Urban spaces, with their looming structures and gritty textures, can be fertile grounds for photographers seeking to bring an edgy feel to their capture. Industrial aesthetics are becoming increasingly prevalent in photoshoots, offering a striking contrast and unique vibe to images that resonate both power and unpredictability. This article sheds light on the industrial-inspired photoshoot, walking you through where to shoot, what types of props you can incorporate, and how to style your subject for that authentic urban look.

Why Choose an Industrial Setting?

Industrial photoshoots drench images in raw, unfiltered emotions. Decaying factories, abandoned warehouses, rusty metal structures, and graffiti-laden walls all whisper tales of forgotten times. Such settings inject an air of mystery and drama, fostering a storytelling allure that regular photo settings might lack.

Scouting the Perfect Industrial Location

Choosing the right location is key to infusing your photos with that potent industrial vibe. Look for local abandoned factories, shipyards, or even underpasses that could lend a rough edge to your snapshots. The clash of urban decay and natural elements often creates compelling visual narratives. Remember, always obtain necessary permissions before shooting on private property.

Set-Design and Prop Inclusion

Industrial shoots invite freedom to experiment with a variety of props. You could use rusty gears, old wooden crates, or even discarded car parts. A nostalgic touch here and there with vintage items like an outdated typewriter or an old leather suitcase can elevate your imagery to new heights. But always ensure the props don’t overshadow the subject – they should enhance and not divert attention.

Styling Your Subject

To harmonize your subject with an industrial backdrop, choose attires that complement the raw environment. Leather jackets, grunge-inspired outfits, and raw denim can work to great effect. For a contrasting touch, formal or high fashion clothing can pop against gruff surroundings. Also, be open to stirring things up with bold makeup and unkempt hairstyles.

Sourcing the Perfect Industrial Elements

While the bulk of urban aesthetic lies on the location, adding fitting props and costume elements further refine the industrial look. Reflect the rustic ambience of your locale through style choices. Opt for fashion elements and props that add to the raw, gritty feeling. Leather apparel, combat boots, and distressed denim are all fitting for the model, while rusty gears, disused equipment, and weather-worn crates can double as interesting set pieces. The urban landscape is all about its unabashed reality, and the right elements can encapsulate this feel in ways nothing else could.

Aesthetic Meets Style

The stark, hard-edged beauty of the urban canvas presents a unique opportunity to experiment with style. The brutalist background of steel and concrete can bring the best out of standout elements like vivid colors or intriguing patterns. For an even more captivating impact, consider mixing the vintage with the modern in a retro-futuristic fashion. The idea is to use the ambience of the industrial setting to accentuate and contrast your creative choices.

The importance of a well-dressed subject in a photoshoot cannot be emphasized enough. For inspiration on how to fuse your urban aesthetic with styling prowess, see how industry professionals do it in this blog post on styling hacks.

Lighting in Urban Landscapes

No discussion about photography can be complete without touching upon lighting. The urban landscape, with its play of surfaces, offers countless unique opportunities. Natural light reflecting off metallic structures, the interplay of shadows and highlights, or even the dramatic, low-key lighting available in many industrial structures – use the given conditions to your advantage. Remember to pack your artificial lighting for times when natural light isn’t enough. Light painting, too, can be particularly effective in the night-time urban setting.

The Finish Line: Post-Processing

Your pictures, fresh from the camera, may already look stunning. But why stop there? Post-processing can help refine the image, add mood, enhance the contrast, or even change the aesthetic altogether. Soften some edges while accentuating others. The power of tools such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop can transform a good picture into a great one, adding the final touch to your industrial aesthetic.


Urban landscapes offer a challenging, rewarding canvas for photographers. The strong lines and realistic tones are a leap from traditional studio photography, offering a unique, intriguing aesthetic. However, remember that the urban landscape, like any other creative venture, is not about hard and fast rules. It is all about breaking out of the mold – about capturing the raw, unpolished beauty of the city in your own unique way.

So what are your thoughts on the industrial aesthetic? Have you tried something similar, or are you inspired to take it up now? Share your views and experiences in the comments below. The best lessons, after all, are shared ones.