What Is Advertising Photography? (With Definition, Benefits and Types) | Indeed.com

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By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 2, 2022

When a company wants to display a product or service in an impactful way, they use advertising photography to achieve this goal. This type of photography relies on creating images that are visually stimulating to the audience, hoping to influence them to make a purchase. Learning about this concept can help you determine if it’s a field or skill that you want to explore further.

In this article, we discuss what advertising photography is and what its benefits are, including a list of the various photography types and information about how it differs from commercial photography.

Related: 10 Jobs in Photography That Pay High Salaries

What is advertising photography?

Advertising photography is a type of photography that focuses on taking pictures for high-impact advertisements, like what you would see in a magazine. These images are usually high-quality, methodically controlled and feature elements meant to engage with an audience.

For example, a clothing brand is likely to use this type of photography to market its fall clothing line, featuring images that are stylized specifically to appeal to viewers and present the brand’s message.

With this style of photography, the purpose is still to sell a product or service. However, the focus is less on the product and it’s more about the narrative that the item represents. The extravagant image works to make the item more appealing than it actually is, usually by placing it within a lavish context.

For example, a luxury wine company is trying to sell its newest wine. In the advertising image, a woman in a bright red dress stands at the top of a mountain holding a small glass of wine. The photograph is bold and purposefully exaggerated.

Related: How To Become a Professional Photographer

Benefits of advertising photography

There are several benefits that advertising photography provides, such as:

  • Illustrates the brand: With consistency, advertising photographs can help to cultivate a memorable voice and tone of a company’s brand. People become more familiar with the organization’s photography style and it can help to develop brand outreach and awareness initiatives.

  • Provides social media accessibility: As advertising photographs further reach digital platforms, these images have the potential to reach millions of people all across the world. This can not only help to boost sales, but an image that goes viral can provide a significant amount of attention to the company and photographer.

  • Presents a message: Advertising photography can present a specific message to the audience based on the context of the image and what it represents. To further emphasize the purpose, a few lines of text can help to ensure that customers understand what the image means.

  • Persuades consumers to buy: A successful advertising photograph can inspire people to buy a product because the image makes it look more enticing. When a product can effectively sell an appealing lifestyle or benefit, then consumers are more likely to make a purchase so they can experience what the image is presenting.

  • Can be inexpensive: While the initial cost of buying the proper equipment and software can be costly, taking the photographs themselves is a fairly inexpensive process. It’s much less expensive than video advertisements and can circulate to an audience much faster than a video advertisement, which requires more time and money to release.

Related: Photography Skills: Definition, Tips and Examples

Types of advertising photography

There are several types of advertising photography for you to consider, such as:


The focus of lifestyle photography is to depict an image of reality that many consumers wish they could embody themselves. For example, a company that sells eclectic clothing and household goods might depict the picture of a woman wearing the brand’s clothes while performing an action in a fantastical and eclectic home filled with the brand’s household goods. This false lifestyle presented in the image can entice consumers to buy the brand’s items.


Fashion photography presents images that have people wearing the clothes of the brand and often engaging in some kind of interesting activity, like clubbing or playing in the snow. Many of these photographs focus on creating an emotional impact with the audience through the brand’s fashion selection. People who respond positively to the clothes are more likely to purchase them.


Beauty photography depicts images that convince to buy a specific beauty product and that by making the purchase, they can become more attractive. These images often use beautiful models and present them in glamorous positions that highlight their appealing facial features. This type of photograph might also have the model holding the beauty product in an enticing way, even though they aren’t using it in the image.


Food industries frequently rely on advertising photography to present images of food that look tempting. The images of food at eateries and fast-food restaurants create an unrealistic illustration of what the food actually looks like. However, by making it look appealing, customers may find themselves compelled to try the food. The perfectly styled burger in a fast food advertisement photo almost never looks like the actual product that reaches the customer, which is usually less refined.


Architectural photography focuses on capturing homes from their best angles. Some of these photographs use different lenses to make a room appear larger than it is, or they might take pictures of a home during a specific season to create a specific aesthetic. For example, a snow-covered home during winter or a home surrounded by beautiful flowers in spring. Companies usually hire interior designers to expertly model the rooms in these photographs, helping to create an appealing aesthetic that viewers might wish to have for themselves. It helps people envision themselves in the home.

Related: How To Get Commercial Photography Jobs (Plus Salaries)

Difference between commercial vs. advertising photography

In comparison to advertising photography, commercial photography is usually more subdued and realistic. It relies less on creating a story and focuses more on the product itself. This type of photography is similar to a stock photo that you see online when searching for a specific item.

The purpose of this type of photography is to capture an image of the product in its most appealing form, often by placing it within a natural setting and context that makes logical sense. This can entice consumers because it presents an image of exactly how they can benefit from the product.

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