Commercial Photographs – An Introduction
These days it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing pictures that have been taken by a commercial photographers – in magazines, on billboards and on the Internet. Being a professional photographer can be lucrative career if you know what you’re doing. Once you’ve worked out where your skill and interests lie, you’ll be able to specialise to give a further boost to your earning potential.
This article takes a look at four of the most popular areas in which professional photographers specialise – travel photography, product photography, fashion photography and advertising.
It sounds like the perfect life, doesn’t it? Jetting off around the world at a moment’s notice to take pictures of azure pools, pristine beaches and luxurious hotels. But in fact, travel photography can be incredibly hard work. The reality of it involves humping all your equipment wherever the client wants you to go and then trying to get a great sunny shot when it’s raining and you’re up against a deadline. However, if you have a good eye for what makes a place special and the technical skills to produce the quality shot your client is after, then this can be a great way to see the world on someone else’s dollar!
This is practically the opposite of travel photography as most of your work will be done inside a studio. Of course, this gives you far greater control of the final outcome but you’ll need excellent technical and lighting skills to achieve the perfect product shot. Product photography will often involve close ups, as well as a fair amount of retouching and post production manipulation. However, if you relish the artistic challenge of creating arresting images and artful still life pictures, this could be the ideal area for you.
Fashion photography calls for the most creative skills partnered with real technical excellence. Its appeal may be the glamour of travelling to exotic locations with beautiful models and fashion-forward stylists but if you don’t love clothes and the way they can be reinterpreted on film, you won’t thrive in fashion photography. You will need to build a portfolio of stunning images to catch the eye of magazine editors and stylists – editorial work is the crème de la crème. But remember, while catalogue work may be less exciting and fulfilling it is still a very effective way of paying the rent.
This is probably one of the most demanding areas of photography. Your job is to take a picture of the product that will sell its benefits. Sometimes this could mean a simple ultra-high quality shot of the product looking beautiful; at other times you may need to show the product in use, or imply the benefits of an intangible service. You will need the skill to take pictures of both people and inanimate objects – the important element is the message the client is trying to get across and it will be your job to understand and interpret their brief. If you relish a more intellectual challenge than simply point-and-click, this could be
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