What is Commercial Photography?
Even professionals in the photography industry often get confused with the definition of commercial photography. This is probably because it’s easier to define “what is not” compared to “what is”. Before we dig deeper into this kind of photography, let’s first identify the kinds of photography that do not fall on this category.
- B2C Photography
Business-to-Client photography is often confused as commercial photography. This is because most people think that it is any kind of photography where you can earn some profit. B2C photography is the complete opposite of commercial photography – this is where a photographer provides services to a client who wants images for personal use.
- Editorial Photography
Another kind of photography that’s often mistaken as something “commercial” is editorial photography. You must know that an editorial photograph tells a story, while a commercial photograph sells products or brands. Magazines and newspapers often hire photographers for editorial purposes. These photographers take images that tell stories, rather than sell you something.
Commercial photography is where photographers create a B2B (business-to-business) type of service. This kind of photography service often involves images for commercial use – this includes advertisements, product placements, and merchandising. It may also include brochures and leaflets for corporate use, menus in restaurants and cafes, and other kinds of materials for the purpose of selling something.
When it comes to style, clients in commercial photography could be looking for anything. It may involve images that are polished and stylized, plain and natural, or raw and gritty. The company’s brand and purpose often dictate the kind of style needed in this kind of photography. Remember – companies hire commercial photographers to create a certain mood that will persuade their target audience into buying their product or brand.
There’s a time when a photographer who often shoot pictures for clients decides to sell images for commercial usage. While there’s a thin line between a portrait and commercial photographer, this photographer may be considered as both. If you’re looking for one, make sure to choose someone who can effectively sell your products or brand through the use of images.
Why Hire a Commercial Photographer?
Now you know the kinds of photography that are not considered as commercial photography, let’s talk about the why you should hire one. As we said earlier, commercial photography is kind of service that follows a business-to-business structure. There are lots of ways where images can be used to market physical products, brand, or even people. If you are a business owner, here are some of the reasons why you should hire a commercial photographer.
- You Are Selling a Product
There are in fact, two ways to sell products through images. One is by product photography, which allows you to reveal details of your products to your target consumers. Another way is through advertisement photography, where you focus more on the highlights of your products. Both are pretty useful in establishing a reputable brand.
- You are Promoting a Business
Commercial photography sells – whether it’s a product, brand or person. In fact, commercial photographers may take images of architectural structures and buildings if the physical attributes of a business can also be seen as a product. The reason why entrepreneurs hire commercial photographers is that they specialize in creating images that convince audiences.
- You Are Selling Fashion Products
Fashion photography is one of the most popular kinds of commercial photography. This is because it often involves making people look more attractive with the clothes, or any kind of fashion product that you are trying to sell. Images from this type of photography are most often found in magazines and newspaper advertisements. You can also find them in catalogues, where most products are shown in full detail.
- You Are Selling Food
Restaurant and café owners often hire commercial photographers to promote food. These images can be used for print advertisements or menus. While product photography focuses more on details, images of this kind create a mood or feel of the brand’s establishment. Also, shoots for food photography often take place in different locations.
- You Are Selling Ideas
Last but not the least, there is a need for a commercial photographer if you want to sell ideas. Unlike product photography where you try to sell a product through an image, selling ideas through effective use of images is more challenging. Photographers who want to promote ideas often have more creative freedom to interpret how ideas can be presented photographically.
Industrial Photography vs Commercial Photography
Both industrial and commercial photographers capture images of architectural structures and buildings for business owners. So, how do you differentiate one from another? Industrial photographers often shoot development sites – the images they make are often used for publicity purposes. On the contrary, commercial photographers shoot buildings where products or a brand is physically located.
Since it follows a B2B structure, commercial photography often cost more than client-oriented photography. Aside from equipment rentals, catering, and crew fees, expenses also include licensing and creative charges. If you live in Singapore, prices could range from $500 to $10,000 – fees often depend on the amount of photography work involved.
It’s best to acquire quotes from commercial photographers first before hiring one. This way, you can also discuss the kind of approach you require for your images, the nature of your project, the estimated hours or days of work needed, and the number of photos you require. You also have to expect additional fees that may be applied even if they were not discussed in your initial discussion. This is because these photographers often encounter challenges that may need special equipments. They may also hire another specialist to solve their problems along the way.
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