Photographing Construction Sites

Discussion in 'Journalism and Documentary' started by DF, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. DF

    DF Member

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    How do you get close to a construction site/project-in-the-making without arousing suspicion or annoyance from the workers? I mean, I want more than just the street-view where anyone can shoot. I like construction site photos for when the project is finished, It's a way of looking back at the hard work and planning that goes into them. should I speak to the foreman? I don't make money from this and don't post online.
     
  2. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    It depends where you are located. Here in Australia, there is always a notice with the name and telephone number of a contact person. That would be the best place to start.
     
  3. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    I went for a walk in the evening around Singapore with my EOS3. Stumbled past a construction-site for one of their their new subway lines, the lines and lights and shadows meant I had to take some shots of it, through a crack in the gate.
    Of course then a security guard stopped me and asked me to delete it, so I had to explain that it was a film camera. To stop him thinking about just taking the whole roll, I may a good show of saying that I could double-expose that frame pointing at a light to burn the whole thing blank, pointing to the double-exposure button and all that and letting him hear the shutter for the long exposure.
    Meanwhile, that double-exposed the 'next' frame, not the one I'd taken of the construciton site (but in the end, the handheld 1/2 second original exposure at night was too blurry anyway).

    Of course, in Australia it's not illegal to take photos of anything but 'prescribed military sites' and things like that so I would have argued my case, but in Singapore arguing with law-enforcement is something I'd rather not try.


    There's been some great constructions going on around here, street-level is easy to get, but I'd also love to get inside the half-finished buildings. Unfortunately, I know the OH&S requirements to get on-site even working for a potential supplier, I'm not even going to bother asking to bring an SLR, let alone a view-camera and tripod.
     
  4. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    Get in touch with the architect/engineer and offer your services.
     
  5. Keith Pitman

    Keith Pitman Subscriber

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    I have a friend that photographs industrial construction sites for a living. Many of his are aerials. All you need is an aircraft.
     
  6. BrianShaw

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    Talk to the foreman. He can either coordinate your visit or tell you who can. His biggest concern will be your safety and non-interference with his workers. If the construction company lawyers get involved then expect a "no" answer.
     
  7. BrianShaw

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    It also helps to bring legitimate credentials -- a sponsor or a good reason. The likelihood of getting onto a major job site just for amateur or art photography may be difficult.
     
  8. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    Yeah, you should obtain permission.

    Maybe doing an artistic project is reason enough, maybe not.

    I think the chances.are pretty small as they wouldn't leave you unattended on site and probably can't spare someone to watch you for too long.

    If you sneak in without permission, you'll be breaking the law in most countries (trespass) and may have to pay a fine.

    there is a lot of theft from building sites so the police will usually deal with trespassers there.
     
  9. BrianShaw

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    I would emphasize "historical documentation" as a reason and hope the construction firm would resonate with that. Most construction projects are photographed by the company/client or their insurers for such purposes since they often need it for contractual compliance and liability purposes.
     
  10. giganova

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    Always carry a construction helmet and a clipboard and pretend to be a supervisor :whistling:
     
  11. Rick A

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    Pay a visit to the job office, and ask permission. Owning a hard hat would be helpful, but not usually necessary as many sites keep extra skull buckets around for visitors. Be honest and up front with the super, and try to stay out of the way of machinery and workers. I'm a retired construction superintendent.
     
  12. mike c

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    I have worked construction for over 30yrs and it can be a very dangerous place if not familiar with the operation of the site, and a foreman would be very concerned about people walking around moving equipment and such taking pictures, it will stress out the workers also who have to deal with an inexperienced visitor. I suppose it can be done going to a Supervisor but for insurance reasons its doubtful, but you don,t know tell you ask.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    OP

    get business cards made at through the online business card maker that offers 500 cards for $10USD
    then bring a card to the trailer, office, architect, engineer in charge. tell them you would like to photograph their site
    and that you will stay out of harm's way ( long lens ) . also tell them you will give them copies of the good photographs...
    maybe for a small fee or maybe as a thanks.
    when you do it enough you will have a stack of construction photographs, you will have a better business card
    and you will be able to ask for more $$ for the photographs you took.
    i hate to suggest you bring an electronic camera as well, so the photographs you bring, send, have a cd of email &c
    don't take a long time to develop and print, but it might help ...

    you can say THAT again !
    but those photographs are usually
    taken months, even years before
    the construction begins...
     
  14. winger

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    Back when I was a kid, they built a new large bank building in town. My dad thought it was all very cool, but was never around to see what was going on. So my mom took pictures from a building across the street from the 8th or so floor. She did the same view each week and gave them to him after it was done. It was great and we had one of the "in progress" shots hanging in our dining room for a long time.
     
  15. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I will offer three bits of advice:

    1) If you are standng on Public Property you can legally photograph anything you can see.

    2) Never ask for permission from someone who can't grant it. If you ask a guard or receptionist they can only say no. The only one who can say yes is the owner, not a contractor or worker.

    3) Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    +1 The best advice.
     
  17. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    Or a drone equipped with a camera
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    it all depends on the property being photographed from the street.
    the airport i live near, they don't like anyone with a camera near there ...
    and they were building some sort of enormous building for about a year ...
    they didn't like anyone photographing that either ...
    if you were in a moving car you could have gotten away with it, but a camera and /
    tripod probably not ...
     
  19. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I think what you are getting at is if you need a tripod it could block traffic, pedestrian or otherwise. In which case you would need a permit but not for privacy reasons. I'm thinking the OP was interested in construction sites and all the activity assorted their.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if you use a tripod you are not inconspicuous and will be noticed raise concerns, especially if it has to do with homeland security / transportation and a federal project
    otherwise, fast film, hand held quick and dirty f8 and be there and ask first to make sure you won't find 2 staties tapping you on the shoulder ...
     
  21. LarryP

    LarryP Member

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    Rick has the right idea,spent most of my adult life in commercial industrial construction the job super is the guy to speak to hard hat will be helpful steel toe shoes or boots even more so, many sites require steeltoe boots on site.
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    and eye protection

    and proof of insurance (medical and liability)

    and indemnification of the site owner, contractor...