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Top 5 Commercial Photography Techniques

Aug 16, 2016 | Commercial Photographer, Automotive Photographer, Product Photographers, Product Photography

Learning the top commercial photography techniques gives anyone interested in content marketing a valuable edge. Mastering these commercial photography techniques can take years. Save that for your big budget advertising projects. Apply these professional photography techniques to your quick social media content marketing images now to see noticeable traction tomorrow.

What is commercial photography? Commercial photography is used to promote or sell a product or service. This is a really broad spectrum description isn’t it?

That’s because the term covers a wide range of photography uses in advertising, merchandising, product placement, packaging, corporate brochures, menus in restaurants, social media marketing, and just about anywhere companies sell products and services.

Normally the main purpose for commercial photography is to enhance the message in the text. The photograph is the first thing people see. Commercial photographers create images optimized for emotions and thoughts. The photo must be visually supportive of the message.

Broadening the spectrum even further. Commercial photographers use a wide range of photography techniques to meet client communication objectives. Assuming the concept of your photograph is ready to go these five commercial photography techniques are the building blocks of producing a successful commercial photography campaign.


Every photograph has a reading direction. Lighting direction and composition work in parallel to drive the reading direction. Do you want the viewer to end on a text (your message/CTA), or focus on a visual element (emotion/action)? Commercial photographs are designed with intent to direct a flow through the image. The rule of thirds and the golden ratio are the building blocks of composition design. Da Vinci, Degas, and Henri Cartier-Bresson to name a few have all used these design principles. I recommend studying the master painters to learn composition instead of modern commercial advertising photography. Dig deeper into composition design with Myron Barnstone.



The interaction of light on the surface of your subjects takes mastery over years of practice. If you’re just starting now you’re in luck. The amount of instructional videos online for learning everything from the basics of photographic lighting to the more complex are in great supply. I suggest learning about the physical properties of light first. Diffuse, specular, color temperature. Then learn the lighting style(front light, side light, back light, three-point) to get a grasp of how direction of light supports the composition. When you’re ready to jump in try this Hi-End Product Shoot – Made Easy video.

Commercial Automotive Photography of Chevrolet Volt


Depending on the size of your business you may have to support multiple touch points with your commercial photography. At the top are brand awareness initiatives. In broadcast and print there is still a place for top talent from agencies. In the middle and with online marketing experienced talent that understands how to look natural on camera will be a win for your campaign. The trick in advertising photography is to get consumers to see themselves in your brands product or service. Show don’t sell. If the talent is super polished and removed from a relate-able reality people click and move on.


Color theory is a deep well. Don’t go too deep and create confusion by over thinking. Commercial advertising photography has split seconds to initiate attention. Realize that one of the benefits of the democratizing nature of the internet is the global publishing platform unites a shared visual literacy. A shared visual language that is evolving rapidly. Stick to the known language of color and connect it to your brands message. Psychological and emotional associations go for virtually every color in the spectrum (scroll to mid page).

Architecture Photography of Modern Loft


Use modern technology to make people see it again for the first time. High speed, slow motion, smoke sensations are a few examples of modern commercial photography techniques. Digital imaging technology is growing exponentially. Freezing high speed action or slowing it down are two of the most population commercial advertising photography techniques being used right now to get attention.

Commercial photography techniques - high speed photography

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