Advertising photography

Advertising photography is more than perfect and technically well-executed photography. It could be product photography that not only shows the product but also tells a story.

This story has to lead to buying the product from the client’s perspective. So from this point of view, advertising photography is more artistic, more creative and therefore more sophisticated.

It is a part of commercial photography, of course, as it is focused on making money at the end of the day.

If you, as a photographer, would try to find an advertisement photography job, you should apply in large advertising agencies. This kind of ob is very well paid.

The average salaries of top advertising photographers are tens of thousands of dollars. On the other hand, it is not easy to get to that league. You have to prove your quality and have a lot of perfect references. 



The planning phase is critical in advertising photography. The final shot should be a masterpiece telling the story and attracting customers, so they will intend to buy the product or service.

So before taking the photographs, it has to be clarified each detail between the photographer and the client. 

Advertising image night
Photo by David Geib from Pexels

What is the story to tell?

 What media will be the image presented on: is it a big billboard, or catalog advertising page or webzine image?

If it is beauty photography, it must make the feeling of beauty and luxury in every single detail. To achieve that feeling, there is a high-end retouching and postprocessing needed.

Advertising photographer proposes the plan of how many and which shots have to be done outdoor and which ones in the studio. It is common to shot even hundreds of shots for one image setup and then to choose the best ones for further postprocessing and usage.

Technical quality o advertising photography

As we already mentioned, the substantial question is the final image application. If there is a plan to make a top-quality catalog, you, as a photographer, need to shoot with good quality DSLR or mirrorless with high-quality sensors.

Maybe in some cases, to use medium format if needed. The image has to be in high resolution, prepared for offset printing.

Advertising dog
Photo by Alexandra Novitskaya from Pexels

In many situations, it won’t be enough to use natural light, and even in exterior shooting, you will have to use artificial lighting.

These requirements will be logically implying a higher cost for the client, so this is another topic to be discussed in advance to avoid unwanted situations when the client will receive the invoice.

Storytelling advertising photography will require a lot of props. It is not only a well exposed and sharp image. The product itself is a part of an intricate image containing surrounding objects, other people interacting with it.

So it is more challenging to set the whole scene, make the best timing, lighting, and then pushing the shutter button finally.

Postprocessing and manipulation

In practically every single case of advertising photography, you will need to manipulate the final image. Not only the improving technical quality of the image like contrast, exposure, vibrancy, etc.

Many times you will have to make a hard manipulation and change the whole image artificially.

It such cases, it is necessary to cooperate with highly skilled photoshop artists. He has to be able to manipulate the image, so it looks still believable and real. 

The changes and complexity of manipulation used to be very extensive. So it is many times not possible to be covered by photographers, and it tends to be outsourced to retouching specialists.


Advertising photography is nowadays changing. IT is given by the shift in clients’ media popularity. Today we are consuming more time by watching social media. It is affecting advertising photography, of course. So the advertising agencies photographers are producing the image that fits Instagram or Facebook formats.

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