Think about the last time you looked at an advertisement photo. Chances are, it was today, considering just how many advertisements are available in magazines, online, on social media, and in the form of billboards
If you think about the advertisement, what’s the first thing that stood out to you? Sure, the text might be bold and appealing, but the first thing you probably notice is the image itself.
This image is what advertising photography comes into play.
The images you usually see behind the advertisement text are what determines whether or not people will take a moment to see what the ad is actually about.
Humans are visual creatures, after all, so having the best images in advertisements is one of the best and surefire ways to increase the likeliness of gaining a customer, or a conversion (such as a sign up for an event or a visit to the store)
An advertising photographer’s job is to bring life and substance to the advertisements through the implementation of great images.
Not only should these images be great, but they should tell a story, spark emotion, and be of high quality.
As you can see, advertising photography is essential if advertisements are going to serve their purpose effectively.
As an advertising photographer, there are several elements of photography that you need to keep in mind as you complete photoshoots.
Although you have to capture photos that display the product or service, to begin with, there are many other factors, such as using great equipment, to keep in mind that you can turn an otherwise bland photo into an advertisement masterpiece.
To help you gain a better understanding of this, let’s take a look at five key factors to consider when shooting for advertising. If you want your advertising photography to be top quality and highly sought after, keep on reading.
1. Invest in Optimal Equipment
Every artist has their medium that they must work with to create their works of art. As an advertising photographer, your primary medium is always going to be your camera.
There are many different types of cameras available on the market. These include mirrorless cameras, micro four thirds cameras, DSLR cameras, drones, action cameras (such as the GoPro), phone cameras, and more.
When it comes to advertising photography, however, one of the best cameras you can go with is the micro four thirds.
As an advertising photographer, you need a camera that can work in most, if not all, situations, especially considering that you’ll likely be working with many different brands from many various industries.
Let’s take a look at why the micro four thirds is an optimal choice:
It boasts a more straightforward mechanical construction, which results in sharper images and higher resolution.
- Portable and lightweight: A massive part of advertising photography can capture those stills of unplanned moments that bring life to the shoot. The great thing about a micro four thirds is that it highly compact, lightweight, and portable, which allows you to take it along with you wherever you go so you can capture those golden moments with ease. A bulky camera can be harder to travel with and pull out for a photo in a moment’s notice.
- Sharper and clearer images: Since light travels through the lens and onto the sensor in a direct path, micro four thirds cameras can capture sharper and clearer images. This advantage is excellent if you need to capture all the details in a photo’s foreground and background.
- High Quality: Although the sensor is smaller than a
full frame, the technology behind the micro four thirds allows for photography that is just as good as, if not better than, full-frame and other sensors.
Aside from the camera itself, you’ll want to invest in some supplemental equipment, as well. For stable shots and long exposure photos, you’ll need a tripod.
For outdoor photography, some polarization filters may result in better photos. And, of course, you’ll want to invest in a quality camera bag and protection for your equipment.
2. Understand Your Client’s Needs
Before you begin taking any photos or setting up scenes, you must first communicate with your client to understand their needs fully.
One of the worst things that can happen is for you to shoot without learning what the client wants and needs, only to find out that they don’t like the work you’ve done.
While you may indeed have your own distinctive “flavor” of advertising photography that’s worked for many other clients, the truth is that every client is different and has different needs.
Even if they do decide that they want you to take full ownership of the project, they’ll feel much more confident working with you since you keep an open line of communication.
Remember, as an advertising photographer; you are a business. In any business or industry, those who put their customers’ wants and needs first, achieve the most excellent levels of success.
3. Understand the Target Audience
Have you ever scrolled through social media, and it seems like almost all the ads are convincing and relate to you personally?
While a good bit of why you see those ads is a great marketing strategy, the reason why these advertisements are so intriguing in the first place is that the photographer for the ad understood the target audience.
Regardless of where you ultimately place the ad, it’s essential to understand the purpose of the ad. And who it is “serving.”
If you’re shooting an advertisement targeted toward the youth, for example, you wouldn’t want to shoot photography of family living and gardening.
Having a setting that directly correlates with the audience’s interests will help the ads to convert better, leading to higher demand for your services.
4. Be Mindful of Composition
One of the most important aspects of photography, if not the most important, is having an excellent eye for composition.
In short, composition describes how the elements that you display in your photos – such as the brand’s product, the background, and other supplemental elements – are arranged.
Having a well thought out composition can be the difference between a mediocre advertisement photo and a highly-successful one.
For example, if you want to capture the details of a product, you’d probably be better off shooting with a wider aperture and focusing on the product so that the background is blurred out (also known as that beautiful bokeh effect everyone loves).
If your goal is to capture every detail in a scene, such as a woman cooking in the kitchen, you’d be better off arranging the elements in the photo so that everything is in focus.
There are also general rules in photography, such as the rule of thirds, that serve as a guide to taking better photos. These rules are simply guides, however, so feel free to create your style.
5. Learn How to Edit Photographs
Taking great photos is important for sure, but post-production editing is where the magic happens. Unless requested, As a general rule, you should never send images to the client without first retouching them on your own.
You’ll want to get familiar with software tools such as Photoshop and Lightroom so that you can spend time cleaning and enhancing the photos after production.
Even the simplest of retouches like sharpening, increasing the exposure of adding contrast can turn your images from good to amazing.