Commercial Photographer

Snap photographs for businesses, advertising agencies, and more.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Commercial Photographers do?

The defining characteristic of a Commercial Photographer is that your work is purchased as images rather than art. You produce products that have utility—they help sell a product or set a scene.

“Commercial” refers to a subset of Photographers rather than a specific field. For example Advertising Photographers, Fashion Photographers, and Portrait Photographers could all be referred to as Commercial Photographers because each of those fields are paid to produce images for a commercial purpose. Whereas Fine Art Photographers, for example, fall outside of this field.

As a Commercial Photographer, you combine the standard techniques of any photographic field—artistic vision, an eye for angles, competency with your technical equipment, and proficiency in staging shots—with the business acumen to contract and communicate with clients. You are photographing your subjects for a purpose, and you need to understand what that is and work it into your shoot.

For example, if you are shooting a fashion spread for a jeans company, your job is both to make the photograph look beautiful and to give the jeans a center prominence in the picture. So at this position you are paid to incorporate commercial interests into your artistic design.

Should I be a Commercial Photographer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • Also known as: Commercial Photographer Apprentice

    How to become a Commercial Photographer

    Most Commercial Photographers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9cddaa&chl=no+college+%2864%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|bachelor%27s+%284%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,64,64
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