What Is Advertising Photography?

Ivan Martinez
Corporate photographer with expertise in business headshots, events, commercial, and construction photography.


Using the right tools to market your product or service can make or break your brand. Advertising photography is one of the main tools to grab your audience’s attention and position your product in the customer’s mind. The right use of a well-curated image can tie an entire advertising campaign together, especially in our digital era.

A well-produced and attention-grabbing advertising photo is a must to market your brand or product freshly and professionally, across print and online media platforms.

What Is Advertising Photography?

This branch of photography centers a product or service as the main focus of an image, to share more information about it and hopefully stimulate targeted customers to make a purchase. 

Advertising photography is characterized by creating compelling, high-quality, and professional images that share information about a product or service, to attract potential customers. 

In this photographic style, the focus isn’t necessarily always on the product, but on the narrative the product represents. For example, a clothing brand will use professional models in idyllic settings to promote a new collection, rather than focusing on just the garments. 

In over 30 years as a professional ad commercial photographer, I have seen firsthand how advertising photography can portray products in a way that will inspire people to buy them—not only because of the product itself, but because of the added lifestyle benefit it represents.

Advertising Photography vs. Commercial Photography: What’s The Difference?

These are two terms that are often confused but represent very different photographic styles and approaches. Commercial photography is usually more realistic and tends to focus more on the product or service—think about stock photos, where the objective is tell a story or share to others what is your company about.  

Advertising photography, on the other hand, focuses on creating images that follow a certain marketing or brand narrative. The focus isn’t solely on the product itself but also on the added value of the product, such as an appealing lifestyle or benefit. The idea is to move the customer to buy the product so they can experience what the image is representing.

Types of Advertising Photography

Depending on the product that is being sold, a different type of approach will be needed.  The industry in which the product is offered determines the guidelines that need to be followed in an advertising image.

  1. Lifestyle Photography

Represents reality in a way that many consumers wish they could experience themselves. It often aims to capture real-life events in an artistic way. For example, think of individuals and families captured in natural but professional-looking portraits.

Fashion Photography Example. Two girls enjoy a real-life event
  1. Fashion Photography

Depicts images where the clothes are being worn by people engaging in exciting activities, or where models are wearing fashion wear while doing ordinary things—such as taking a walk in the park or going for a run, etc. These images attempt to emotionally impact the customer so that people are more likely to purchase the clothes because they respond more positively to them.

  1. Beauty Photography 

Involves creating close-up images of subjects, to highlight specific attractive features. Generally, these types of images depict beautiful models presented in curated positions that highlight features being enhanced by the beauty product. Think of a close-up photograph with a striking lip gloss. The idea is to make the consumer buy the lip-gloss in order to look like the model.

Example of healthy food photography
  1. Food Photography

This type of product photography presents tempting images of food that will compel customers to try it. These curated images of both high-end and fast-food restaurants create appealing images. For example, think about that perfect mouth-watering burger photo of a fast-food restaurant. The real-life burger might not look like the image, but the image is what might move someone to try the burger in the first place.

  1. Architectural Photography

This type of advertising photography captures buildings and structures. Portraying these inanimate objects in an appealing way relies on finding the best angle, using different lenses, and even portraying the building or structure during a specific season to create a specific look and feel. For example, a realtor might want to capture an image of a home in the spring, surrounded by greenery and flowers to make the house more appealing to potential buyers.

5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Advertising Photographer

Depending on the industry, a different photographic know-how might be needed. To create the best narrative that will ultimately generate more sales, using high-quality and striking images is a must in today’s digital era. The best way to achieve the most compelling image is to hire a professional photographer that specializes in the type of advertisement you are creating.

Inspires Confidence in Potential Clients 

A professional advertising photography service will deliver confidence and get the message across with eye-catching images of your product. A simple and fresh solution to get the message across to the prospective customer. 

You’ll Get the Most Out of Social Media

As advertising has taken on to digital platforms, the potential exposure of any product has increased exponentially. Potential customers are overloaded with content every day, so striking images are the first step into positioning your product in the market and bringing on leads. A successful advertising photograph will help your brand get noticed and build a following—the bigger the following, the more leads you will generate.

Brand Awareness

Images, color tones, and other qualities can improve the extent to which consumers get familiar with your particular brand. Consistent style in images can convey the voice of a brand and make it easier for customers and potential customers to recognize and follow it both on print and digital platforms. 

Improves Your Sales

An image speaks a thousand words and great images can speak even louder. In the digital era, an image can tell a story about your product and your brand. When a prospective customer can see what your product can do for them they might be more tempted to buy it.

Makes the Difference

The main objective of using a professional photographer is to take advantage of highly developed skills to better showcase the various aspects that make your product stand out in front of the competition. With a professional photoshoot photographers will make magic happen through their lenses with unique and creative images, which will ultimately benefit your product and brand. 

Advertising photography is a key aspect in building and marketing your brand or organization in a new and fresh way. Let me help you with that! Contact me.

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