What is Commercial Photography: Looking at the Bigger Picture

Commercial Photography - Brochures

What does it really mean to be a commercial photographer?

When I tell my friends and associates in and around Suffolk that I’m a commercial photographer I often wonder if they really know what I mean.

The word ‘commercial’ often conjures up images of ribbon-cutting ceremonies, handshake deals, and corporate headshots, which of course are all part and parcel of my job. But thankfully, there is so much more to commercial photography than meets the eye.

Going far beyond capturing one-off images of buildings, people or products, commercial photography encompasses all of the imagery that helps to tell the unique story of a business or build a brand.

Doing this right means creatively capturing the business as a whole, whilst keeping in mind the potential commercial use of the images, both as individual photographs and as a collective.

Commercial Photography and Branding
Telling a story of your company…

This could include people profiles, staff photos, office scenes and interactions between the business and its clients / customers, as well as close-ups of any products.

These ‘bundles’ of commercial images all work together to help communicate what that business is all about. Each photo cannot be viewed in isolation – instead, each one should play its part in telling the story of a business, person or product, as well as ‘hold its own’.

“A commercial photograph is one that is used to help sell, advertise or market a product, service, person or persons”

Blending commercial and lifestyle photography

Commercial photography can also draw upon the concept of ‘lifestyle photography’, commonly seen in advertising, where imagery is used to plant an idea in the minds of an audience.

Take photography designed to sell an office space for example. There are several ways in which this could be approached commercially – you could photograph this as an empty space and allow the viewer to imagine how they would use the space, or you could ‘set the scene’ and shoot the room as if it were occupied, allowing the viewers to ‘see’ themselves in that space.

Similarly, when it comes to product photography there are two very different approaches one could take. The first being what could be referred to as ‘traditional’ product photography – for example taken in front of a plain background – and the second, a ‘lifestyle’ shot, which plants that all-important ‘vision’ of the product in use:

Commercial Photography - Unique product photos
Showcasing a product…
Lifestyle Commercial Photography
An alternative way to showcase the same product…

Both approaches can work equally well.

Part of the skill of a commercial photographer is understanding which approach will work best for both the client and the audience in mind, as well as taking into account where the image will be published.

Building the bigger picture

So how does a commercial photographer ‘know’ the best way to showcase their client’s business?

Well, this comes from taking the time to build a deep understanding of ‘what you do’ and ‘why you do it’. I love to meet clients face to face and talk through your goals, as well as learn more about what makes you tick, before I go anywhere near a camera.

Commercial Photography Headshots-Ipswich-MAD HR-1
I love to get an insight into my client’s personality!

This really helps me to build up a picture of your personality, brand and the visions you have for your business – something that I can then apply to your commercial photography. Talking through your goals and what you are hoping to achieve with your brand images is a great way for me to build the ‘bigger picture’ and ensure you get the best value possible.

Who knows, I may even come up with some creative ideas that hadn’t yet crossed your mind!

Talk to me about your vision for your business, and let me help you bring it to life with commercial photography – call 07775 851827 or email me today.


Have a browse through the gallery below for a selection of images – all of which are ‘commercial photos’.

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