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Commercial Photography vs Portrait Photography

If you’re looking into photography to promote your business or service, you may be surprised to learn that pricing varies from that of a typical portrait session.  Not everyone understands how the processes differ, and as such, we’ve done our best to explain the fine points for those who will someday be requiring this service.

What’s the difference between commercial photography and consumer photography?

Consumer photos are taken for the client’s personal use, and individual prints are usually ordered from the photographer taking the photos.  Once consumers have purchased the prints of their choice, those prints will generally come with a print release that allows the consumer to print from their desired vendor, but this takes into consideration that the photos are not intended for mass-reproduction. The copyright to any images taken always remains with the photographer.  Essentially, the package price paid includes a license fee that enables the client to use the art that we create for them.  Being in possession of digital files or proofs does not give the client rights to reproduce them.  This is where the main differences between commercial and consumer photography come into play, because commercial images are specifically intended to be reproduced.

Commercial photos are used to sell a client’s business or service, and therefore will be printed a number of times depending on how the client intends to used them.  Essentially, these images will become part of your brand and as such, the photographer responsible for creating them earns a portion of the sales gained from this direct contribution to your advertising.  This means that the copyright belonging to the photographer must be ‘leased’ in order to cover those various marketing uses.  Commercial photography is also very specific, often requiring a much more structured environment with additional lighting and equipment needed to deliver such specified images.

The pricing for commercial photography takes into consideration all of the factors that consumer photography does, in addition to the photographer’s fee for the mass-reproduction of their creative property.  The client is always responsible for managing the use of their images, so its key to be aware of the terms in your contract.  Licensing details will ALWAYS be included here, so be sure to have your photographer explain any areas of confusion prior to signing your contract for photography services.  Also be sure to outline the specific uses for your images so that your photographer is aware of all licensing considerations that need to be addressed.  It may seem like a lot, but believe me when I tell you that rights are issued as needed by the client… so the best way to ensure that you are covered is to be upfront with your photographer about your intentions to use your images.  Not all commercial photography requires the same needs, making pricing completely subjective in this area.  Your photographer will have no problem separating the cost for the actual session from the costs associated with the use of your images, and Ahnvee Photography maintains a strict industry standard in this area.

If your intended use for your images changes at any time, please make sure to contact your photographer and typically, a new invoice and license will be issued to reflect your changes in use.  When weighing the perceived costs of commercial photography and whether or not it fits into your budget, please keep in mind that the cost will vary greatly dependent upon certain factors like how many subjects there are to photograph, where the shoot will take place, whether the photos will be used for any length of time and where they will be used specifically, as well as post-production factors like editing, sizing, retouching and printing.

As always, we are happy to advise you on how to make your images work best for you!   Ahnvee Photography upholds high-standards with regard to the purchase of our style, creativity and artistry!  We are experienced, we know the photography industry and we are committed to helping you accomplish all of your photographic needs!


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