The difference between commercial and advertising photography is that while commercial photography focuses on showcasing a product’s features and design, advertising photography crafts a narrative around the product to evoke emotions and desires in the viewer.


Deciphering The Twin Pillars – Commercial vs. Advertising Photography


In photography, two genres often intertwine yet remain distinct: commercial and advertising photography.

As an experienced photographer based in Westminster, Maryland, I’ve traversed both realms, bringing products to life for e-commerce businesses and individual sellers alike.

Let’s look at what sets these two types of photography apart and why it matters for your brand.

commercial or advertising photography?


Commercial Photography: A Direct Showcase


At its core, commercial photography is about a direct connection between a product and its audience.

It captures the product in its purest form, highlighting its features and design.

The aim? To show potential buyers exactly what they’re getting.


Characteristics of Commercial Photography


• Emphasis on the product itself.

• Often set against neutral backgrounds, minimizing distractions.

• Used extensively in catalogs, e-commerce websites, and product listings.

commercial photography example
An example of commercial photography for ecommerce

The images above are examples of commercial photography. Emphasis is on the product itself with no distractions. They were created for e-commerce websites and product listings.

Whether it’s a 360-degree image that offers a comprehensive view or an infographic detailing its features, commercial photography is all about clarity and precision.

Advertising Photography: Evoking Desire


While commercial photography shows a product, advertising photography tells its story.

It’s not just about the item but the lifestyle or emotion it represents.

Advertising photography is designed to make the viewer not just want the product, but desire the lifestyle it promises.


Hallmarks of Advertising Photography


• Rich, atmospheric settings.

• Often incorporates human models or contextual elements.

• Used in campaigns aiming to evoke emotions, from magazine spreads to billboard ads.

My specialty? Crafting stop-motion animation clips and GIFs that add a dynamic layer to traditional advertising photos, making products truly memorable.

Beverage Photography

The Essential Oil image evokes the emotion of calm and surrounded by the sent of lavendar. In the cider image, we evoke the memories of being amongst friends in a bar setting. These are examples of advertising photography.

Distinctions Between Commercial Photography, Advertising Photography & Editorial Photography


Commercial Photography:


The primary goal is to showcase the product’s features and design.


Advertising Photography:


Beyond just showcasing a product, advertising photography crafts a narrative around it.

It’s not just about how the product looks, but the emotions and desires it evokes, compelling viewers to desire and purchase.


Editorial Photography:


This is storytelling through visuals.

It’s less about selling a product and more about conveying a message or narrative, often accompanying written content.

While its main aim isn’t to advertise, a single image can serve both editorial and commercial purposes when crafted thoughtfully.

Why Does the Distinction Matter?


The lines between these categories can blur, but understanding their primary objectives helps in differentiating them.

Why is this important? Because the difference between commercial and advertising photography is crucial, especially when deciding how to present your product.

Do you want to showcase its design and features, or do you want to convey a lifestyle, a feeling, an aspiration?

Knowing this can shape your entire marketing strategy.


Let’s Bring It All Together

With a blend of meticulous in-house editing, a personal touch due to my client cap each month, and a diverse portfolio showcasing both commercial and advertising projects, I’m here to bring your product vision to life.

Curious to see more of my product photography?

Dive into my portfolio to witness the magic.


Crafting Your Brand’s Visual Narrative


Whether you’re leaning towards commercial or advertising photography—or a blend of both—it’s vital to collaborate with a photographer who understands the nuances.

As we embark on this journey, rest assured your brand’s story is in good hands.

Discover How Professional Photography Can Elevate Your Brand

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