As a photographer, I'm always being asked questions about my job and how things work. One of the questions that keeps popping up is: what the difference between an editorial shoot and a commercial shoot? So rather than assume that everyone knows what those things mean, I thought it would be worth taking a few minutes to properly explain what they are!
They Tell A Story: Editorial's are the kinds of images that you see in the pages of Vogue, for example (or Atlas!). They're stories that a creative team have come up with, and executed.
For Magazines: These types of images tend to be created with the intention of getting them published in a magazine or on a blog. Sometimes a magazine commissions a photographer directly to create the images, other times photographers and a creative team create the images first, and then submit them to publications.
Freedom for The Team: Editorials don't have a lot of rules on them. It's a chance for photographers, make up artists, hair stylists and clothing stylists to let loose, have some fun and get really creative. These images are often the ones you'll see which are the most daring or different.
There Is No Money: Editorial shoots are always what creatives tend to love to shoot, because they've got so much creative freedom over them, but most of the time there is very little budget in editorial shoots. Magazines have little to no budget to offer photographers for their shoots, and as I said above, a lot of them are created by a photographer and then sent to magazines. Why do we produce them if we're not being paid? Because we love them, because they add to our portfolio's, because they're a chance for everyone to try something new, and further their techniques!
For A Brand: Commercial shoots are organised by a brand who are in need of new imagery to market their service/product. These images are most often used as advertising, or for their social media, for example.
There Is Money Involved: For a commercial shoot, there is always a budget. This means that the brand has set aside money to pay for the images, and the team involved in their photoshoot. Sometimes the budget is small, other times it's big! It completely depends on the brand in question.
Images With A Purpose: These images aren't created just "because." They're created in order to help the brand sell their product or service. That does tend to mean that there is less creative freedom involved, as the brand will have a clear message that they want to convey, and a look their achieving. Most of the time, a brand will approach a photographer and team based on the images in their portfolio because they think that they are a good fit. They often ask photographers to shoot in the way that they would shoot their personal work, but with the brand in mind. So that just goes to show why personal editorial work is so important for photographers to create!
Tell The Story Of The Brand: While editorial photography tends to tell a story as a whole, commercial photography tells the story of the brand.
Organised By The Brand: Editorial's tend to be organised by a photographer who is looking to achieve a certain look. Other times, a make up artist or hair dresser may have an idea in mind in which they collaborate with other creatives. In the case of commercial photography, it is almost always the brand who organise and choose who they want to use for their shoot. They may approach a photographer first who has suggestions on a creative team, but ultimately they are at liberty to choose their team, and organise their day around that.
So there you go! A quick summery of what the differences are between editorial photography and commercial photography. I really hope that's been helpful for those of you who may have wanted some clarity. Let me know in the comments below if you have more questions, and I'll get back to you.