Commercial Photography on a Local Scale

If you are an emerging commercial photographer, you’re probably wondering how to break into this business. In the commercial photography industry, you need to understand how to be a salesman, not just a good photographer. Marketing your skills against the other competition is so important and is often an underestimated step by those starting up in the business of commercial photography. Standing out as a photographer is very crucial in an industry swamped with photographers, but without good marketing skills, your photography skills will be useless. Especially when starting out, your marketing will determine the amount of well-paying gigs you will get. If you are seeking to refine yourself as a salesperson for your business, here are a few tips I hope are helpful to get you started.

Research and Plan

Before jumping in, do a little research on your local market. Figure out which companies are hiring photographers for advertising, or come up with a list of advertising agencies who will hire you for work. In addition, do some research to figure out who are the leading commercial photographers in the area and what they are charging for their services. Knowing this will help you to avoid overcharging or undercharging. Your ballpark range for compensation should be lower than the leading photographers, but high enough that you aren’t selling yourself short to potential clients. Also, find an association of professional photographers to meet with and become familiar with local businesses in your location. You’ll also pick up a lot of useful photography tips which can help you improve your work.

As you start out creating your business, keep a few things in mind. Identify your target market and the type of commercial photography which best highlights your style of shooting. Refining your select market will help you to focus your efforts instead of spreading yourself thin. Also, set realistic goals for yourself as you progress as a photographer. Budgeting and timetables all play a crucial role in starting a business to ensure productivity. You also need to figure out how to market your work, whether through social networking or other local resources.


Figure out what type of equipment you will be needing. Depending on the type of commercial photography, you will need much more than a camera. Tripods, filters, different lenses, and SD cards are all generic photography items you will probably need. Your other photography needs will differ depending on what you are shooting. If you have a studio and are doing many staged shoots, you will need backdrops, lighting equipment, and occasionally props. If you shoot in several different locations and in different lighting scenarios, you will need portable equipment as well as equipment that you can adjust accordingly to your surroundings and lighting. Editing software and a computer to organize your images are also a necessity.

Find your Niche

Finding your niche is one of the most significant things you can do to stand out as a commercial photographer. Your niche will define your style and the type of commercial photography you will be best at. Figure out first how you want to describe your work (Use words like authentic, light, moody, dramatic, crisp, minimal, etc.). Then think about what words describe how your photos actually look. The goal is to get those two lists to match. It’s okay to change your perspective on how you want your photos to look, but always make sure your photos reflect your niche. It is so important to understand how to effectively use and market your niche, as well as how to develop your own individual style.

Ultimately, you will do well in commercial photography if you work hard and put forth focused effort. I hope these few tips are helpful for you to get started in the industry of commercial photography.