What is the difference between Commercial and Advertising Photography?

As a business owner, brand manager or marketing manager, you know very well that the right visuals can make or break your marketing efforts.

Whether you’re promoting your products or trying to establish your brand identity, photography is a crucial component of your marketing strategy. There are various types of photography that can help to promote your goods in different places, and it can be difficult to know which one is right for you, and which one will help you to get the most out of your increasingly restricted budgets.

Some types of terminology in marketing photography that can get interchanged and occasionally mixed up are commercial photography and advertising photography, so we have written a useful article to help you to understand the differences between the two.

The Definitions

Before we dive into the differences between commercial and advertising photography, let’s define what each of these terms means. They both have very similar uses, in that they are both used for promotional purposes, and are intended to help sell your products. However, where they differ in the biggest way is what they are intended to achieve.

Commercial photography is a type of photography that is used to put a focus on a product. This may be standard product photography which shows a specific item in a studio or location setting. The resulting photographs may be used as part of product description pages on a website, in a brochure, or shared on social media.

Or, it may be captured in lifestyle photography, which shows people using or interacting with a product in a natural setting, such as a kitchen or gym. This type of photography is great for helping the viewer to visualise themselves using the product and may be used on social media, in catalogues, or on the website.

Advertising photography, on the other hand, is a type of photography that is specifically created for advertising purposes. This could include print ads, billboards, or online ads. Advertising photography is designed to be eye-catching and attention-grabbing and is often more stylised and dramatic than commercial photography.

Commercial Photography Vs Advertising Photography

While commercial and advertising photography are similar in many ways, there are some key differences between the two. The main difference is their purpose; commercial photography is used to show the essence of the product, showing it up close and personal in the best possible light so that there are no secrets between the seller and the buyer. It puts total focus on the product, what it is and what it is good for.

Advertising photography is created specifically to sell that product by encouraging an emotional response from the viewer, that in turn drives them to want to purchase, own and use the product.

Another difference is the stylistic composition of the photography. Commercial photography is often more natural and understated, while advertising photography is often more stylised and dramatic.

This is because advertising photography needs to stand out and grab the viewer’s attention, while commercial photography is meant to showcase the product or service in a more natural setting.

The target audience for each type of photography is different too; commercial photography is often used to reach a broad audience at various stages of their customer journey (Awareness, Consideration, and Decision), while advertising photography is designed to appeal to a specific demographic or target market, and therefore the photography is captured with that demographic or market in mind.

For example, if you have a brand-new range of health foods and want a series of well-lit professional shots for use in the Shop pages of your e-commerce site, then you would be in the market for a commercial product photography expert. However, if you wanted a series of ultra-stylish, on-brand visuals that appeal to female fitness fanatics in their 30s, with a need to ensure there was enough negative space for a strapline and logo, then you would be looking for advertising photography.

Luckily, here at Picture Perfect Photography, we are seasoned professionals in all of this and more.

The Benefits of Commercial Photography

One of the main benefits of commercial photography is that it can help establish your brand identity. By using consistent, high-quality images across all of your marketing materials, you can create a strong visual brand identity that resonates with your target audience.

Commercial photography can also help increase sales and conversions. High-quality product photography, for example, can help showcase your products in a way that makes them more appealing to potential customers. In fact, studies have shown that high-quality product photography can increase sales by up to 30%.

Finally, commercial photography can help build trust with your customers. By using high-quality images that showcase your products or services in the best possible light, you can help establish yourself as a trustworthy and reliable business that places a great deal of importance on the professionalism of their digital assets.

The Benefits of Advertising Photography

While commercial photography is important for establishing your brand identity, advertising photography is crucial for reaching your target audience and converting more visitors into buyers. Eye-catching, attention-grabbing images can help your ads get noticed and drive more clicks, conversions, leads, phone calls, or whatever business objective you set with your ad campaigns.

By creating images that appeal to a specific audience, you can increase the effectiveness of your advertising efforts and drive more conversions. By creating visually stunning ads that showcase your products or services in a unique and compelling way, you can help establish yourself as a leader in your field.

The Importance of Hiring a Professional Photographer for Your Brand

Whether you choose commercial or advertising photography, it’s important to work with a professional photographer who understands your brand and your target audience. A professional photographer will be able to create high-quality images that showcase your products or services in the best possible light.

A professional photographer will have the necessary equipment and technical expertise to create images that are visually appealing and effective. This is especially important for advertising photography, which needs to be eye-catching and attention-grabbing.

It might be tempting to set up your own in-house photography department, but do bear in mind the cost implications. In the current climate, many brands are tightening their belts, and invariably the marketing budget is the first to be hit. Great commercial and advertising photography isn’t a case of simply finding an empty space and cracking out the iPhone 14.

Of course, smartphones are growing more and more advanced with each release, and we aren’t going to suggest they can’t do an effective job. However, the true cost of creating a photography studio will run into tens of thousands of pounds, which could be much better spent working with a professional who has spent many years honing their craft, buying the most up to date equipment, and who has the studio space already at their disposal.

If you’re ready to take your marketing efforts to the next level, you should really be looking at incorporating commercial or advertising photography into your strategy. With the right visuals and a strong brand identity, you will absolutely stand out in a crowded marketplace. Regardless of which type of photography you choose, it’s important to work with a professional photographer who understands your brand and your target audience.

With over twenty years of commercial and advertising photography experience, Picture Perfect Photography has worked with countless professional brands to help them sell their products via high end, creative photography. Whether health and fitness, manufacturing and industrial, or food and drink, we have a proven track record at presenting products in their best possible light.

We have garnered many rave reviews for our attention to detail and ability to follow a brief to the letter, although we are equally comfortable working alongside our clients to provide creative suggestions for getting the nest out of the photography sessions.

We have a fantastic studio here in Haigh, in the heart of South Yorkshire, and would welcome any brand managers to visit us, view the facilities we have at our disposal, and to discuss your business objectives. Alternatively, why not just get in touch via the form below and book in a discovery call with the team.

Free Discovery Call

Schedule a 15 minute call to chat about your fitness photography requirements.


01226 872 517


Do you have a photography studio?

Yes. Our professional studio is in Barnsley, Yorkshire. With a variety of quality backdrops and staging equipment combined with expert lighting, we are all set to capture your brand’s story.

Can you travel to us?

Yes. We also love to work on location and come to your offices.

What areas do you cover?

We mostly work locally in Yorkshire, but we also cover the rest of the UK and internationally.

Can you arrange models for our photoshoot?

Yes. We are happy to source models.

Can you remove background on a photo?

Yes. We are experienced in ‘clipping’ images and removing backgrounds for a clean finish.

Can you provide video?

No. But, we work with a handful of excellent local videographers. We are happy to recommend any of them to you.

Can you provide graphic design?

No. But we work with some talented local graphic designers. We are happy to recommend any of them to you.

Can you source a makeup artist?

Yes. We are more than happy to recommend trusted makeup artists and also assist with the booking.


You choose the location for your fitness photo shoot, and Collette is happy to assist you with your choice.

Our Private Studio Gym

Many of our fitness clients prefer to come to Picture Perfect Photography’s small, private gym and studio in Yorkshire. This private area, reserved exclusively for fitness photography, contains all the gym and studio equipment required for a professional photo shoot. This location allows you to showcase your physique away from the spectators you may find in public gyms.
Professional backdrops are readily available too for a more commercial fitness studio look.

Public Gyms & Other Locations

If you prefer a larger space with a bit more variety, we have use of many local South Yorkshire gyms and locations. We can also travel to other locations including Manchester, Leeds, London & Surrey.

Our Creative Studio Suite

In our private studio space near Yorkshire Sculpture Park, we put the finishing touches to your photographs. We have professional backdrops for a more commercial fitness studio look and can also create composite images. Our retouchers will work on your fitness photographs to create images that are unique and personalised to you. For this, you can choose any backdrop you want. Enquire about your perfect fitness shoot location here.


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