Adaptive + Camera

Commercial & Assignment Photography

Showing Authenticity on the Web:  An Engineering Company Case Study

Professional services companies rely heavily on reputation and connections in their industry to get new business. So when it comes to designing the website, printed marketing materials or even presentations, they often shy away from using photos or images from stock catalogs. If you want to show that you provide engineering services for example, and think that you can grab an “engineer” photo from Getty Images, you are likely to hear from management: “This is no one from our staff, so we don’t want to use this photo”. Instead, what you have to work with is a motley assortment of phone or point-and-shoot camera photos, and the occasional professionally done image back in 1981 when the company performed on an especially glorious project. This is roughly the situation that IPS Engineering was in recently. A young company, they had completed a number of important projects but were so focused on the work that never remembered to document the results in beautiful and effective way, suitable for future promotional materials.

To an outsider helping to build IPS’ website, any quality photos of a pipeline being built would do. After all, don’t they all look alike; isn’t it like showing a factory line worker assembling a car? Actually, no, it turns out that when the core of the business is to build an object like a pipeline or a transmutation line, this object is treated as unique; it is named and should not be confused with any other. Knowledgeable clients may someday ask which project is a photo from specifically, so showing a generic image can blow your credibility.

A few months ago, IPS needed some new images for their redesigned, responsive, mobile-friendly website. They realized that even though the image library of their own past work was large, it was unsuitable for the website. They could, however, send out a photographer to one of their current jobs which was in the middle of construction. Adaptive Camera was fortunate to get the assignment. We spent two days on site, following the field construction manager from crew to crew and documenting people working. Pipeline construction involves a complex set of activities which gave us a chance to get a great variety of images. Our focus was on the people, their interactions and professionalism.

The images produced from that first assignment stood in sharp contrast to the photographs on the website. The company realized that rather than mixing the new photographs with the old, it would be better to have another assignment to capture some more images in areas not represented by the first shoot. We had a chance to visit a project site which IPS had completed several years ago, a functioning terminal in west Oklahoma. We were given a tour of the facility by the operations manager and were able to document the site which our client had built, and had been in operations for a while. While we were in Oklahoma, we stopped by the company’s office and photographer some of their key teams representing the various types of services they provide.

In the end, Adaptive Camera delivered high quality, authentic photographs to the client. The company has used them in their website extensively, as well as in brochures, presentations, and other printed marketing materials.

You can see IPS Engineering's new website here: