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Lifestyle vs Product Photography: Career Comparison and Statistics

Today is going to be fun.

Today I will be discussing how lifestyle photography and product photography compete against each other. I would be doing this by referring to all of that knowledge and information which I have gathered from my experience working as a project manager in a photo editing company.

How do I define them and where they are used

Lifestyle photography is one of its kind that mainly captures pictures of people in real-life situations or events. They tend to capture pictures of people while they are doing their day to day activities or their work and actions on any special occasion.

Lifestyle photography has primarily got its application in magazines and newspapers where they feature the lifestyles and day to day activities of famous people such as celebrities.

On the other hand, product photography is considered to be a branch of commercial photography where the primary and the sole focus of the photographer remain to showcase the products.

The main applications of product photography are usually in product catalogs, brochures, and online eCommerce stores. Here attractive and eye-catching images of the products are used to advertise the products.

Product photography has also got similarities to some other photography types. Examples include tabletop, still life, catalog, and sell sheet photography. Best of all, they are all designed to portray the products in such a way that is sorted and laid off for the customers to find them appealing.

However, both may be advertised as well.

Must Have Qualities

There are several must-have qualities that need to be present in a photographer. From my experience in working as a project manager in a photo editing company, I have found out that there are some qualities that are needed by a photographer individually by their work categories. 

On the other hand, there are also some qualities that are needed to be present in photographers of all sorts. 

Not convinced yet and still need more clarification? Then worry no more. I will be listing the qualities which are needed by photographers as per their niche.

Ability to anticipate what is about to happen

It is usually advised that you should not wait when you assume something is about to happen. You should not wait for the moment to come or the action to happen. This is because, some very special moments last only a few seconds and if you are not prompt enough, there is a high possibility that you might miss the shot.

Examples of such special moments include somebody receiving their graduation medal, or a child playing in an awesome pose.

Ability to take a photo without the light

One thing to keep in mind when capturing lifestyle photography is that you must always capture everything that unfolds naturally. There may be times when your subject of attention may not be in the best lighting conditions may be because you are enveloped by the orange light of dusk, but you have to make it work out that way. 

You can do so by changing the direction of your photo shoot or by quickly grabbing a reflector.

Capturing the before and after of any anticipated moment

It is always wise to capture the seconds before and the seconds after an anticipated moment. The reason behind that is that you later get the option to compare which image turned out better and you can select from those.

There might also be some hidden picturesque treasure that you might have missed. Hence, it is always good to have the chance to compare it later.

Qualities Needed by a Product Photographer

Power of imagination

By working as a project manager in a photo editing company, I have found it out that people who do product photography need to have a good deal of imaginative power. This is because they need to think and imagine that in which way if they take the photograph, it will showcase the best and what is the best way possible.


There has to be patience in every photographer, that whenever they are taking any photograph, they need to take it repeatedly until the perfect shot from the perfect angle is achieved.

There should be a proper balance of light and shade, color combination, and a good mesmerizing view.

An eye for every detail

There needs to be a keen eye for detail in every photographer so that he can ensure that all the elements within the photo have been captured perfectly. All the details include good lighting, proper focus on the subject, and proper color combination. The summary is the product needs to convey the message the seller wants to convey.

Necessary Products and Accessories

Products and accessories such as a camera, a good pair of lenses, good quality memory cards, and a good tripod are quite common and necessary to all sorts of photography. Yes, there may be some exceptions where you will find that some specific accessories are not of that much importance in a particular type. 

Still not clear? Let me help you get rid of your confusion with an example.

For example in product photography, a tripod is quite important. On the other hand, for a lifestyle photographer, he needs to hold the camera by his hand and then click the photograph on the place where the action is happening rather than standing idle in a position with his camera and tripod.

Is There any Studio Needed for These

Here comes one of the most important questions. Is a studio of any sort, a must for any of these sorts of photography? Can they be done home?

It is better if you have a studio for product photography but you can also do them at home. Contrary to this, for lifestyle photography, it is not a must. It has to be done in the place where the function is happening.


The earnings may vary from region to region but there can always be a comparison. Since I have worked closely with the photographers, I can thus reach a conclusion on how much each sector earns on an average.

The average salary of a lifestyle photographer can vary and rise up to $41,145 a year. On the other hand, a product photographer earns $30,367 a year. This can be raised to $40,000 a year at max.

Necessity of Creativity

In both cases, creativity is required but is not of utmost importance. There may be times where one sector might demand more creativity than the other. 

For example, there might be times, when you are capturing the image of a product and may not get the perfect, appealing, and eye-catchy look during the very first.

There you might need to take a good number of shots until you get the perfect snap portraying the product. 

However, this is not a must in lifestyle photography. Here you need to anticipate and wait for the perfect moment.

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