Commercial Photography 101

Commercial photography and advertising photography are remarkably similar. The difference comes in the purpose both serve. While commercial photography focuses on showcasing a product in the best light possible, commercial photography deals with creating an emotional appeal towards a product and telling a story about a brand. Commercial photography is becoming popular among photographers since it is well-compensating and fun.

There are many different fields in which you can work as a commercial photographer. If you are a nature lover, you might gravitate toward landscape and nature photography, or you might gravitate towards extroverts who love weddings and events.

Commercial photographers can specialize in a wide range of niches, and the amount earned for gigs can vary. Clients typically have a budget that goes towards advertising, sales, marketing, etc. Commercial photography is an excellent choice since it has high-paying potential customers, notably if you reside in the city. The average salary of a commercial photographer is around £50,000, and the price can vary depending on where you work.

What exactly is commercial photography?

Commercial photography is the type of photography that deals with selling or promoting a service or product. It enables businesses or organizations to make extra money through product photography, fashion photography, or lifestyle photography based on the type of client at hand. Nowadays, commercial photography thrives online because it is easy to sell and promote products to clients. Many photos on stock photography websites are excellent examples of commercial photography.

For instance, your customer may want to commercialize their products on Instagram, websites, marketing material, billboards in print or digital ads, e.t.c. Therefore you may be required to take photographs that bring out the best aspects of the item for commercial purposes. Commercial photography gets distinguished by the end-use of the images rather than the content of its pictures. It allows you to gain access to a wide range of portfolios.

Some examples of businesses that widely use commercial photography include tourism bureaus, marketing firms, advertising agencies, entertainment promotions, and many others. Photographers working for brands and companies take pictures to promote products and services.

Types of commercial photography

There are several types of photography you can specialise in while choosing a niche. You can then build a portfolio to attract clients or brands. The Location Guys in the UK are an excellent example of a company that can help you as a photographer get clients by connecting them with you. The following are types of photography you can venture in:

1. Fashion photography

It is a genre in photography that deals with the fashion world. You can shoot photographs for fashion magazines, clothes on runways or showrooms, lookbooks, etc. It is a great niche to consider, particularly if you enjoy shooting portraits and people. The fashion shoots can be outdoors or in-studio, depending on the client.

It almost entails capturing the relationship between the model and the clothes on their body. Besides, the model becomes a walking advertisement for the brand whit every photo shot you take. Fashion photography is artful and requires you to give directions and knowledge on where to position people on the fly.

2. Product photography

If you seek to be hired by top brands in the products industry, the product photography may be a lucrative niche. Many companies use product photography to promote specific features and benefits of products. Most of the time, these get captured in high definition and close-up angles.

Product photography is always in high demand all over the world. Typically, product photographers work in their studios with artificial light, but some shots are outdoors with natural lighting. A product photographer captures images of products in a way that will help a brand succeed on the market. They must ensure that the pictures market the product in the market for the client.

3. Portrait photography

Human subjects tend to feature in this style of photography. Most of the time, portrait photographers take pictures to show people at work, for example, sitting at a desk, operating a computer, giving a speech, in a factory etc. These images appear on company websites for marketing purposes. They are often referred to as headshots since they set up a professional profile on brochures, resumes, social media, and many others.

It is also effective in advertising where consumers can associate a specific product with a person. It helps to sell the story about culture, service, time, experience, or place. Traditional headshots are taken from the shoulders up. Nowadays, commercial photographers focus more on the eyes to make it more capturing to the viewers.

4. Food photography

The main objective of food photography is to make the food look appealing. It involves capturing eye-catching photos of food for menus or product packages in the food industry. It requires you to showcase exceptional talent in ensuring that the meal looks irresistible and worth their price or more.

Professional food photographers usually work indoors with a chef or food stylist, as they work closely with them. The food stylist arranges the food visually appealing for the photographer to capture the best images. The shoot can also take place in commercial kitchens or restaurants.

5. Architectural photography

It involves taking photographs of buildings and other structures in a way that they tell a story. These pictures are professional, and they appear in brochures, print materials, web marketing, and official portfolios. Architectural photographers can also be estate agent photographers since they both deal with showcasing properties.

Architectural photography enables selling offices and properties, showcasing them inside and out. Architectural photographers go all the way to taking images of all kinds of structures like bridges and tunnels for advertising purposes. Therefore they use a wide range of lenses and a combination of artificial and natural lighting to make the best captions.

6. Interior photography

Interior photography demonstrates the exceptional features of interior design to highlight a client’s services, especially with estate agents or product shoots, we use a professional photographer to list all our London location properties. The interior photographer captures the best parts inside a home, for instance, showcasing space, design, or structure quality.

As a photographer, you should use the best orientation or lighting to create images that attract potential buyers. These photographs can become suitable for advertising on billboards, magazines, real estate sites, and many more. The field of interior photography can be a great niche to pursue with the right equipment, creativity, and passion.

How to get started in commercial photography

Beginners can always pick up commercial photography from the ground. If you have style and imagination, you can always get clients who like your images. Here are a few tips on how to get started on commercial photography.

1. Specialise

The most crucial thing before venturing into commercial photography is choosing a niche. Once you establish what you love doing, you can easily select the type of photography you can build a portfolio to attract more clients. It will also help you to become an expert.

2. Your equipment

Before you figure out what you need, you can use the equipment you have then add the essential gear you need for your work as you progress. You can also start with few types of equipment like a camera, some lenses, and a home studio.

3. Editing skills

Commercial clients always want a consistent look in images that suit their needs. You have to perfect your editing skills to ensure that all your captions are of high quality. There is also much editing software to discover in the industry. You can learn as you go and grow in creating a better portfolio of images for your clients.

4. Create an online portfolio

You can select some of your best images to create an online portfolio. Regardless of having a platform on Instagram or social media, an online portfolio is crucial in commercial photography as a professional. Clients get to see that you have skills they can hire and assess your capabilities in accomplishing their tasks. A well-designed online portfolio can also help you stand out from other commercial photographers that is advantageous. A website builder can be beneficial in making your work easy such that you only customize your branding and portfolio.

5. Set price rates

It is good to set your rates before reaching out to clients. Setting the price ensures that you are comfortable with the price, which can help you gain clients within your price range. Prices are always flexible for different clients and based on the scale of the work to be done. As a beginner, you can set your price based on the number of images you deliver to clients, licensing, type of shoot, and others.

6. Maintain clients

After setting an online portfolio, you have to ensure that you land on the client you want. Monitoring your portfolio will help you attract clients who will help you earn from what you love doing. You must also know how to approach them for you to get hired. To maintain your clients, always ensure that you are careful to provide them optimum satisfaction. You also have to ensure that you portray high-quality work to keep the clients coming back for more.

How to get clients for commercial photography?

Setting up an online portfolio is the first step to getting your first client. Having a few clients under your belt then gives you the confidence to approach businesses and large organizations. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Make a list of clients you have connections with on your LinkedIn profile

You can check out clients on Linkedin who are relevant to you. After identifying them, you can shortlist a few who are suitable for you. You can then message them, make an introductory rate of your work, or ask for inclusion in any future request proposals. Even after clients decline your offer, the initial time, you can follow up with a few serious ones, especially seasonal clients.

2. Post on social media

Marketing yourself on social media can be a great option, especially if you already have a professional online portfolio. You can put out the word on your social media about your commercial photography services to attract more clients. Letting your friends and family know about setting up a business on commercial photography can gain you connections. You can create a special introductory rate for them to refer you to other people in their contacts. Think Instagram etc

3. Pitch local businesses

If you have a professional portfolio, pitching a local business is a good idea. It enables you to gain more experience as you target large organizations. You can make a professional mailer then send it to companies around your area. You can also do it online using your iPad if you do not prefer print media. A satisfied client at a local business let level can be a stepping stone to a client on an international level.

4. Link with other photographers

It is good to network with commercial photographers in your area to learn some ideas if they are well-established in their careers. You can assist in any future shoots they may have to see how a good shoot day goes. Practicing and borrowing some creative ideas can help boost your professional skills. It also helps in expanding your connections and building a solid portfolio.

Bottom line:

Commercial photography is an excellent niche photographer can explore to grow their careers. Camera gear and a professional portfolio can get you started in no time. Becoming a commercial photographer can be as easy as having the interest and passion for it.


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