Industrial venues for photography: top freelancer tips

Selecting the right industrial venue for video and photography shoots can be a daunting task.

With so many options available right across the UK, it can sometimes feel overwhelming for freelance photographers, videographers or filmmakers to know where to start. Most often, the goal is to narrow down the options to know whether the chosen location fits the brief.

Plentiful, accessible, visually-striking...

As opposed to the UK’s camera kit-accessible beauty spots, industrial venues are plentiful. Likely to be on your doorstep, these excellent locations are growing in popularity year-on-year among creatives, often because of the lighting, and visually-striking buildings.

Here, exclusively for FreelanceUK, Gabriel Isserlis (pictured), founder of online creative space booking platform Tutti, draws on his experience of visiting many industrial spaces, to advise on what to look for when it comes to booking, setting up, and finalising the backdrop, whether you’re putting in the frame a former foundry or an abandoned railway.

1. Consider ‘Look & Feel’

When selecting an industrial venue for a shoot, consider the overall ‘look and feel’ of the space against your brief.

The venue you choose should, of course, mirror the theme and style of your project. But you may want to look out for smaller details, such as exposed brickwork, concrete or contrasting floors, and beams to add extra personality.    

2. Check size and layout

Another critical factor to consider when selecting an industrial venue is the size and layout of the space.

You need to ensure that the space can accommodate you, your crew if you have any, and your equipment -- comfortably.

It is also essential to consider the layout of the venue and how it will impact your shoot. Could stairs be an issue? Is there adequate parking? Are there enough electricity connections? All important factors to help a shoot to run smoothly – which is especially important if you’re paying for the space by the hour.

3. Look for Unique Features

Industrial venues can offer unique features that can add visual impact to your video or photos, so a bit of online research into the venue you’re considering (including a reccy on Google Maps), before the day of the shoot is always worthwhile.

A good tip is to look for spaces that have interesting architectural details, such as exposed pipe work, or towering structures. These features can add greater texture and depth to images and videos to create a truly unique look for your project.

4. Consider Safety and Logistics

When selecting an industrial venue for a video or photography shoots, safety should always be a top priority. 

Make sure the space is safe for you and your team to work in, and that there are no hazards that could cause accidents or damage to equipment.

Always ensure you check with the host or the venue’s owners, in advance that the space is useable and safe for what you want to achieve. 

5. Check Availability, Pricing, and Restrictions on Offered Props/Equipment

Finally, you need to consider the availability and pricing of the venue you are considering.

In particular, make sure the space is available on the dates you need it, and that the rental price fits within your budget.

It is also a good idea to ask about any additional fees or restrictions that may apply to the space, such as noise restrictions -- or restrictions on the use of certain equipment. Is that Black Out which the space’s advert says "can be available on request" actually going to be shared by a shoot downstairs?

Final thought

Often more affordable than you might think, industrial venues can be used to create a range of themes, from gritty urban looks and futuristic sci-fi backdrops, to vintage industrial vibes. These spaces offer a unique and versatile setting that can add greater interest, depth and texture to any photos or video, while also being cost-effective and usually very easily accessible. Freelancers, good luck with your video shoot or photo shoot!