Photography in Advertising: The 7 Types To Market Your Brand

As a brand and business, you need to include high quality photography in your advertising to grab the attention of your audience. We’re talking about the 7 types of photography and how you can utilize them in your marketing strategy.

photography in advertising
8 Types of Photography in Advertising | Photo by Lena Shkoda for Carolee x H Agency

While there are many elements to a running a successful business, brands who are starting out often forget about one key element – creative and effective photography. In fact, visual marketing is one the most important facets of any well perceived company. Without branded images, how else will your potential consumers know who you are or what you do?

While the concept of marketing has shifted over time, there is more opportunity than ever to have your brand seen by millions of interested customers. With social media, online websites and digital campaigns – you can reach and connect with individuals around the world.

But, how do you make sure that your campaign stands out amongst your competition?

That’s where photography in advertising walks in. By hiring and working with a professional photographer, you are guaranteed to create images that strike a chord across every marketing platform. Your images will pop on social media and create intrigue across the pages of your website.

To help you craft your next creative campaign, let’s talk about the 7 types of photography that exist in advertising. And, how you can use the tips for each marketplace niche to build an eye-catching, captivating marketing strategy.

7 Types of Photography in Advertising

Product Photography

photography in advertising
Creative Product Photography | Weston Clark for Bon Look x H Agency

Product photography is for any brand that sells physical items. So, if you think about it – many, if not the majority, of brands fall into this product category. Whether you sell socks, backpacks, sunglasses, chairs, water bottles, pots & pans – you own and operate a product driven business.

In fact, this niche relies heavily on photography to convey and showcase the specifications and features of their inventory.

There are often two types of product images that a brand will need, in order to market their items:

  • Clean and crisp shots on a white background to use for your online, e-commerce store
  • Lifestyle images that showcase your product in action to connect with the consumer
    • Ex. With backpacks, you can show children wearing them to school or a climber trekking up a mountain. Or, with water bottles, you could show athletes at football practice and gym goers doing their morning workout. For chairs, show a family sitting around the dinner table or employees working hard at their desks.

Product photography in your advertising allows your consumer to see the design and details of your item and what features it includes. If you’re a brand that is operating in the product space, you need to utilize a skilled and knowledgable photographer to create images that fully display and promote what your business has to offer.

Related: Product Photographers For Marketing Your Brand

Stock Photography

photography in advertising
Example of Stock Photography | Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Stock photography is a bit of an outlier in this category, but it’s important to mention its relation to advertising. If you’re not familiar with stock images, they are an accumulation of photographs and graphics sold by photographers all over the world. They are found in online stock agencies or databases to be purchased for personal, commercial or editorial use.

In many case, brands will purchase stock photography instead of hiring a photographer for their campaign. Often, this is due to the ease of use. In fact, there seems to be a stock photograph for virtually anything. So, why not choose your marketing assets from the worldwide bank?

Yet, while this method may seem easier – that doesn’t make it a viable solution.

If you want to be a successful brand with a distinctive voice – stock photography should be your last resort. Stock imagery lacks the personal touch that you need to showcase your business. This is because the images found on stock websites weren’t created with a client in mind. Their whole purpose is to reach and appeal to the masses.

And, that’s not the proper approach to your unique brand marketing.

Instead, you need to work with a photographer to create images that are specific to your company. That way, your creative visuals speak levels to your overall voice and mission.

If you’re serious about the future of your business, ditch the use of stock photography in your advertising and work with a professional photographer instead.

Related: 30 Photographers To Hire Instead of Using Stock Photography

Fashion Photography

photography in advertising
Fashion Photography | Cody Lidkte for Universal Love x H Agency

The niche of fashion photography is dedicated to brands who sell apparel, clothing and accessories. Fashion photography is both a creative and commercial medium that has been around for decades.

In fact, as a fashion brand – there’s no better way to show off your line than by using high quality images. This specific type of consumerism is driven by well curated photographs in order to push their audience’s intent to buy.

When we think of fashion, we’re drawn to the glossy magazines, advertorial spreads and billboards showing beautiful handiwork across the sky. The world of fashion has been marketed and promoted to us through the eyes of talented photographers for years.

And, our current marketplace is no different. If you’re a fashion brand, you use images for your advertising on social media, at fashion shows, PR events, to sell items on your website and to publish pieces in editorial publications.

If there was ever a commercial sector that need photography in order to succeed and grow, it would be fashion. Therefore, to properly advertise your latest line or next season pieces, you need the visual craftsmanship of a talented photographer.

Related: The Most Creative Fashion Photographers in the World

E-Commerce Photography

photography in advertising
Effective E-Commerce Photography | Joelle Rosen for Certain Standard x H Agency

E-Commerce photography is a culmination of multiple photographic niches. It includes pillars such as product, food, fashion and lifestyle. And, its focus is to showcase your business’ items that are available on your online store. In short, e-commerce photography is geared toward creating images to sell and market your brand online.

With the e-commerce marketplace booming, there’s never been more businesses selling online. Which means that millions of consumers are searching the Internet, day in and day out, for items that they can purchase.

If you’re selling exclusively online, with no middle man, then you’re considered a direct to consumer brand. For this business model, these are the types of e-commerce images you will need to showcase your brand effectively:

E-Commerce Images

  • Product images geared toward e-commerce: These must have continuity, this means using the same background color, lighting and setup.
  • Images of your product in use: If consumers are buying online only, they need to see your item in action. This includes showing a practical day to day use. As well as images that convey true to life – shape, size and any other aesthetic detail.
  • Brand images to express what your company is about: Take this as an opportunity to step outside the box and think about your mission and voice as a business. These will be the most creative images on your website as they will be a reflection of your identity and the community you hope to build.

With e-commerce photography, your visuals are everything. They are the glue that holds your customers’ interest and buying power together. Without visuals to spark excitement and ignite a connection, your brand will just be another URL on the world wide web.

If you want to elevate your e-commerce shop and attract new customers each and every day, your images need to be produced with an online first perspective.

Related: 22 Best E-Commerce Photographers For Your Online Store

Food Photography

photography in advertising
Food Photography | Cody Lidkte for Bai x H Agency

For a food brand, photography in your advertising is the single, most effective way to sell your products.

In fact, can you think of another way to showcase food items than through the use of images? Ok, maybe the days of hand drawn advertisements are an exception. But, for the most part, a food brand is marketed and shown through the use of photographs.

We see food photography for canned goods, fresh products, fruits, vegetables and even the frozen aisle. There are endless images of friends cooking a meal, families eating together and children enjoying their long awaited, after dinner dessert. If you think about it, food photography is more than just a marketing tool. It’s a piece of culture and a representation of our society.

With this, brands in the food space need to look outside the realm of commercialism and stacked grocery shelves. And, focus on the role food plays in our daily lives.

For effective food photography, you need a photographer who can create advertising that crafts a story and promotes a message. The best food brands are the ones that associate their product with a feeling. Think of the visual messaging that exists when we see food as a social, familial and cultural means of gathering.

In order to bring consumers around the table, create food photography in your advertising that conveys a message. Develop a campaign that gives your audience a reason to pass the plate and their attention, to your brand.

Related: The Savory Food Photographers That Spark Our Taste Buds

Lifestyle Photography

photography in advertising
Lifestyle Photography | Carson for Coronado Brewing x H Agency

If you consider your business a lifestyle brand, you know that your advertising is all about the creative message. The idea of a lifestyle brand is a rather new concept. And, it’s rooted in the idea that a product or service fits directly in the specific lives of consumers.

For example, if you own a tropical lifestyle brand, you offer products that are perfect a life by the beach and sea. Your line could include swimsuits, sunglasses and towels. Rather than focusing on one item, you are curating multiple products that fit into the “fun-in-the-sun” lifestyle. 

As a lifestyle driven brand, your images need to showcase your products in action. This means that unlike other brands, you’ll most likely will veer from traditional imagery. Instead of just capturing product photos against a white backdrop, you’d shoot them in their environment. And, you’d use models and subjects to show how your items work. This allows your consumers to see themselves using your product in their every day lives.

And with images that evoke a real world feeling, just like that – you’ve created a lifestyle.

In short, lifestyle photography is about the overall story and idea you express through your visuals. If you want your advertising to represent your consumers, create images with the help of a lifestyle photographer.

Related: The Best Lifestyle Photographers For Your Next Campaign

Travel Photography

photography in advertising
Travel Photography | Attila Adam for Kashi Go x H Agency

One of the most exciting ways to showcase photography in advertising is through adventurous travel campaigns. Travel photography is another niche that has been prevalent for decades. Think about the landscape images of vast terrain and street photography of cities and societies – those each contain various elements that define the concept of travel and culture.

In today’s marketing world, travel photography has taken on a life of its own. With images being produced by photographers around the world, travel brands are showcasing themselves through the lens of wandering creatives.

As a travel brand, you’re selling the idea of exploration, adventure and the unknown. It’s more than just a product (e.g. luggage) or a service (e.g. exotic 7 day cruise). Your advertising is satisfying your consumers’ thirst for new lands, uncharted territories and endless experiences.

In order to highlight what travel can bring to your audience’s lives. Your brand needs to craft a story that takes your consumers to undiscovered heights. As a travel company, utilize photographers both near and far. Go out and craft your visual campaigns in the most beautiful of places. Send your consumers on the journey of their lives with your captivating, travel photography.

Related: Travel Photographers That Explore The World

As you can see, photography in advertising is a key to building and marketing your brand. Focus on your commercial niche and work with a photographer to craft a visual campaign that is unique to your business.

With high quality, creative images, you’re guaranteed to capture and ignite the interest of your consumers. And, give your audience a new and improved brand to talk about.