What is commercial photography?Perhaps the best way to describe “commercial photography” is it’s the use of images to represent a brand, product or service. As part of the “message” it may also portray an image of our everyday surroundings, the times we live in, or the environment we create.

Commercial photography as it applies to advertising is about using photos to tell a story and educating consumers about the product or service. Commercial photography as a selling tool is used to bring the viewer’s imagination to the concept, thereby invoking a “need” response for that product or service.

What to look for in a commercial photographer Considering the investment in hiring a commercial photographer, it’s imperative that you have a face-to-face meeting before hiring them so that you both can discuss your thoughts, ideas and requirements for the project.

Book the meeting in their studio if possible as it gives you the perfect opportunity to lay out exactly what you want, but also to see the facilities and make sure they are appropriate for your needs. The meeting will also give you the ideal opportunity to see for yourself some of their work that they've done for other clients and get a feeling for their style.

If you have a limited budget then, be up front & discuss what can be achieved with the available budget. Sometimes you’ll get more for your money if a good working rapport can be developed, and also if there is a possibility of additional work being done together in the future.

In Studio or On Location? The photo studio is the ideal place to control lighting and the overall conditions for the photo shoot. Usually, the final decision on “where” to shoot is best suggested by the photographer as they will be able to recommend which setting offers the best conditions to enhance the key elements of the product or subject.

Lighting is an essential element in that gives food shots their mouth-watering effect, that beautiful morning sunshine streaming in the window, or that sensual warm snuggly effect to the bedroom or duvet set.

Location shoots are sometimes essential but to getting great results involves extra time & work in order to control the surroundings and the lighting. In all cases a good commercial photographer will have a range of extra lighting with soft boxes or diffusers as well as a few additional props to produce a stunning set of photographs for your project.

Copyright & Ownership Considerations So who actually does own the rights to those photographs you've commissioned a photographer to do? The straightforward, legal answer is that the photographer always retains the copyrights to the photos. The photographer essentially grants you a license to use the photos only for certain things, as determined prior to the photo shoot taking place.

Future use of the photos outside of the original terms often requires additional charges so be prepared to discuss this at your initial meeting.