Commercial Photography

Commercial photography is often one of the more lucrative types of photography that you can get involved with. While the term "commercial photography" can relate to a wide range of things, it is most commonly used in reference to product/service photography, advertising, and corporate photography.

Product/Service Photography

Many companies hire photographers to take professional images of the products or services that they provide. Product photography is the most common of these two and they both present their own unique pitfalls and benefits.

Product Photography

These are often very simple jobs that require very little equipment. At the very least, you will need a drop cloth and an isolation box. The drop cloth can be used for taking pictures of larger subjects. The isolation box will allow you to control the lighting of smaller items. Apart from these two major components, you won't need any other specialty equipment.

Though the process could be made much simpler by using a specialty lighting setup, it's not a necessity. The benefit here is that you will be alone with the items while taking the photos and can use shoplights or flashlights for lighting if you want. Since you don't have to worry about the “image” that DIY lighting may impart, you can get going with this type of photography very quickly.

Service Photography

Service photography requires you to be a little more sure of your abilities with a camera. Service photography will often require you to follow workers around during their day or take “action oriented” shots. Your job here is to show what services the business performs and how well it provides those services.

Corporate Photography

Corporate photography can mean a few different things. Primarily, corporate photography refers to taking employee portrait shots and taking photographs at corporate events. The portrait shots can be anything from taking pictures for ID tags to taking group portrait shots for a corporate website. You may also find yourself being recruited to perform photography services at corporate events such as shareholder meetings or corporate retreats.

Chris Mimmack Photography - A studio offering unique photography services including 360 panoramas, as well as traditional commercial and wedding photos.

PDMS Photography - A Dorset-based photographer that provides commercial, PR and wedding photography to a high professional standard.

Photo Course Select offers correspondence courses for starting a photography business, including selecting equipment and dealing with customers.

Snaps Photo Services process all traditional and digital photographic films and images, including black and white and slide film processing.

Advertising and Promotional Photography

This comprises the vast majority of commercial photography gigs that you will find. People are constantly in need of promotional photography for advertising on websites, television, and print ads. The work flow here can be very steady if you get the right types of clients. You will need to make sure that you have an extremely solid photographic portfolio before you start trying to get jobs like this. It will also be very helpful if you can show a demonstrated understanding of popular photo editing software. This will make you more marketable since some photographers lack these skills and need to rely on graphic designers.

Equipment for Commercial Photography

To be a well-rounded commercial photographer, you need to have a significant amount of comfort with all of your equipment. This means that you need to know how to manipulate and setup photos quickly while also knowing how to best utilize your equipment to make everything come together. However, you have to get the right equipment before you can get the right experience.


The type of flash you get is important since it can have a big impact on the overall quality of your photos. Flashes are especially important when you're doing non-staged and candid shots at corporate events. You need much more supplemental light on hand since you don't have much control over the lighting of the area you're shooting in.

You should look at remote flashes that come equipped with a slave drive that is compatible with your camera. This drive will allow you to use the flash without having it mounted on your camera. You could have the flash sitting on the other side of the room to help light a photograph in ways that you never even imagined were possible.


You shouldn't even consider trying to take on commercial clients without a really good tripod. It should have a well-oiled head so that it pans smoothly and it should have an accurate levelling bubble on it. This is absolutely essential if you want to take steady, even shots.