Advertising Photography

What Is Advertising Photography?

When you are looking at an advertisement, what’s the first thing you notice? Is it the writing in the ad? Probably not. If you’re like most people, you notice images first. Oftentimes the images in an advertisement are what draws people’s eyes to it, and these images typically determine whether or not people continue to study the advertisement. The use of graphics, like photography, in advertisements can often greatly increase the chances of consumers looking at them. Advertising photography involves taking pictures of products or services. These photographs should not only be very high quality and attractive, but they should also be interesting and eye-catching. They should not only cause consumers to notice an advertisement, but they should also make consumers want to buy the product or service. There are a few ways that products and services can be photographed for advertisements. Products can be photographed while they are in use or against a blank background. To add visual interest and pique the consumers’ curiosity, products can also be photographed in unusual situations or areas. Services can be a little more difficult to photograph, but it can be done. For instance, an advertisement for a service might include a photograph of life without the service. Flattering photographs of the service professionals themselves can also be used. Advertising photographs are often used in print advertisements, such as newspaper and magazine ads. These photographs might also be featured in online, billboard, mobile, and even television advertisements.

Work Environment

In order to get a good idea of how to shoot the photographs of a product or service, he must first understand what types of photographs he needs. In order to do this, he will usually meet with his clients before shooting begins. During this meeting, the client should make it very clear to the photographer regarding what style of photographs he’s looking for and what message he wants his ads to convey. After getting a good idea of what his client is looking for, an advertising photographer will then begin preparations for his shots.

This often involves obtaining the products in question from the client as well as any props. An advertising photographer will also determine the location of the photography shoot. Depending on the style of the advertisement and type of product, some shoots may take place outdoors and some may take place indoors. Models might also be included in advertising photographs as well. For instance, they may be featured holding or using the product. Advertisements featuring professionals offering a service will usually entail the clients themselves to be the subjects in the photographs.

Once everything is set up and ready to go, an advertising photographer will then typically take several shots. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a professional to take hundreds, or even thousands, of photographs during one shoot. Only a few of these photographs, however, will usually be used, as many of them will have imperfections.

Post-production work and photo retouching is also often included in an advertising photographer’s job description as well. For instance, some photographs might need to be airbrushed, cropped, or otherwise edited. More extreme special effects can also be created using special photo editing software. For example, let’s consider a possible edgy advertisement for an apple flavored beverage. Instead of just using a photo of the plain bottle, an advertising photographer can create an interesting image by digitally placing an apple core where the center of the bottle should be. Not only would this image be more visually appealing, but it would also portray fresh apple taste.

Education Requirements

The advertising industry is very competitive, and those interested in building a successful advertising photography career will usually need some sort of formal education. A photography degree from a reputable photography school, for instance, is an excellent way to start an advertising photography career. Earning this type of degree will enable students to hone their photography skills and gain valuable experience. Many advertising schools offer courses and degree programs for those interested in advertising photography careers as well. These types of schools allow students to earn more focused degrees needed for advertising careers.

Salary and Job Outlook


Overall, nearly any professional in the advertising industry is capable of earning a decent wage. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not record salary data regarding advertising photographers specifically, it does record data regarding photographers in general. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the average salary for photographers was $35,980. Photographers in New York State typically made the most money, with the average salary of these professionals hovering around $48,630 in that same year.

Job Outlook

Most individuals interested in an advertising photography career will often be able to find work at large advertising agencies. In most cases, those just starting their careers will usually start out in entry-level positions, working under art directors or senior photographers. As they gain more experience and prove that they can work unsupervised, they will then usually move up in the company. Freelance advertising photography careers are also quite common. Some advertising photographers might also find that freelance careers are actually more rewarding and lucrative. To be successful at these types of careers, however, photographers should be very talented and equally determined.

Helpful Resources

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