Advertising Photography Research


Advertising photography, particularly for well known brands, is typified by very high quality photography often featuring extensive post processing manipulation and sometimes creating surreal images either by compositing and blending diverse images (see football example above) or by creating a digital image such as the arm holding an ice cream emerging from the floor as per the image below.


Click here for a gallery of sample advertising images covering a range of products such as alcohol, cars and and lifestyle items such as ice cream, perfume and watches.

There is clearly a great deal of creative thought goes into the planning and execution of such images, some are visually clever imagery such as the clothes depicted as Stonehenge and some funny such as the welder distracted by the girl carrying a bag of fireworks (part of a series for perfume).


What is common to all of them is the high production values and presumably similarly large budgets both for the initial photography but also very significant post processing. The images are all very clean, immaculately lit to present the product in the best possible fashion whether it be low value but high volume product such as the shampoo or high value, low volume products such as the executive cars.


Noted Advertising Photographers

Jonathan Knowles operates studios in New York and London, specialising in graphic still life, liquid and beauty, his unique photographic style has earned him award-winning advertising commissions and include campaigns for many globally recognised brands, such as Coca-Cola, Guinness, and Smirnoff

In the past ten years, Jonathan has consistently featured in the ‘200 Best Advertising Photographers in the World’ books. He is one of the top 10 all time award winners in the Graphis Annuals.

You can see more details and samples of his work on his website.

Advert_21 Dennis Pedersen“Particularly noted for his beauty portfolio,has become an inspirational figure in still-life photography. Although he did not attend art school, his career has soared due to hard work and the seizing of opportunities – which makes positive reading for aspiring photographers hoping to break into this tough profession.

Dennis’s story began in 1985 when he was working as a builder in London. He met his friend Greg Gorman, then working as a celebrity photographer. Greg, who remains a friend and successful photographer, inspired Dennis to try his hand at photography. Dennis rapidly built up a portfolio, learnt about the business and cold-called his favourite studios, showing his work to as many people as possible.

Dennis was then offered the opportunity to work for fashion and beauty photographer, Jean Claude Volpeliere. He assisted on location, learning his craft while traveling all over the world. Volpeliere then introduced Dennis to advertising still-life photographer, Jon Stigner, who had a reputation for impeccable detail and lighting techniques. Dennis grabbed this opportunity, and worked with large format 10 x 8 cameras under Jon’s tutelage.

In Stigner’s studio, Dennis discovered his love for the technical aspects of photography. He worked with Jon for three years, honing his attention to the detailed aspects of lighting, production both in and out of camera, and composition.

Dennis then took the next step: to open his own studio close to Hoxton Square in London. He began to build up a roster of clients, with advertising in particular. While the recession staunched the flow of some advertising clients, Dennis was then invited to submit work for an exhibition in Hamburg on the theme of liquids and water photography.

As he prepared for the show, Dennis became increasingly inspired by the opportunities presented by the depiction of movement in still-life photography – an under-developed arena, and one that Dennis has made his own. He realised that this approach gave him the perfect challenge to exercise his technical and creative skills in product photography, and he began to experiment with all kinds of volatile materials – liquids, powders, creams, smoke, sprays – creating a new portfolio of special effects. Crucially, he also learned how to gain these effects at high speed: “Working for yourself under pressure makes you learn incredibly fast,” observes Dennis.”

Biography from his website



Tim Tadder  “is 6 feet 7 inches tall, he has a beard, 4 bicycles, and brown dog named Bailey. He was born in Baltimore, schooled in Virginia (BS Mathematics, he’s a geek) and Ohio (MA in Visual Communications, also an artist). Tim worked for newspapers in Baltimore, Colorado, and San Diego as a photojournalist, before turning his sights on commercial and editorial photography in 2005. Since then he has been commissioned to make heroic portraits some of the world’s most interesting humans, for example George W Bush, (liberal Tim did want to have a beer with him….) and Bill Gates (he cringed at the sight of his iPhone and mac book pro) Personal highlights include working with Michael Phelps, Kid Rock, Ice Cube, and Tom Brady. Best known for his powerful portraits and high action intense sports imagery Tim has enjoyed the privilege of working with great creatives creating award winning campaigns (Communications Arts Photo Annuals, Graphis Golds, Kelly Awards, Archive Showcases, Addy’s etc) for global brands like, Adidas, Budwieser, McDonalds, Under Armour, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Gatorade, Powerade, Sears, Craftsman, Mercedes Benz, Bud Light, Microsoft, Sony, Gillette and many more.”

Bio from Tim’s Website

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These photographers seem to have certain common traits which are key factors in their success :-

  • Originality, brining a fresh view to mundane items or much photographed scenes.
  • Technical excellence both in original photography but also post processing.
  • Good communication skills and people management to bring about a collective result
  • Passion for the subject
  • Business and sales expertise – to promote their work and appropriately value it.




This entry was posted in Advertising Photography, Digital Imaging.

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