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What is Commercial Photography ?


Product Photography
Product Photography


Commercial photography is not an easy thing to define. In general, if a photographer has been hired for their services or the pictures are used in service of business, commercial  photography is being performed. The reason this definition is so broad is that there are so many different types of businesses, and they all need photos. For instance, a company that manufacturers electrical devices will need product photos, while a law firm needs photos of their offices and staff.

  • the purpose of commercial photography is to help a business sell its products or services
  • a commercial photographer can work for a company or as a freelancer 
  • the definition of commercial photography is broad 
  • the definition of commercial photography includes all types of photography that are used in service of a business


The purpose of commercial photography is to help a business sell its products or services. This broad definition includes images used in advertisements, brochures, and other marketing materials as well as product shots used on an online store.

It’s important to understand that commercial photography can be done by freelancers or employees of a company. A company may hire a freelance photographer to take pictures for their website or employee headshots. Alternatively, they might hire an in-house photographer who works directly for the company and often specializes in a particular category of commercial photography like food or product photography.

A common question regarding this type of photography is what makes it different from other genres like fine art, documentary, or photojournalism? While all four are forms of imagery created with a camera, there is one major difference: the subject matter and intent behind each type of photo.

Commercial Photography
Commercial Photography


The purpose of commercial photography is to help a business sell its products or services to customers. While some photographers work directly for companies and others work as freelancers (they make their own schedules), all commercial photographers will have similar job duties that include photographing people and objects for advertising purposes.

Product photography is everywhere we look and everywhere we go. Scanning the web or looking at magazines, brochures, and outdoor advertisements, we’ll often see products for sale and different types of product photography to advertise it.

Photography is so important to selling products. Images are crucial to supporting the company brand and converting sales.

As an example, consider online shopping. You are looking for a new camera pack for your gear. You visit your favourite online camera store where you have bought before.

If the website you are looking at only has a written description of the camera pack but no actual photos, would you buy anyway?

Chances are that most people would not. Product photos are proof of the product’s characteristics. Most shoppers look at product photography first and then read the description to confirm if the product is right for them.

Product photography tells you a lot about the item from size, shape, colour, and even how it is used.

There are many different types of product photography. From simple studio product images to the lifestyle approach, products in action, group photos of a product line, product packaging, and more.

There are six different types of commercial photography:

Fashion photography

Portrait photography

Commercial photography

Food photography

Architectural photography

Interior photography

How to Become a Commercial Photographer?

Product Photography
Product Photography

Along with the right gear for the specific photography job, commercial photography will likely require editing software and retouching. For some more helpful tips on how to become a commercial photographer, see below:

Create a portfolio. To find work as a commercial photographer, you will need to compile a physical or digital portfolio with your most impressive shots. (A digital portfolio can be seen by more people to showcase your photography services). A photography portfolio is what will sell you to potential clients, so you should always have samples that showcase your best work. Once your portfolio is complete, consider getting business cards for your photography business that you can pass out to potential clients.

Research. Research past advertising campaigns for the client—become familiar with the brand and its values so that you don’t pitch something inappropriate. Also, ask questions about how the campaign is being used (for example, is it for print? social media?) and who the audience is. All this research will inform the proposal, or pitch deck, that you submit.

Create a pitch deck. In commercial photography, a pitch deck is a visual presentation that clearly communicates your ideas to the brand or client. A pitch deck contains an overview of a project and reference images to support the pitch. In addition to the pitch deck, you should send a bid for the project and a calendar listing the potential prep and shoot days.

Draft a budget for the pitch. Make sure that the available resources align with the creative concept of your photoshoot. If there is a fixed budget for the project, be sure to outline how the money should be allocated to execute the job.

Be passionate. You want to be passionate and show ad agencies or other commercial clients that you are fully engaged in the project.

Know the legalities. If a commercial photograph contains branded products, recognizable people, or private property, legal permission to publish the images for commercial use must be secured. Model release and property release forms serve as agreements between the client, the photographer, and the subjects of the image. These forms outline where the images will be published and the terms of usage. These contractual agreements protect the photographer and allow the photographer to use the images for other purposes. Additional negotiations may need to be included if the photographer intends to resell images to a stock agency.