shooting and also for the opportunity to print and frame work. Refreshing to be able to do so.

Image from Auto Chip and Dent social media