Tips, Types, and Equipment: A Complete Commercial Photography Guideline


If you think about business marketing, what comes first? Quality pictures. At this present time, it’s almost impossible to think about marketing without using photographs. Commercial photography refers to photographs taken for business marketing purposes. The commercial photography industry offers a great career too. There are huge opportunities if a photographer develops his skills in taking eye-catching photos that quickly attract people and make them interested in buying a specific product.

Today we will discuss the field of commercial photography, try to come up with effective tips, and provide ideas about the equipment you are going to need before starting your journey as a professional photographer.

What is Commercial Photography?

The key to differentiating commercial photography from other categories is their intent to use it. Commercial photography is a genre where photographers take photos to be used commercially. Their subjects are different kinds of products or models for advertising.

The Fields of Commercial Photography

To begin with, you should learn about the various fields of commercial photography. Like other sections of the photography industry, there are different types of commercial photographs for different types of businesses. So let us get familiar with the kinds of commercial photography that can help us choose our area of interest and be prepared for a better career.

Types of commercial photography

Product Photography

People are getting more interested in buying things from e-commerce websites. Brands and ordinary people are hiring photographers to capture professional photos for product listings. Product photography is one of the most demanding niches in this industry. To do better in product photography, you must have knowledge about lighting and its uses.

Fashion Photography

In fashion photography, models showcase the products they are wearing or using. There can be different types of products, and you have to focus on both the model and the products. So, for this type of commercial photography, knowledge of fashion and posing is most important.

Food Photography

Most of the clients are restaurants for food photography. They hire people to take pictures of their food, expecting a sales boost. For this type of photography, you need to be creative about framing and angles.

Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography shows creative architectural work or properties to make a sale. Companies or brands hire photographers to attract customers to buy their property. Also, people who do architectural design or work for a company can be experts in real estate photography.

To become a pro, you have to learn to capture photos with the proper details. That will enable your clients to understand the area without even seeing it.

Commercial Headshots

Headshots are always in demand. Clients pay you to look good in pictures. They may use the pictures for their acting portfolios or for any other purpose they want. Good looks and good style are the most important factors for commercial headshots. Gather knowledge about styling if you want to build a career in this section.

Advertising Photography

Advertising images are mostly used on billboards, magazine covers, posters, etc. This type of image is the main shot for the particular company, not for any individual.

E-commerce Photography

There are lots of e-commerce sites that sell various kinds of products online. For product selling purposes, they need high-quality and eye-catching product photos to attract the maximum number of audiences. Ecommerce photography has become a great opportunity for commercial photographers. Most of the time, the picture is captured on a white background, focused on the main product.

Environmental Portraits

Environmental portraits are photographs of people working somewhere. The main focus of this kind of commercial photography is the working environment. Mostly, these portraits are used for job advertisements or service promotions. People playing their roles as personal trainers, massage therapists, hairstylists, and chefs are the main clients for this field.

Prerequisites ( Career Requirements)

Establishing yourself as a professional commercial photographer doesn’t require a higher degree. Educational degrees in photography are more skill-based than academic degrees. Research says 63% of photographers have a bachelor’s degree, 6% hold a master’s degree, and others, at least, have a college degree. But none of them is mandatory. You can even prepare yourself for the commercial photography industry with a school-level degree.

Having experience in any photography-related sector is a plus. But the most important thing a commercial photographer must obtain is a creative mind, an artistic vision, and the ability to turn that vision into images.

Important Steps to Follow While Photography

Photography is a creative field where passion takes a greater place than anything else. But, along with your passion, whenever you are taking commercial photography as a profession, there are some important steps that can help you come up with a perfect capture.


Know your subject

Knowing your subject is the first necessary thing for a great photograph. Not having a clear understanding of your subject can distract you from the goal of capturing a picture. It’s also a plus to determine your vision and capture style when you know the subject congruously.

Focusing Area

Decide on which part of the photograph you need attention drawn to. Once you’ve got yourself clear about the subject matter, determine its main focus. It can be the whole product or just one feature of your subject. We’d suggest you move around and select a better angle to focus on and click on.

Discover patterns

A good photo should be based on a frame with patterns. Pictures that follow a particular framing or pattern can also draw the viewer’s attention to a single point. Once you’ve established a thorough understanding of the subject and determined where to focus your attention, it’s time to look for symmetry. Asymmetry followed by shapes, colors, or light effects will help draw attention to your photograph’s focusing point.

Follow the rules of thirds

Positioning the focal point in the center is good, but what can make your shot more interesting is the rules of thirds
Think of it this way; draw an invisible tic-tac-toe line in your photograph where two lines will vertically divide the frame into thirds, and two lines will horizontally divide it into thirds. So, what you’ll do is either put all the important elements of your photograph within these lines or put them on the other side of one of the four points. Generally speaking, photographs composed using the rules of thirds are more engaging than others.

Choose your professional gear with extra care

At the beginning of your photography career, you must have heard that gear does not matter. But it does matter. Especially for commercial photography, the capability, and quality of your gear matter.

We are not suggesting that you spend a lot of money on the most expensive equipment, but rather that you buy the best ones within your budget. Your camera, tripod, and lenses should offer you everything that you can expect to get the desired outcome.

Set your lighting considering the mood you expect

Only a slight change in lighting can change the whole mood of your picture. As we say, photography is creativity using vision and lighting. So, as you are the capturer, you better know which type of lighting effect will be best for all the specific pictures. With the variations of lighting effects, you, the photographer, are able to create and tell a story. So, before you click on the shot button, be prepared with accurate lighting and get different mood variations.

Equipments you will need for a commercial setup

Equipment's for commercial photography

It’s actually tough to give a list of equipment you may need for commercial photography. There are different kinds of setups for different kinds of places. Sometimes you are going to shoot in a studio with a full setup, and sometimes you are outside with only the camera in your hands. Also, there are no limits to advancement. You can upgrade the entire setup with high-end accessories. However, assuming you are a beginner in the commercial photography industry, we will now provide you with a list of equipment you are going to need to run the work smoothly.

  • Camera
  • Lenses
  • Tripod
  • Lighting setup
  • Backdrop

Let’s Get to Know the Equipment in Detail:


A camera is a must-have thing for photography that I don’t even need to mention. For professional picture capture, get a good-quality camera with a full-frame sensor.


Lenses are not less important than cameras. The photo quality highly depends on the quality of the lenses. As the light enters through the lenses before clicking, it’s almost impossible to deliver quality pictures without suitable lenses.


A tripod is a tool where you place the camera and click pictures. Professional photographers need to hold the camera for a long time. They wait for the perfect light to get a good capture, take multiple shots, and sometimes they need to change the setup for a different angle. It’s not an easy thing to hold the camera the entire time with your hands. Get a good quality tripod that you will be able to carry everywhere you go.

Lighting Setup

Well, lighting comes after the basic tools. This is one of the most crucial elements a photographer needs when capturing a photo. Different types of lighting can change the mood of the entire photo. Also, natural light is not enough. To focus on the subject, you will need to get an additional lighting setup.


Backdrop ensures a perfectly white background for your commercial pictures. For most ecommerce sites, it’s required to have a pure white background. A pure white background is not something that you will see anywhere you shoot. So, arrange a backdrop. That will give you a smooth white background, and you can easily capture flawless photos.

How to Set Prices for Commercial Photography

When pricing your commercial photography, consider how much time you spend on projects, the number of team members, the number of photos your client requires, the size and recognition of your client, the fields of use of the photographs, and your work experience in the commercial photography industry.

  • Rate your hourly work on your personal work experience, client satisfaction, and the geographical area you are working in. Fix a consistent price per hour.
  • The more photos your clients require, the more fees they will incur. Fix an ideal rate per click.
  • You can charge a higher amount of money if you are working for a reputed brand with a high budget. In the same way, you can charge less for a startup company that does not have the same budget if your hourly rate is covered.
  • Mark your work according to your previous experience and the number of satisfied clients. A proven work portfolio, a good website, and a professional approach enable you to ask for a smart amount of remuneration.

How to Get Started in Commercial Photography

Starting a career in commercial photography requires more than photographic knowledge and gear. Any photographer who wants to start his journey in the commercial photography industry successfully needs to focus on a few other things too.

To get started, here are the things you need to do:

Choose your area of photography

Commercial photography is a broad term. There are different fields in this creative industry. However, choosing your specialization does not mean that you will shoot the same thing every time; it actually means which particular area you are better off focusing on.

Make your portfolio

Your first step toward a business career should be to create your own professional portfolio. Some of your most impressive pictures You can choose between a physical or digital portfolio, but we’d suggest both. Clients, prior to hiring you, want to judge your work. A portfolio is the best way to showcase work samples to get clients. Once you have got the perfect portfolio, next you should think about a business card.

Create a pitch deck

Communicating your ideas to the clients about the commercial photography sector is necessary to get started. A pitch deck provides an overview of a project, supports the pitch, and lets the clients know what your journey was like.

Get to know the legalities

Although this part remains underrated, we will say it is basic for any kind of profession. If you include images that contain brand logos, recognizable individuals, or any private property, then you must secure legal permission to publish that image commercially. Also, release forms and model releases determine where to publish the images and if there are any terms and conditions for publishing.

As a professional commercial photographer, know everything concerning legalities.

Establish your work rates

Your clients will want to know how much you charge in general. Coming up with a fixed rate is always appreciated. Otherwise, this part of the conversation may confuse both of you and the client. To fix the price of your photography, consider the number of images required, the type of shoot, your budget, and all other factors that seem important to you.

How to get clients for commercial photography

When you are ready to approach and start working with a commercial client, all you will want is to be contacted by a good client.

Here are some steps to hook clients

  • Make yourself available on all the possible platforms.
  • Make a list of all the potential clients you’ve already known and contact them.
  • Communication is key. Get connected to the photographer’s community online and offline.
  • Ask for references. References from your tutors, relatives, friends, and other photographers can lead you to a great client.
  • Assisting a senior photographer is a great way to boost your skills. This is also a way to introduce yourself rapidly.
  • Approach commercial clients not only with photos; share unique and creative ideas that will help you to create an impressive impression.

Time to Learn Some Commercial Photography Tips

Some Commercial Photography Tips

Develop your Personal Style

The commercial photography industry is both creative and competitive. So, you have to use creativity and uniqueness to stay away from the competition. Everyone has some potential. Recognize your special abilities. If you follow the recognized photographers, you will notice that, gradually, you are seeing a unique and special touch. Find your own style in this photography field to become commercially recognizable.

Bring Uniqueness

Nobody wants to eat the same thing every day. Though there are some specific requirements for commercial photography, you have to offer something unique to your client to make them choose you.
Your unique work level will help you develop a bright career in this industry.

Become a Professional

The starting period of any profession is challenging. Practice more, experiment with different styles and compare your own work. This way, you will be able to develop skills. Commercial clients hire photographers expecting a professional result. So, make yourself professionally able before talking to the clients.

Prioritize your Portfolio

Your portfolio is a very important factor when you are thinking of starting commercial photography. Include 15 to 20 of your very best images.
If you have a large number of projects in different sections of photography, then make separate portfolios for each type of photography.

Nothing Comes Prior to Client Demand

The client should always be your first priority. Hear your client very clearly. Know how your clients want the work done. Inquire about the number of photos required, the budget, the deadline, the required location and style, the required lighting setup, and finally, if they have any plans. A client should always be your first priority.

Start your work after clear communication, knowing how your work process will go on.


Becoming a commercial photographer is a goal for many photographers. Adapting to any skill perfectly is challenging, and there is no limit to perfection. Your knowledge will be enriched gradually. There is lots of scope for improvement. Follow our tips and guidelines to start your dream. Once you’ve established yourself as a professional photographer, big opportunities will start coming to you.

Tazim Ul Mulk

Tazim Ul Mulk

As a fervent writer and an enthusiast in the beauty of imagery, I wish to show the world the true meaning behind each image.