What is Commercial Photography (Guide + Tips)

Author Emma Fantoni

Posted Mar 22, 2023

Reads 3.9K

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Commercial photography is a term that's often thrown around in the photography industry, but what exactly does it entail? Well, commercial photography refers to any type of photography that's used for commercial purposes. This could include anything from product shots and advertising campaigns to corporate headshots and highway commercial photography. If you're thinking about diving into this field, there are a few things you should know.

Firstly, commercial photography services largely run on the idea of creating images that sell products or services. Unlike fine art photography, which focuses more on expression and doesn't display products or services, commercial photography aims to capture images that will entice consumers and make them want to interact with a brand. It's an incredibly important aspect of our daily lives as we're bombarded with advertisements on a daily basis. So if you're ready to hit the ground running in the world of commercial photography, keep reading for some tips and tricks!

What is Commercial Photography?

Chances are, you've encountered the term commercial photography before, but what exactly does it mean? At its most basic level, commercial photography refers to any photography that is used for business purposes. This can include everything from product photography for a marketing plan to headshots of employees for a company website.

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At some point, you've likely considered commercial photography as an option for your own business brand. It's important to note that commercial photography isn't fine art photography - the goal is not necessarily to create something beautiful or thought-provoking. Instead, the goal is to capture images that will effectively communicate a message and help achieve business goals.

If you're researching commercial photography options for your business photoshoot or billboard campaign, it's important to find a photographer who understands both the technical aspects of the craft and how to create images that align with your brand's messaging. You may also consider using stock photography websites if budget is a concern. Ultimately, commercial photography can be an incredibly valuable tool in helping businesses communicate their message and reach their target audience.

1. What Types of Commercial Photography Are There?

Commercial photography is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of photography styles. It refers to any type of photography that is used for commercial purposes, such as advertising or marketing. Some common types of commercial photography include product photography, fashion photography, and corporate headshots.

Product photography involves taking photographs of products for use in advertising or marketing materials. This can include everything from food and beverages to electronics and clothing. Fashion photography focuses on capturing images of models wearing clothing or accessories for use in fashion magazines or advertisements. Corporate headshots are typically used for business profiles or company websites, and involve photographing employees in a professional setting.

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2. Commercial Photography work by topic:

Commercial photography is a separate genre of photography that focuses on producing high-quality images for businesses. The topics covered in commercial photography are vast and varied. Portrait photography is one of the most common types of commercial photography, which helps build trust and credibility with clients by showcasing professional headshots of employees at different levels in a multinational company. Another popular type of commercial photography is white background ecommerce shots, big production showings, or high-fashion photo-shoots.

Food photography has become a trending topic these days as yummy Instagram shots have taken over the internet. Food photographers help restaurants with product packaging and online menus to attract customers and delivery services to showcase their food items. Real estate photography is another common type of commercial photography that designer shops rely on to showcase their beautiful properties in the best possible light. Commercial photography plays an essential role in helping businesses promote themselves effectively through visually stunning imagery that captivates their audience's attention.

3. Commercial Photography work by its use:

Product photography is a type of commercial photography that depends on the use of images to show the special characteristics of a product. Whether you're photographing a beautiful model entering a room wearing the perfume you're advertising, or she's spraying the scent while maintaining her seductive attitude, the image should showcase the product in its best light. To do this, photographers often use a white background and lighting setups that emphasize key features.

When you're dealing with commercial photography for an end-user, you're building images that encourage cross-selling. For example, if you're working with a home decor brand that sells multiple products, your images should showcase how these different items work together to create a cohesive look. By showing how different pieces can be incorporated into one space, you'll encourage customers to purchase multiple items at once. The ultimate goal is to create visually stunning images that make people want to buy what they see in front of them!

4. How Much Money Does a Commercial Photographer Make?

This is a difficult question to answer because the income of a commercial photographer depends on a variety of factors, including skills, location, and type of work. Commercial photography covers everything from neighbors' crafts to big campaigns like McDonald's. Companies employ in-house commercial photographers, but there are also a large number of small businesses that hire freelance commercial photographers.

According to jobshadowcom published Sean Armenta's comprehensive guide to photographic pricing, commercial photographers can charge either a flat rate or an hourly rate. The average rate for commercial photography is around $300 per hour, but this can vary depending on the photographer's experience and location. A large portion of a commercial photographer's earning potential is judged case by case because if you're dealing with an image that will be used worldwide for many years, the price will be different than for images that won't have as much circulation. So don't forget about location pay and detailed stats when answering this question!

Boost Your Business with Commercial Photography!

A photographer specializing in commercial photography can help take your business to the next level. If you're a business owner, commercial photography can be a valuable asset to showcase your products and services online. Potential clients are more likely to engage with your brand online if they see stunning imagery images that adds high value-added content to your website.

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Investing in great commercial photography can make a big difference when it comes to sales. Great images make people want to buy your products or book your services year round, while poor images might turn them off completely. Don't let this happen to you! It's worth shelling out for a professional photographer who specializes in commercial work, whether you're a small local business or a national company.

If you're not sure where to start, don't worry! There are plenty of resources available for business owners who want to incorporate great commercial photography into their online presence. A step-by-step guide can help you create a successful small business website that showcases your brand and services effectively. Just remember that investing in high-quality commercial photography is essential for making that happen!

Discover the Different Categories of Commercial Photography

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Commercial photography is a vast field that encompasses various genres, including advertising, product, fashion, food, and architectural photography. Each category requires a unique set of skills and techniques to achieve the desired results. With the rise of e-commerce and online businesses, commercial photography has become one of the fastest-growing genres in recent years.

1. Website Images

When it comes to promoting a business, having high-quality images on your website is crucial. In today's digital age, people are more visually driven and attracted to images than ever before. Commercial photography can help you capture the essence of your brand and showcase your products in the best possible light.

Whether you're launching a new product or preparing for a press release, having professional images that tell your story can make all the difference. Make sure to work with a skilled commercial photographer who understands your vision and can bring it to life through their lens. By investing in top-notch imagery for your website, you'll be one step closer to standing out from the competition and creating a lasting impression on potential customers.

2. Catalog and Sales Images

In today’s world, where visual representation is everything, commercial photography has become an integral part of every business. Whether you own a clothing brand or a restaurant, high-quality images can make or break your sales. For clothing brands, models wearing the clothes on a white background showing all pertinent details can help drive sales by showcasing the product in its best light. Similarly, for restaurants creating menus, having mouth-watering images of their dishes can entice customers to visit their establishment.

With the rise of e-commerce and non-conventional catalogs (such as Facebook Marketplace), having professional images is more important than ever before. Consumers are more likely to purchase from businesses with high-quality visuals that showcase their products in the best possible way. So investing in commercial photography is not only essential but also a smart choice for your business's success.

Ways to Begin Your Journey

Commercial photography is a vast field that involves various photographic genres such as product photography, portraits, and landscapes. If you want to specialize in a specific area, it's essential to learn the commercial photography process and its different techniques. The cheapest type of commercial photography is home studio photography, which requires basic equipment such as torch sheets and white paper. You can start by photographing items such as cosmetics items for insurance purposes or small businesses' upcoming launches.

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To get paid clients, you need to showcase your work on photography job boards or other photography sites. An online portfolio is an excellent step-by-step reference that showcases your personal side and impresses potential employers or clients. You can use a photography website builder to create a professional website that offers flexibility features without any coding knowledge. Photography websites are great opportunities to uncover your creative genius and find bigger clients, including higher-end businesses and agent joining.

If you're just starting in commercial photography, it's essential to know the ways you can begin your journey. Starting with basic equipment for home studio photography and practicing various photographic genres will help you improve your skills. Creating an online portfolio using a photography website builder that offers flexibility features will give you an edge over other photographers. Finally, showcasing your work on job boards and other relevant sites will help attract paid clients who offer bigger commercial jobs.

Essential Gear for Professional Commercial Photography

Commercial photography is a vast field that requires specialized gear to capture high-quality images. If you're just starting, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Here's an easy list of the essential tools you'll need to get started: a good-quality professional-level camera with a quality sensor to capture pin-sharp images, large frame size suitable for potentially huge canvas and good retouching skills.

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When working on commercial photography projects such as luxury hotel resorts or other commercial shots, retouching is an important part of the process. A good retoucher can make all the difference in creating a smooth skin change or removing reflections in the image. Basic-level photoshopping skills won't cut it when it comes to creating professional-grade photographs.

To create stunning commercial photographs that stand out from the rest, you need quality gear and good retouching skills. With a good-quality professional-level camera and basic knowledge of photoshopping techniques, you can produce images that meet clients' expectations and exceed them. Remember, commercial photography is more than just taking photos; it's about telling stories through visuals that leave an impact on viewers.

Licenses and their Pricing

Photography licenses are a huge part of commercial photography, yet many people aren't aware of their pricing and what they entail. Licenses can range from a one-time use to unlimited usage for a certain amount of time, and the pricing varies greatly depending on the scope of the project and how it will be used. It's important for photographers and clients to have a clear understanding of what is included in the license before agreeing to any terms.

The kinds of licenses you will see are:

The kinds of licenses you will see in commercial photography differ slightly depending on the usage license required by the client. A usage license is a document that outlines how the photographs will be used and for how long. It can cover print media campaigns, online campaigns, and other types of advertising. The real issue with licensing is that it's not always clear what an agreed-upon meaning is, leading to well-publicized cases where photographers and clients had to eventually agree upon what they meant. Having a comprehensive guide to photography pricing and winning pricing strategies is a good idea. When it comes to photography services, there isn't a set rule for pricing or pay variance. However, having a usage-limited contract works in your favor because then you can be paid multiple times for one image if it gets reused later on. Properly drafted contracts set out deliverables, budgets, and critical things like how much time it takes to get photographs afterward. Retaining copyright rarely helps unless you have an established brand and audience willing to pay more. That being said, having your photography contracts properly drafted contracts set can massively increase your earnings potential and make future earnings from licensing agreements more lucrative!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of commercial photography?

The different types of commercial photography include product photography, fashion photography, food photography, architectural photography, and event photography. Each type focuses on capturing images that showcase the unique qualities of the subject and appeal to the target audience.

What is commercial photography?

Commercial photography is the practice of taking photographs for commercial use, such as in advertisements, brochures, and catalogs. It typically involves photographing products or people in a way that enhances their appeal and helps sell them to consumers.

How to make a good commercial photography portfolio?

To make a good commercial photography portfolio, showcase your best work, include a variety of styles and subjects, and tailor it to the specific clients you want to attract.

How do I get Started with commercial photography?

To get started with commercial photography, you should invest in high-quality equipment, build a portfolio of your work, and network with potential clients. It's also important to research the industry and stay up-to-date with trends and techniques.

What does a commercial photographer do?

A commercial photographer takes photographs for businesses and organizations to use in advertisements, marketing materials, and other promotional campaigns. They may also work with models, product stylists, and other professionals to create the desired images.

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Emma Fantoni

Writer at The Filtered Lens

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Emma Fantoni is a freelance writer and blogger based in the Pacific Northwest. With a passion for storytelling and travel, she aims to inspire her readers to explore new destinations and experiences. Emma's work has been featured in various online publications, including Lonely Planet and Travel + Leisure.

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