Both commercial and advertising photography promote the sale of products and services, but commercial photography sets itself apart from advertising photography in several ways.
Whereas advertising photography usually involves working closely with a team of creative individuals from an advertising agency, commercial photography usually entails working directly with an individual company or person.
Most businesses need to promote their offering to their target audience and often require professional looking images to do just that. The objective of commercial photography is to make a product, design or service look appealing in a commercial way to help sell it to customers. A highly skilled professional photographer with a trained eye for detail can produce commercial images with real impact and appeal. Therefore, finding a commercial photographer with this skill set is key to the success of a project.
Typically, I receive a call or an email from a business representative who has a product to sell, like fabrics or kitchen furniture, for example. They usually want to know the cost of shooting their product in the right setting. In the case of fabrics or kitchen furniture, this would normally be in a domestic setting.
If my potential client is experienced in working with a commercial photographer, they might specify the exact layout of a room set they want to create. On the other hand, they might only have a sketchy idea of what they want and will require guidance on how to hire a property and a stylist to create the set. As we’ve been doing this for some time at Dean Mitchell Photography, we have experienced set builders on hand, who are more than happy to build a set from scratch in the studio with the client’s guidance and my supervision. That way the client gets a bespoke room set and images that are totally unique and unlike anything their competitors have produced. We also have a list of fantastic locations available to us, so we can hire a property for the shoot, and the stylist finds the best way to exhibit the client’s product within the setting.
As well as shooting images for design companies and manufacturers of kitchens, bathrooms and furniture, I’ve also worked with numerous commercial clients such as Harlequin fabrics, Sanderson, Zoffany, Morris and Co, Wolverhampton University, Birmingham Library, Taylor Wimpy Homes, Harley Davidson, Vanity Hall Bathrooms, Stanley Tools, Malabar, Sven Christiansen Office Furniture, Carillion, Barclays, Total, Nokia, HSBC, Weight Watchers and Daihatsu. Dean Mitchell Photography has consequently produced images of a whole array of products in a variety locations.
No matter what the product is, the copyright (or ownership of the images) always belongs to the photographer. It is often standard practice for agencies to pay usage fees, but this isn’t the case with commercial clients. If a commercial photography client requires the copyright of the images, they have to pay additional fees. This is not common practice, however.