Everything You Wanted To Know About Commercial Photography, But Were Afraid To Ask…

What is commercial photography?

In general terms, commercial photography involves capturing images designed to advertise or endorse a product, service, or enterprise, ultimately aiming to boost profitability. 

This can include various genres like product photography, lifestyle photography, and even fashion photography. 

Essentially, it’s about crafting visuals that serve the purpose of promoting and selling.

What Does Commercial Use Mean In Photography?

In straightforward terms, commercial photography involves capturing images for business purposes. It revolves around creating visual content aimed at promoting and marketing products and services.

These photographs find their way into various marketing materials such as advertisements, brochures, flyers, merchandise displays, and menus, among other applications. In short, the user hopes to increase business or make money through their usage.

If you commission a photographer and in their terms and conditions they stipulate that the images are ‘Not available for commercial use/purposes’ or ‘Personal use only’ then you will need to have a discussion with them about the cost for using the image in a commercial capacity, such as an advert, brochure or flyer.

What Is The Difference Between Commercial Photography And Advertising Photography?

Both commercial and advertising photography are specialised types of photography requiring a skilled and experienced photographer.

Despite their shared objective of promoting something, commercial and advertising photography diverge in several key aspects.

Commercial photography is a specialised form of photography centred on showcasing the specific product being marketed. Think of it as akin to the standard “stock photo” you might encounter during an online search for a particular item. 

The primary objective of commercial photography is to present the product in its most favourable light. Once consumers have expressed interest in the product or have been exposed to its accompanying content, the task shifts to persuading them to choose this particular product by highlighting its appeal and visual allure.

What Is Advertising Photography?

Advertising photography exudes a certain flair and extravagance. It’s the type of photography that often graces the glossy pages of magazines, commanding attention with its captivating visuals.

Unlike commercial photography, advertising photography is less about simply showcasing a product and more about conveying an idea or emotion. It’s inherently more promotional in nature, aiming to weave a narrative around the product or service being advertised.

As an advertising photographer, your role transcends mere product presentation; you’re a storyteller, using your images to evoke desire and allure.

Rather than merely showcasing the product’s aesthetic appeal, you’re crafting a narrative that imbues it with deeper significance, enticing consumers by tapping into their emotions and aspirations.

Advertising Photography Tips

While your focus may not be singular on a specific product, it remains imperative to capture every element within your advertising photography shot in the utmost quality. Therefore, employing the same top-tier equipment utilised in commercial photography is essential.

However, in the realm of advertising photography, continual inquiry is key: “Does this shot align with my campaign’s vision? Does it contribute to the narrative I seek to convey?”.

Commercial Photography Tips

On a commercial photo shoot, you want the best possible equipment — including a fast, wide-angle lens, a top quality zoom lens, tripod, quality lighting units and perhaps some essential filters. With commercial stock photography, it’s important to remember that it’s all about the product. Lighting, background and styling should all be done in the service of enhancing the focus on the product, not detracting from it.

How Does Commercial Photography Differ From Advertising Photography?

Commercial photography vs. advertising photography is going from the specific to the general. Advertising photography weaves a tale and tells a story, whereas commercial photography freezes time and encapsulates a singular moment.

How Much Is A Commercial Photographer In Australia?

Commercial photography rates in Melbourne and Geelong range from about $2000 – 3000 for a half day shoot and $3000 – $5000 for a full day shoot.  These costs may not include post production costs but a professional photographer’s quote will usually stipulate what is and isn’t included in the cost.

We recently completed an extensive article on various photography prices in Melbourne which we encourage you to read as it highlights some of the vast differences in prices between different types of styles and services.

How Much Do Top Commercial Photographers Earn?

Successful commercial photographers in Melbourne will likely earn in excess of $150,000 per annum, although success is measured in many ways, not just financially. We have met ‘successful’ photographers over the years who are financially comfortable but not rich, preferring to work with clients who align with their values over making stacks of cash.  There are others out there who will work with anyone, just as long as their invoice gets paid and they can take 3 holidays a year.  Once again, it’s horses for courses.

Who Is The Most Famous Commercial Photographer?

While that would be open to personal interpretation we have a list of the most popular commercial photographers in Melbourne. What is the difference between commercial and corporate photography?

In commercial photography, the focus is on showcasing a single product or service offered by the company. Conversely, corporate photography aims to bolster and promote the company’s overarching brand narrative through each image captured. A corporate photographer isn’t merely aiming to depict a service; rather, their objective is to convey the personality and assurance of the individuals behind the business or service on offer.

While corporate photography makes your company more human and approachable, commercial photography makes your products or services appear more appealing.

Get In Touch!

Do you have a question about corporate or event photography?
Would you like some advice?
Feel free to send us a message or pick up the phone – we’re always happy to answer any photography questions you may have.
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