Commercial photography and Advertising photography are terms that are often used interchangeably. In reality, they mean slightly different, but related things. What are they, and how can they help businesses?


Commercial photography is somewhat of a general catch all statement. It includes all types of photography used in business promotion. This includes advertising photography but also other types of corporate photography such as Public relations photography and Corporate portraits. Advertising photography by comparison has a much narrower focus and is used to describe visual images used to convey messages in advertising. Over the years these names have become used interchangeably.

An example of commercial photography in use. In this case advertising photography to display a domestic interior and sell a property.

Advertising photography can in itself encompass a wide range of subject matter ranging from products, to people, places, events, concepts and lifestyle images. Although advertising is often used to describe products or services, it also needs to convey concepts and ideas. Companies often engage in extensive planning, often using advertising agencies to come up with concepts for brands. This planning will include identifying the target market for a specific product and then coming up with branding and advertising that will appeal to this market. The advertising photography used for the project will need to be consistent with the overall brand image.


The planning and logistics of arranging an advertising shoot can often be very complex. Specific locations will need to be identified for the shoot, and where necessary, permissions obtained to work at these places and then use the photographs for advertising. Models may also need to be hired. They will be selected for the specific brand in question. A model suitable for a corporate hotel wouldn’t necessarily be the same as someone suitable for promoting rock clothing! Legalities also need to be covered including the use of model releases so that the person in the pictures formally gives their consent for their image to be used in the end promotion.

In this example of advertising photography, a group of people are sitting together showing how the business works with it's customers. An example of how commercial photography can help promote a business.

Then there is the equipment planning. An advertising shoot could either be very simple, with little more than a single camera and available daylight, or more complex including lighting equipment, studio hire, reflectors and props. It all depends on what the image that needs to be taken and the particulars of the location and product being photographed. Additional support staff may be required for larger shoots such as make-up artists and assistants to help with lighting.


Often, an advertising agency will send an art director to attend during an advertising shoot. This is to ensure brand consistency in the final images. The photographer and art director will have discussed the shoot at the planning stage in order to develop ideas for the pictures, and then the art director will review the output during the shoot to check the end results match the requirements.

Advertising shoots typically output large numbers of photographs. After the shoot the art director will select the image or images they wish to use before any final editing is performed. The images will then be licensed for specific uses, periods of time, and localities. Exclusivity of use is generally also a major factor in this sort of commercial photography as brands do not want to see images used from the shoot appearing in the promotional material of a rival brand. Many people are unclear about how copyright works. The AOP have a helpful guide for clients which explains things in more detail.


I work with many different businesses both big and small, and love seeing their brands grow and succeed. Further examples can be found in my portfolio. We provide a tailor made service which provides commercial photography that is specific to you. It is a great way to differentia yourself in a market place where promotional imagery is often very generic. As a commercial photographer, I regularly work both locally in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Preston, Chester, St Helens and Warrington further afield throughout the UK and overseas. To find out more about the specific types of commercial photography I offer, just check out the links below. If you are looking for specific images to promote your business, just give me a call.

Peter Drought

01744 454 834 | 07917317908