History of Commercial Photography – A Definitive Guide

Commercial Photography

Commercial photography is a widely used term that does not always mean large teams creating images for ad campaigns. A commonly commercial photographer is the creation of high-quality photography that can be used for commercial purposes like advertising.

A commercial photoshoot can be widely classified into a bunch of different photography niches. These are- fashion photography, product photography, food product photography, environmental portraits, headshots, and commercial architectural photography.

Commercial photography caters to a range of both big and small needs. Not only does it indicate large, complicated shoots that are done for launching ad campaigns for any international corporation but it also sums up those small jobs of product photography done for an upcoming product or a retailer to display their products on an e-commerce website.

There is quite a difference between just taking pictures and photography. You will need to hire a professional for your photography requirements for commercial purposes. Reach us to get amazon product photography service from our professional photographers.

Everyone is aware of the importance of commercial photography in the advertising world. And it will be very interesting to have a look at the journey of commercial photography. The earlier days of commercial photography and the progression afterward.

1. The Early Days

In 1837, the first successful form of photography was produced, and back then the equipment was not even portable. The photography was produced by the wealthy and savvy hobbyists. This type of product photography is known as the daguerreotype.

Commercial Photography and advertising primarily started in 1850. Earlier capturing photos was viewed as more of an art form and mostly used to capture the important moments. The procedure of developing photos and the equipment were technically very demanding, and cumbersome.

2. The Rise of Fashion Photography

Later the cameras became easy to use and portable. This led to the development of the ambrotype and marked the onset of Eastman Kodak Company which made cameras accessible to the average person and this led to intricately connecting photography with fashion.

In 1911, Edward Steichen made the first serious attempt in fashion photography and this was quickly followed by the buying of Vogue in 1909 by a small company, Conde Nast. Earlier Vogue used to be a small social magazine that was later transformed into a high-class fashion magazine.

Vogue quickly turned into a fashion powerhouse with international aspirations. This marked the beginning of advertising product photography.

In 1920, 15% of the advertisements used photographs and the percentage increased to 80% in 1930. The photographs used were black and white but after 1950 colored photography became dominant.

3. The Digital Era

Photography was completely changed by the use of digital technology in 1985. Digital images were easier to use, manipulate, and stored on the computer. These digitally produced photos can be instantly reviewed as there was no need of waiting to get them developed.

This led to the evolution of image manipulation and extensive usage of the green screen to isolate products digitally and create complex compositing.

This was the time when the use of portable light equipment enabled the artists to shoot the imagery and products outside of their studio. The artists were no anymore confined to their studios.

4. Product Photography

Product photography is more common these days as a lot of techniques make it easier to capture a high-quality image of any given product that also displays its features in great detail.

White background product photography is mostly done to make the product stand out and white background is preferred in the case of the product-only photos. This background makes your product pop up and removes all the distractions.

The product shots are getting more popular these days with the growing usage of digital devices and the rise in e-commerce platforms. Even small retailers are making their online presence and expanding their reach and sales by showcasing their products on their websites.

Elements That are The Constituents Of a Successful Advertising Photography

Some simple basics should be kept in mind while doing advertising photography. Advertising photography is all about making your products stand out and be so appealing to the customers. A good photograph with a good copy written on it is sure to make a lasting impression on the audience.

  • The product should be well lit so a good knowledge of light modifiers is needed. Light makes the product stand out from its surrounding.
  • The pictures should be sharp and clean.
  • Make your product look appealing.
  • Leave space for copy text.
  • A persuasive straight photography style should be used.


E-commerce businesses thrive in commercial product photography. It’s very important to display good, high-quality photographs of the products on your websites.

The product photography rates vary a great deal and depend upon the skills of the professionals. An amateur will charge less in comparison to a professional who might charge you a hefty amount. And a hobbyist might do it all for free, it solely depends on the professional you hire.