The Role of Photography in Advertising

advertising photo of high tech security system Frontpoint device hung from wall

What is the role of photography in advertising? It’s hope and inspiration injected through the hero shot of an undersized track star grinning ear-to-ear crossing the finish line of a jam-packed stadium race, arms spread wide. It’s the grit and determination instilled by the shot of a dark, desolate gym with one light exposing a lone soul in the corner, struggling through another set of squats. Both subjects in the photos wear athletic gear. Guess who? Nike. Just do it.

Advertising with photography captivates the eyes – and the attention – of consumers. Photography creates a brand image and an environment that convinces consumers they need to be a part of it. In the marketing world, visuals are dominant.

Adding a picture to an ad can improve consumer recall by up to 65%. If you skimp out and don’t hire a professional, your iPhone photos or stock images can leave potential customers remembering a disingenuous or amateur experience.

In this article, we’ll discuss the role of photography in advertising, diving deep into how the two go hand-in-hand. Continue reading to learn the relation between photography and advertising, the benefits of hiring a professional and what licenses you’ll need to use the pictures.

advertising photo of sunglass hut pair of sunglasses

What Is The Relationship Between Photography and Advertising?

A strong advertising campaign relies on attention-grabbing imagery and photography often carries your efforts over the finish line. Consumers are visual and they’re served thousands of ads per day. It’s information overload and you have mere milliseconds to break through.

In advertising, visuals are a key factor in convincing your audience they need what you’re offering – even when they don’t. How is that accomplished? By creating images that stand out amongst all other ads competing for consumers’ attention spans. Devising a vision of an enhanced lifestyle, a happier existence or an enjoyable memory associated with your product or service.

Effectively Advertising With Photography

The old saying stands true – a picture is worth a thousand words. You can plan and execute an extensive ad campaign with brochures, billboards, emails, online ads and more. You can hire the most skilled copywriter in the game. Without the support of captivating images, you’ll be hard-pressed to have consumers make it through a sentence let alone purchase your products.

Advertising photographers have camera skills to capture high-quality photos and utilize the psychology of advertising to persuade consumers they need your brand. It’s vital that a photographer understands your tastes and preferences – specifically the message you want to spread through promotional efforts.

It may seem like only huge corporations with extensive budgets can afford high-quality ads. That’s not the case. Local businesses and non-profit organizations can experience similar results with dedicated time and resources. If you make sure to hire the right photographer for your project, you can achieve success without breaking the bank.

various office items on a desk with security system number pad on wall

Benefits of Advertising With Professional Photography

You might be hesitant to spend extra money to hire a photographer and increase the cost of your ad campaign. Sure, you could use stock photographs – but at the cost of coming across as inauthentic. Maybe you just have your assistant snap some photos on their iPhone? While this is “authentic”, it’s also amateur and may lead consumers to think less of your brand.

Here are several reasons why investing in a professional advertising photographer can benefit your campaign and your company as a whole.

Creating a Brand Image

You want to sell your product, but consumers are sold on a brand. No matter how ground-breaking and unique your product, the only way to stand out from competitors is to create a welcoming, relatable brand image.

Advertising photography takes your products or services and places them in an environment that resonates with your target audience. Creating a hypothetical world where your products are essential to an ideal life is key to a successful marketing campaign.

Supplementing Written Ad & Promotional Campaigns

If you’re relying solely on written copy to sell your products and services, think again. As I’ve mentioned before, consumers are visually-focused. That isn’t to say good copy is completely worthless.

Think of it like this: advertising photography is the elevator pitch to your consumers. It grabs their attention long enough to dive into the copy. Then, your informative yet creative words sell. Together, photography and written advertisements are a one-two punch.

advertising photo of bowl of chicken noodle soup with crackers on a plate with spoon and water cup

Emphasizing Quality

More than anything, consumers want a quality product. If your assistant learns a few tips for using their iPhone camera ten minutes before the shoot, odds are your product will look less-than-appealing.

A professional advertising photographer, on the other hand, crafts a larger-than-life portrayal of your brand. Using strategic lighting, angles and framing – along with other branding techniques – professional photographers bring out the qualities that convince prospective customers they need your product or service. Crisp, clear and detailed advertising photos ensure consumers that your products are top tier.

Increasing Engagement

Do you want to spend days of your life planning, budgeting and executing an advertising campaign that receives no response? I wouldn’t and I don’t think you would either. A professional photographer gives you the ultimate engagement tool – strong brand imagery.

Not only can photos lead consumers to read more of your copy, but it’s also more likely to lead them to engage with your ads. Whether it’s commenting on a social media post or clicking on a digital ad’s CTA, engagement looks good for your brand and can help foster a dedicated support base.

close up advertising photo of indian motorcycle company motorcycle

Licensing The Use Of Photography in Advertising

Photo rights and licensing are a beast and warrant their own blog post. For the sake of keeping it simple, I’ll only talk about licensing as it relates to working with a professional advertising photographer.

Just because you hired a photographer doesn’t mean you own the images. Depending on what you’ve settled on in your contract, the photographer likely owns the image copyrights – which means that you can’t sell them. Fortunately, you’re trying to sell your products not the photos.

To get the most out of your engagement, make sure that you secure the right to share photographs digitally and physically. It’s important that you have a discussion early on with your photographer. If you’re confused about any aspect of the photo licensing agreement, make sure to ask them and clarify all uncertainties.

mother sitting in restaurant booth with family eating fruit cups

Hire Casey Templeton For Your Professional Product And Advertising Photography Needs

It’s clear that advertising with photography is one of the best ways to grab the consumers’ attention. More attention often equals more sales. In a sea of competition, compelling imagery helps you stand out. Casey Templeton is an experienced professional advertising photographer with an eye for the shot and extensive knowledge of branding.

Keen on the psychology of advertising, Casey Templeton Photography can take your brand and transform it into a compelling visual experience that speaks to your target audience. To learn more about the role of advertising in photography, or to discuss a potential engagement, fill out a contact form.

Contact Us


+1 (540).819.3632



  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.