In the realm of marketing, the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t be truer. In today’s digitally-driven world, commercial photography stands as a potent tool for brands to convey messages, evoke emotions, and drive engagement.

Harnessing the potential of commercial photography can significantly elevate your brand’s presence and impact. Let’s delve into everything you need to know about commercial photography, offering practical insights and illustrative examples.

We’ll cover the following points:

Understanding the Essence of Commercial Photography

Commercial photography serves a specific purpose: to sell, promote, or enhance a product, service, or brand. It goes beyond mere aesthetics; it encapsulates the essence of a brand’s identity, evokes emotions, and communicates a narrative.

Certainly, it involves any imagery used for commercial use or purposes such as advertisements, brochures, websites, etc. Whether it’s product shots, lifestyle imagery, or corporate headshots, each photograph should align with your brand’s voice and resonate with your target audience.

Know Your Brand Story and Audience

Before diving into a photoshoot, it’s crucial to understand your brand’s story and the audience you’re targeting. What emotions do you want to evoke? What message do you aim to convey?

For instance, a luxury brand might opt for sleek, sophisticated imagery, while an eco-friendly brand might focus on natural, earthy tones and sustainability-focused shots. Understanding these nuances guides the direction of your visual content.

Collaborate with Professional Photographers

While smartphones can capture decent images, the expertise of a professional photographer is invaluable. Their understanding of lighting, composition, and storytelling can bring your brand’s vision to life.

Search for the right photographer and collaborate closely with them, sharing your brand guidelines, mood boards, and specific objectives. Together, you can ensure the images captured align seamlessly with your brand’s identity.

Through services like Cherrydeck Branded Stock™, you can source custom commercial photography for your brand, at scale. The best part is you can shoot with multiple photographers simultaneously, wherever you need. Want your products shot in Paris or in the Alps? You got it.

All you have to do is submit your brief and brand guidelines and send out your products to hand-picked photographers from the worldwide Cherrydeck community.

If you don’t have an in-house photographer, keep these tips in mind when looking to outsource commercial photography for your brand:

1. Define Clear Objectives:

Before initiating any photography project, clearly define your objectives. Understand what message or emotion you want to convey through your visuals. Are you aiming to highlight a new product, tell a brand story, or evoke a specific emotion in your audience?

2. Develop Detailed Creative Briefs:

Craft detailed creative briefs when working with photographers or agencies. Include information about your brand, target audience, specific deliverables, preferred style, and the intended use of the images across various marketing channels. A comprehensive brief ensures everyone involved is on the same page regarding expectations and outcomes.

3. Research and Curate Visual References:

Conduct thorough research to gather visual references that align with your brand’s identity and objectives. Look for examples of commercial photography that resonate with your target audience or capture the aesthetic you wish to achieve. These references will provide a clear direction for the photographers or creatives involved in the project.

Make sure to check out what your competitors are doing as well!
4. Maximize Brand Consistency:

Develop a style guide or mood board that encapsulates your brand’s visual identity. Include elements such as preferred color schemes, image treatments, composition styles, and typography. This guide will serve as a reference point to maintain consistency across all commercial photography used in marketing materials.

Check out this insightful article on how to develop your brand’s photography style.

5. Optimize for Online Platforms:

Request content in a variety of ratios (i.e. 4:3, 9:16), resolutions, and content formats. For instance. TIFF files are great for resolution but they are also very heavy. You should keep in mind the nuances of different online platforms and their visual requirements. This optimization ensures that your visuals appear compelling and impactful across various digital channels.

Focus on Authenticity and Storytelling

Authenticity resonates deeply with today’s consumers. Authentic imagery creates an emotional connection, fostering trust and loyalty. Consider showcasing real people using your products or experiencing your services rather than relying solely on polished, staged images. Embrace storytelling through your visuals, narrating the journey or lifestyle associated with your brand.

Take Patagonia’s commercial photography, they don’t merely display their outdoor gear – instead, they portray individuals exploring nature, embracing adventure, and connecting with the environment. This approach aligns with their brand ethos of environmental conservation and outdoor exploration, resonating strongly with their audience.

Consistency Is Key

Maintaining a consistent visual language across all marketing channels is vital for brand recognition. Establish a style guide for your commercial photography, defining elements like color palette, composition, and image treatment (retouching/editing).

Consistency reinforces your brand’s identity and helps consumers easily recognize your content amidst the sea of visuals flooding various platforms.

See below how these brands stick to their colors signature colors and photography style!

Rhode, Kylieskin, Chamberlain Coffee and Drew House on

Adaptability for Different Platforms

Different platforms require different visual strategies. What works on Instagram might not resonate the same way on a billboard or in a magazine ad. Tailor your imagery to suit each platform’s specifications and audience behaviors. Consider factors like aspect ratios, image resolutions, and the overall viewing experience to maximize impact across diverse channels.

A master of the art of adaptive commercial photography is Coca-Cola. Their visuals vary from vibrant, lifestyle-focused images on social media to minimalist, universally appealing billboards, maintaining consistency while adapting to diverse platforms.

Images from (top left), Publicis Italy (bottom left), (right)

Utilize User-Generated Content (UGC)

Embrace the power of UGC. Encourage your audience to share their experiences with your brand through images. Incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy not only provides authentic content but also strengthens the sense of community around your brand.

Starbucks effectively leverages UGC by featuring customer photos on their social media channels. This not only showcases their products but also creates a sense of inclusivity and connection among their customers.

Source UGC easily and stress-free with Cherrydeck.

Measure and Iterate

Analyze the performance of your commercial photography efforts. Metrics like engagement rates, click-throughs, and conversions can provide insights into what resonates best with your audience. Use these insights to refine your future visual content strategy, iterating and optimizing for better results.

Utilize analytics tools to measure the performance of your commercial photography efforts. Track metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and click-through rates associated with different visuals. Analyze the data to understand what resonates best with your audience, and iterate your visual content strategy accordingly.

Let’s sum it up

In conclusion, commercial photography isn’t just about capturing images; it’s about crafting compelling visual narratives that resonate with your audience and drive business objectives.

By understanding your brand, collaborating with professionals, focusing on authenticity, ensuring consistency, adapting to various platforms, utilizing UGC, and measuring performance, you can harness the full potential of commercial photography to elevate your brand’s presence and impact.

Remember, commercial photography is an opportunity to tell your brand’s story in a visually captivating way. Embrace it, experiment, and let your visuals speak volumes to your audience.

PS: You can source hundreds of ready-to-use commercial photographs for your brand, or find commercial photographers in your area with Cherrydeck.

Continue reading more about commercial photography on the Cherrydeck Blog!

Posted by:Cherrydeck Editorial

Our mission is to enable brands to source custom visual content at scale through our global creative community. Follow us on Instagram for the latest updates @cherrydeck

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