What is the first thing that you notice about an advertisement?  Usually, people’s eyes do not gravitate towards the text, but rather, the photograph.  Images tend to be what draw people’s eyes towards things, whether it is on a book cover, a billboard, or a movie poster.

Advertising photography is a type of advertising that uses photographs and images to promote a certain product or service.  Because of the way our attention works, the use of photography on advertisements can greatly increase a person’s chances to look at an advertisement.  This, in turn, will increase a business or company’s chances of getting people to buy what they are selling.  If you are looking to generate some sales or create a stellar advertisement, let’s take a look at how you can use photography in advertising.

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Advertising Photography in 8 Steps

You will need:

  • A clear advertising message
  • A professional advertising photographer
  • Stock image
  • Props
  • Models
  • A Graphic designer
  • Proofreaders
  • Advertising money and / or a budget


Step 1:  Have a message

A good advertisement, regardless if it is a commercial or in print, will have a clear advertisement or message that you want to get across to your audience.  Try to have your message communicate one thing that you want to sell.  Try to avoid advertising more than one product or service in your message, as this can lead to a unclear, cluttered, or confusing advertisement.


Step 2:  Brainstorm

Now that you have your message, you are going to want to sit down and think of ways that you can communicate this message using a photograph.  Think about possible pictures or photos that you can use to convey your message to an audience or your target consumers.  Use your creative mind, and remember that the photograph can be anything you want it to be.  Maybe you want to use a landscape shot to show a situation, or a small dog sitting next to your product.  Think about the budget and the setting that you could potentially be working with.


Step 3:  Browse Stock Photography

Once you have an image or picture in mind that you wish to use for your advertisement, it can be helpful to browse through stock images online.  Especially if your image is a common one, such as an umbrella, a mountain landscape, or a little girl, then it would be best to buy online stock photography.  Stock photography can range from a few dollars, to up to a hundred dollars.


Step 4:  Seek Professional Help, If Need

If the photograph you want is not available online, and you are not a professional photographer yourself, you may want to hire a professional photographer to take a photo for your advertisement.  Although it might be tempting to take your own photograph, it is likely that it will look unprofessional and not be able to compare to other premium advertisements out on the market.  When choosing a professional photographer, shop around for awhile and get different prices and bids from photographers in your budget.  As always, you are going to want to keep your advertising tactics as cheap and within your budget as possible.


Step 5:  Consult

If you do decide to work with a professional photographer, it cannot hurt to get their advice as to how to convey the message you want to your audience with a photograph.  They might have a better idea of how to combine an image with your idea.  This could save you some time and money on the creative process down the road.  Many professional photographers include an initial consultation before they begin work on their assignment.


Step 6:  Hold a Photo shoot

Whether or not you are working with a professional client, you will need to create a photo shoot for your advertising photograph.  If you are working with a professional, the two of you will usually end up splitting the cost of the shoot.  Make sure that you have a date, place, time, and props or models (if needed) set up before the shoot takes place.


Step 7:  Edit the Photograph

After you take your photograph, you or a professional photographer can usually look to spend between one week and a month preparing the photograph for your advertisement.  Generally, there will be time spent in post-production cleaning, tweaking, and photo-shopping the image that has been photographed.  This can include air-brushing, brightening, reducing red eye, or increasing the image’s contrast to make certain areas of the photograph stand out more.

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Step 8:  Proofread

As with anything that you are going to put into print, make sure that you proofread your advertisement properly once everything is complete.  Have about 3 to 5 other people take a look at it as well before you decide to print or upload it to a website.  Alternative opinions and outsider eyes are a good way to make sure that you have conveyed your advertisement’s message clearly and fluidly.


Tips for Advertising Photography

  • Have Space:  Make sure that you have space in your advertisement to properly layout your photographs.  In advertising photography, you want to look at photos from various angles before you print it to make sure that you have enough space to work with.  Make sure your image is not so big that it will leave things cramped.
  • Use Props:  In your photograph, it can be helpful to use props to convey the message that you want to with your advertisement.  The props that you use can be large or even small, but make sure you have them before you start shooting.
  • Illustration:  One of the most important steps in advertising photography is that you caste the right illustration to ensure that you get the point across that you want.  Look at your photograph from different angles to ensure that you are going to invoke a certain reaction that encourages the person to buy the product or service that the advertisement is selling.
  • Simple Lighting:  Keep the lighting in your photograph simple.  If you need to tone down the amount of lighting, then do so and try to keep things as soft and natural as possible.  Simple lighting can help you better show off your product and service without overpowering it.


Advertise with an Image

With these tips for advertising photography, you will be able to create a clear picture and image to sell a product, promote a business, or get a point across.  For a simple system to master perfect shots and photographs for advertising, enroll is this course (shop courses) for everything you need to know to get started as a photographer and master of editing your own shots.