How to Start Your Commercial Photography Career



Essentially, commercial photography means capturing photos for commercial use. It's often associated with advertisements, brochures, product shoots, and other business-related matters. But if among all the things you can specialize in, you chose to focus on commercial photography, you should at least already have a basic understanding of what commercial photography is. So, the only question remaining unanswered for you is, "How do I build my portfolio and make my way up?"


Here's all you need to know:

Focus on One

Some photographers choose to be versatile and specialize in multiple photography niches. But if you're only starting in this field, it's best to focus on one, build your skills, then market yourself as an expert in that field. That way, you'd not only have higher chances of locking in on a long-term client, you could also be known for your work. So, if you haven't chosen yet, here are a few photography niches you can consider:


  • Fashion Photography: This is commonly the first thing people think of when "commercial photography" is mentioned. It usually involves a model that would either wear a brand or hold a product. This type can be in a studio or outdoor setting, depending on how you envision the shoot.

  • Advertising Photography: This niche typically has one primary objective, how to entice potential consumers to purchase. Depending on the brand or client, this type of photography usually needs to stand out in a large or busy crowd and would require you to know how to make catchy or flashy images.

  • Product Photography: Just like advertising, this type of niche can be a broad category depending on the product you would be working on. Typically done in studio space, but some photographers opt for an outdoor shoot to catch that natural lighting feel. But because of its wide variety, being familiar with your set-up and gear is essential.

  • Food Photography: Yes, this niche includes people who take pictures of their food before they dig in. And that practice, although some deem it unnecessary, can be an excellent way to build your portfolio and enhance your skills as a commercial photographer. But this category must work with a food stylist, or at least someone who knows how to, enhance food and make them look mouthwatering.

  • Architectural Photography: This category is for showcasing the appeal of a place or promoting an architect's design. Knowing how to beautifully capture a spot where most people wouldn't look or be able to see is how you properly capture the essence of architecture.


Get Your Gear On

A lot of photographers have different gears, depending on their preferences and their specialization. But as a commercial photographer, some essential equipment you should have are as follows:

  • Camera: Once you have your niche figured out, it's best to choose your camera depending on its features. If, for example, you decide to be a food photographer, having a camera with high resolution is probably the best option, especially if a client requires a few or single shot with different crop sizes.

  • Lens: Some cameras come with their lenses as you buy them. But a lot of photographers who know which niche to focus on would opt to buy a few or extra lenses. For example, if you're an architectural photographer and the best place for you to capture a crowd is on top of a small building, then you should either have your choice of zoom lenses or tilt-shift lenses to capture fantastic images with each shot you make.

  • Tripod: Though optional, having your own tripod has a lot of benefits. Some studios, especially small ones, don't provide a tripod. This gear can be essential if you're a fashion photographer, and you'd want to have the freedom to move your models, instead of you moving around constantly.


Time To Shine

Whatever niche you decided to focus on, having your portfolio is key to your success. This will not only showcase your recent works and skills to your potential clients but would also serve as your journey file. So, here are a few tips on how to build your portfolio as a commercial photographer in the Philippines.

  • Take your shot: You wouldn't have anything to develop and promote if you don't have any photographs to start with. The Philippines is a beautiful country, and there are a lot of places you could go ahead and explore, so don't hold back and take the shot.

  • Choose a client: After choosing your photography niche, it's best to research who your potential clients would be. By targeting them, you'd get a better understanding of what your client would look for in your field of category.

  • Showcase your talent: It's always your choice if you prefer to promote your work through personal interaction or to have them showcased online where more people can potentially see your portfolio. Some companies or clients prefer both methods, so it's better just to be prepared either way.


As you grow your skills, you should let opportunities grow alongside you. Don't let fear conquer your doubts. Just believe that your talent and imagination shouldn't be restricted by anyone but should run free with endless possibilities. Start your journey on to becoming the next big Commercial Photographer in the Philippines, and always remember that every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.