Commercial Photography: A Quick Guide

Our lives are now filled with captured moments and memories bound to a single piece of paper or a single post online. We live in a world saturated with still images. Everywhere we look, we’re bound to see a photo. Photography in general has made a huge impact on our society. Not only in our daily lives, but also in countless industries. Photography has stepped up its game and has truly changed the world for the better.

One of the industries that the invention of photography has impacted immensely is marketing. Photos have become an integral part of promoting one’s business.

Images are key elements in a marketing strategy’s promotional content. You can view them on print ads, online, TV, and many other platforms. Imagery performs a multitude of functions in advertising and marketing, such as catching a prospective’s attention, conveying or delivering a message, simplifying a concept, or adding to the appeal of a product or service.

Strong photographs can make a significant difference in a marketing and advertising campaign. Good use of imagery and photography can determine the success of a campaign.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

There are various types of photography, but for this particular article we’re going to tackle an essential form of photography for advertising: commercial photography.

Commercial photography has become a competitive field ever since the growth of digital advertising. We want to help you gain an in-depth understanding of what commercial photography is and provide you with specific examples so you can utilize this technique to grow your own business.

Commercial photography

Simply put, commercial photography is the creation of high-quality images for commercial use or business purposes.

Marketers and companies use commercial photography for promoting products, services, lifestyles, or brands. Photos that you see on stock photography sites like Envato Elements, Adobe Stock, or Freepik are commercial photographs.

Like this:

commercial photography examples

These photos are often used by advertising agencies, marketing firms, small business owners, bloggers, and tourism bureaus, who want to sell their brand by using curated photos.

Examples of Commercial photography

There are various types of commercial photography, but before diving into more detail, we want to give you a few examples of effective commercial photography. We’ll also show you certain businesses and brands that have perfected the craft of commercial photography.

Commercial photography stock images:

commercial photography stock images

Brands with great Commercial photography images:

There are many brands that utilize the art of commercial photography. Nike and Samsung are two brands that take the cake for being leading experts when creating outstanding commercial images.

Nike

Nike commercial photography

Nike does a great job of featuring their products. Even through photos they are able to portray their brand identity, and the photos are eye catching and intriguing.

Samsung

Samsung has the same idea, as you can see. Their shots have great symmetry and lighting, and showcase their products well.

Commercial Photography VS. Advertising Photography

Although similar, there are distinct differences between the two methods.

You might see advertising photography in magazines because they’re typically known to be flashier and are more focused on capturing an idea or a feeling. Unlike commercial photography, advertising photography has more creative freedom. You’re using photos to tell a story instead of just presenting it to your audience. Instead of just showing a product, advertising photography is all about enticing the viewer and selling them a lifestyle and not just a product.

Take a look at the two images below. Both are selling the same product – cologne. The difference between the two is that one is “sexy” while the other is, well… “plain.” The first image includes the legs of a woman, which subconsciously implies that the perfume can somehow get you the same lifestyle as the model (it’s Jon Snow, by the way). The second image, however, focuses only on the product. There is nothing distracting the audience’s eyes from the product they are trying to sell.

Jimmy Choo

advertising photography

Chanel

commercial photography

To sum it up, advertising photography tells a story, while commercial photography freezes a moment in time and really captures the essence of the product. You could think of commercial photography as the conclusion to the story you are trying to tell with advertising photography.

Why is commercial photography important?

As we’ve stated, the invention of photography has impacted the marketing landscape drastically. It has forever changed the way advertisers and marketers sell products and services.

It’s easy to take commercial photography for granted, so to remind you of its importance, we’ve put together a list of the benefits.

  1. Enhances corporate image – Commercial photography can increase your credibility because it gives you the opportunity to present your products and services in a professional manner. People can easily judge your business based on the quality of your photos; the better your photos, the more professional you will portray yourself. Moreover, commercial photography can also help prospective customers understand your business more effectively.
  2. Improves brand presence and authority – Many companies post photos of their events on social media. If your company is going to have an event, you can hire a commercial photographer to capture important moments during your event. You can post the pictures on your website, social media pages, and even brochures to enhance brand prominence.
  3. Increases brand awareness – Images in general can leave a long lasting impression when done right, especially on potential customers. It can also help increase overall sales for the company. Consistently having impressionable photos can build your brand awareness, high-quality photos will build a professional impression, while amateur looking photos will lead to an amateur brand impression.
  4. Increase sales and ROI – Market research has proven time and time again that potential customers will click on professional images more than amateur looking ones. High-quality images with great product descriptions are the perfect combo to improve your sales and ROI.

Different types of commercial photography

There are many types of commercial photography, but mastering each type can be a little tricky. Each type has different rules, trends, and elements that you will have to learn in order to execute it well.

In order to become a successful commercial photographer, it’s best to stick to one or two types. You can easily choose a niche based on your particular interests. Once you’ve chosen a type, create a portfolio with your best work. To help you understand the different types of commercial photography, we’ve listed down below the most common ones.

Fashion Photography

fashion commercial photography

Fashion photography uses paid models to pose wearing specific brands or using a particular product. This type of photography would be perfect for a person who loves taking photos of people and portraits. Fashion photos can be taken both indoors and outdoors. The biggest hurdle would probably be giving posing directions because each shoot has to be unique. Creativity will be a useful skill for this type of work.

Product Photography

product commercial photography

Product photography is one of the most in-demand types of commercial photography. Most shoots will be done in a studio with a solid backdrop and controlled lighting (think of the cologne ad above), although some product shoots may be done outdoors with natural lighting.

Food Photography

food commercial photography

Think of food photography as the more enhanced and professional version of what you usually see on Instagram or Foodstagram. It’s pretty similar, but food photography takes more finesse. If you’ve ever tried this approach, you’ll know how hard it actually is to capture the perfect shot. It takes talent and skill to make food look this enticing to the viewer.

Food photographers often have to work with a food stylist to get the food looking as mouth watering as possible. They need to take editorial restaurant shots too. They should be able to set up their equipment in a restaurant within a limited time, and arrange the light for the best outcome. It has to look enticing and natural at the same time.

Environmental Portraits

Environmental photography, also known as corporate photography or workplace photography, essentially means taking photos of people in their work environment.

Chefs in the kitchen, baristas in a coffee shop, teachers at a school, and office workers at their desk are all examples of environmental portraits. For instance, in the picture above, you can see how the florist’s photo is taken while she is arranging flowers into a bouquet.

The main goal of this style is to showcase the brand image and the company’s service. You’re showing a behind-the-scenes look at the company and its products or services, while portraying a certain feeling about the brand.

These photos are often used for in-house marketing materials like brochures, websites, ads, and more business promotional collateral.

Environmental photos are often taken on-site, so you may have to work on-the-go and ask permission to shoot in various sites.

Headshots

This is the most common type of commercial photography. Headshots, also referred to as modern portraits, are often used to promote a person’s product or services.

These photos can be used for professional profile images in brochures, resumes, websites, or social media. Headshots are typically taken from the shoulders up and can be taken indoors or outdoors. Taking portraits is fun, but you need to be able to connect with your subject to make them comfortable in front of the camera, and give them directions for the best shot.

Real Estate & Architectural Photography

real estate commercial photography

Architectural photography involves capturing a space for commercial purposes. The purpose of this is to show the appeal of a space/store or showcase an architect’s design. Showing both the interior and exterior of a property has proven to make a quick sale.

Architectural photographers will work in both urban and rural areas with a tight timeframe. These photographers will work with a combination of natural and artificial lighting with different lenses. You can also include a few people in the shot to make the photo more realistic and true to life.

Lifestyle Photography

lifestyle commercial photography

Lifestyle photography aims to capture people in real life situations, events, or milestones in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. It usually captures the art of the everyday person. The goal is to tell stories about different people’s lives and lifestyles to inspire others.

These photos can be taken both indoors and outdoors but it is essential to look as natural as possible in order for the outcome to be a success.

Drone Photography

drone commercial photography

Drone photography is a newer type of commercial photography. It’s often used in conjunction with real estate photography, events photography, and tourism photography.

Drone shots are taken from the air in order to capture images with a bird’s eye view. Drones are still pretty new to the industry and may need more practicing and a higher skillset.

Drone shots are often taken outdoors and use natural lighting. Drone photographers are always up against nature. The environment they’re in affects how their photos turn out.

Advertising Photography

We’ve already touched on advertising photography, so you already know that the main objective is to not only sell the product/service, but also the lifestyle the brand promotes. These photos are more extravagant and bold, and should be able to stand out in large crowds.

Advertising photos can be taken indoors and outdoors, so photographers will have to be skilled in working with natural and artificial light, as well as different settings.

Whichever type of commercial photography you decide to pursue, make sure to hire a photographer that’s skilled and has the knowledge and experience to make your campaigns successful.

Conclusion

conclusion

We’ve discussed the importance of commercial photography and how much it can affect your campaigns. A photo can take your campaign to the next level and make targeted customers fall in love with not only your product/services, but also your brand.

Photos can enhance your campaign, so make sure you have good ones to put out. Remember, amateur looking photos will only damage your brand’s image. Make sure to hire a commercial photographer that will deliver good service and a good outcome.

If you have any more questions regarding commercial photography, or if you want to know more about the technical aspects like gear and tips for better results, leave us a comment down below or contact us here. Will make sure to get back to you as quickly as we can!