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How to Become an Advertising Photographer + 7 Tips

Nowadays, a lot of the photographers are tending to move towards advertising or commercial photography. This is because by this they get the opportunity to work with big and renowned companies which in most cases, gives them better job security and also good pay.

Alongside this, you also get the opportunity to work with great and well-known people, and also you get to work in exotic locations. All of these may sound quite interesting. However, being a professional commercial photographer has also got some criteria just as becoming a great studio manager.

It is not only that beginners would want to become an advertising photographer. It may be with expert photographers as well. At present, they might be working on some other sector, for example, any wedding or food photographer might now want to become an advertising photographer as their area of interest has shifted.

Educational Qualification

There is no such hard and fast rule for any certain college degree being necessary for this occupation. But it is quite a common trend that people opt-in for earning a general bachelor’s degree. It is a common practice.

At times, an educational background in the field of photography or fine arts is preferred.

Rather, if they have a handsome experience over technical and photography skills, this serves as a plus point. Then they do not need to spend a lot of time behind learning all of their necessary skills.

If they have an amazing portfolio of work, then that is a great plus on their work. A strong and attractive portfolio works a great deal in helping someone identify which photographer has got the skill and which one does not. It does not inhibit anything. Rather it serves as a helping hand. 

Now, there may be a question that how would a photographer store the images, and is there any particular camera which he might use to get his job done. For cameras, there is not any hard and fast rule that one needs a particular camera or else he cannot capture amazing pictures to be used on an industrial scale. But there is one thing to focus on.

Nowadays, photographers use digital cameras instead of traditional film-based cameras that were used in the past. There is a reason behind that. The main reason is that digital cameras enable its users to store and edit images on a computer after the image has been captured. Here the images are captured electronically in a digital process. 

On the other hand, for old school film-based cameras, there was no option to take pictures digitally or edit them afterward if there were any mistakes or unwanted marks in the image or just to enhance the look of it by editing.

Digital cameras have given us this facility.

Storing and Editing the Images and Making a Portfolio

You can sort your images and store them in a portfolio. For sorting you I prefer sorting them in category wise. For example, you can use categories such as food, luxury, and necessities. 

For storing them, you can use your own personal website. This will help you to share your images to the audiences very fast rather than storing them on physical devices such as pen drives which makes the process slower. Just give them the link to your site and then they can browse and find what they need. 

But don’t worry if you have not got a site of your own. A lot of photographers don’t have it. I would then suggest you use third party websites such as Behance and Flicker.

For the purpose of image editing, you can use Adobe Lightroom for some basic editing such as color correction, image straightening, etc. At times there might be the necessity of a little bit of touchup too. There you can do some retouching as per the demand of the image.

The main goal is to prepare and share your best capture with your potential clients which can help you to win a project.

Training and Career Requirements

Even though there are not any specific educational requirements for being a professional advertising photographer, but undergoing some of the relevant training programs would be highly advisable. 

A person becomes a great photographer by taking a lot of photos from different angles and also through years of practice. This practice paves their way to success. For such artists developing their portfolio is of the utmost importance. If their portfolio is a catchy one then it increases the retention rates of the clients on it.

A proper portfolio is something at which clients or directors take a look before deciding which photographer to give the contract to.

It is always wise that in occupations like photography, you start working as the assistant of a professional and seasoned photographer and undergo training. This will not only help you develop your skills further, but you will also get to know and use a lot of the resources, which to you as a beginner would have been quite tough to find or manage. 

Best of all, through this, you also gain some exposure to prospective clients.

Some important qualities that need to be present

  • Every picture captured by the photographer plays quite an important role to grab the attention of the client. Hence, they must always have the artistic quality to have that appealing feeling. A good photograph is one that has a combination of the proper colors, appropriate tone of light and shadow, and a good understanding of near and far objects.
  • Sometimes achieving some proper computer skills is also quite important. This is because all the captured images might not have the proper blend of shadow and light exposure or might have other issues. At times there may be some unwanted objects that need to be removed. Hence, some computer and image editing skills are necessary.
  • Since the subject of discussion is advertising photography, then a photographer with the proper marketing strategies and a great ability to reach out to clients can make the game much easier.
  • When portraying an object for advertisement, it must have the proper attention to detail. Hence, when doing such photography, proper attention to detail is a huge plus.

Some easy tips and guidelines

Tip-1 Make your work stand out from the rest

Apart from making your work into an amazing portfolio, you must also do the extra work that makes your work stand out from the rest. This will add some extra value to your work and also will pave your way to success. 

Along with all of those, this also increases your chances to get selected for any certain position where you are competing with a lot of other people. Hence, you have to walk the extra mile to give yourself the extra benefit.

Tip-2 Do a lot of experiments

An image can be attractive and eye-catchy in a number of ways. And similar to it, there are a number of ways in which a photo can be captured. Some with great light exposure, while some with a good blend of colors.

You have to capture a lot of different photos in a variety of styles and achieve an understanding that which particular types of photos are liked the best by the audience. Then you can work accordingly and raise yourself higher from the rest.

Tip- 3 Study enough and study properly

It is always wise to study those particular people who are already shining in the field you want to enter. No matter whether you are a beginner and have targeted a particular industry or you are a pro who wants to make a shift. 

You should always study successful people well and must understand how they became successful. Alongside this, you also have to go through all the hardships the successful people have gone through to take yourself to that position. In short, if you want to shine like the sun, first you have to burn like the sun. 

In addition to that, it is also necessary that you understand the current advertising trends which are popular, and also study the marketing styles. Sometimes, you may find that products such as shoes can be marketed well using social media marketing and at times the scenario may be different. Hence, you should study them well.

Tip-4 Learn about networking

As stated above, you must need to make a positive exposure to the clients and grab their attention. If you cannot do so, then it will be quite difficult for you to be successful. Additionally, you need to make some extra-ordinary artistic work that will sieve you from the rest. 

If you can reach a lot of people who can be your potential clients by extending your network, then the rest of the work would be a piece of cake.

There are several ways of marketing. They can be divided into two basic subdivisions. One is online while the other is offline. In the two upcoming paragraphs, I will describe the two different processes in detail.

For online marketing, in particular, I have found social media marketing quite useful. Here, my suggestion would be to use Facebook groups which can help you find the relevant traffic. You can search by the name of “Popular Advertising Photography” or “Commercial Photography”. There is also the option for LinkedIn groups as well. There are several groups for photographers on LinkedIn as well. You can join there and make your advertisement for advertisement photography and get some buyers rolling in.

For offline marketing, the scenario is quite different. Here, you need to join and attend the different hackathons, trade bodies, and professional associations where you will find plenty of audiences who require the aid of photographers as such.

Tip-5 Understand and get yourself the right equipment

You might have got the experience of capturing a great photo and editing it on a phone and publishing it on social media. This might help you get great fame for your post but that may not work out in the field of professional advertising photography. That will, for sure, make your clients think twice before hiring you.

From my experience what I have got is that for professional-grade photography, you need professional equipment. This includes a professional camera, the proper lenses, a couple of spare batteries, and good quality of tripods.

It is also wise that you invest in a good secondary camera. This is because, I have personally experienced times when during a shoot, my main camera stopped working and started giving errors. If I did not have the spare secondary camera, all I could do is pack up my stuff and get back home. 

And last but not the least, it is wise to invest in getting good quality photo editing software. It will be best if you can get the online version. This is because, at times, if you don’t even carry your laptop, then as well you can manage a pc and log in to your account and start working instead of sitting down idle.

Tip-6 Advertise to your right target audiences

All the products that are available around the globe today have specific markets. Hence, you should always advertise and showcase your portfolio to the right people. 

You might be an outstanding photographer, but if you do not have the proper target audience, then your revenue might decrease and you might consider yourself to be lost out. Hence, to achieve the best results, you must always study your target audience before you start advertising.


Tip-7 Expand your marketing knowledge

It is quite important that one can market efficiently by reaching out to clients in order to sell his products properly. There are several digital and social media marketing techniques available today. For example, Facebook Marketing and Instagram Marketing. If you can become an expert on them, then you can use them to boost up your sales and bring in revenue.

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