When you book a corporate photography job, there’s always a brief to fulfill.  The client, or their agent, has got in touch for a reason.  They might be bringing a new product to market; or moving premises; taking on new staff members … whatever the reason, the job of a professional photographer is to tell that story in the photos.

I’ve recently started doing some commissions for Royal Mail, specifically their internal comms.  One of the stories that I was asked to cover was the imminent move into big new premises.  I was sent to the new building on the day that staff members had been invited to visit to be given a tour and shown where they’d be working.  A journalist would be there conducting interviews and my brief was to shoot photos to accompany the article.  The specific details were to get portraits of the interviewees, alongside shots of them being given the tour.  There was also the phrase ‘and photos of whatever is inside the building’.

As you can see if you scroll down, the answer to that was …. not a lot!  Now, this is 100,000 square feet of empty building we’re talking here.  Or, as I overheard one of the guides say, the size of 11 football pitches.  That’s a lot of nothing.  But part of being a pro photographer is working out how to meet the brief, no matter the problem facing you.  So, in this case, how do you take photos of a huge empty space and make it look interesting?

Actually, it’s not as hard as you might think.  You work with what you’re given.  The space is huge – standing in it it actually overwhelming.  So one angle to take is to emphasise that sheer vastness.  The opening shot is a panorama shot from one side of the building to the other – six photos stitched together to give that one hundred and eighty degree perspective (and, in the process, making those great curved patterns in the ceiling beams).

Then, find something to place in the photos that give a sense of scale.  There were two identifiable things in the space; red barriers and people.  Two things that we know the approximate sizes of.  Thankfully, the people had arrived wearing their uniforms, including hi viz jackets.  Including both in the shots achieved two things.  They gave that sense of scale, and they added a pop of colour interest in what was otherwise a stripped down, almost monochrome, palette.

Then, once you start looking around, you notice the lines.  The walls, the pillars, the ceiling beams and skylights all create patterns.  There are shots to be found and made incorporating all of those.

So, as the title of this post suggests, having been given lemons, I made lemonade.