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Photography Question 

Photography: Editorial Vs. Commercial

Is an editorial photographer the same as a commercial photographer? If they differ, how so?

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3/19/2006 4:51:24 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Actually, Lauren, yes and no. They do different types of work or perhaps similar depending on the assignment.
Traditionally, editorial photographers are thought of as shooting for publications, either as staffers or freelancers. They shoot for newspapers, periodicals, magazines, books, pamphlets, etc. Their primary role is to illustrate articles according to the assignment of their editors. In photojournalism (kind of a subdivision of editorial work and what I do mostly) most assignments are done without directing the subjects. Kind of shoot it as you see it, work without interfering and working more as an observer. Pure, illustrative editorial work is done primarily with some sort of direction.
Commercial work is essentially work done to promote products or services. A commercial photographer, more often than not, works with a number of people at once, usually an art director, account manager, and an illustrator and they're employed by ad agencies mainly. They may shoot anything from cars to jewelry and everything in between. They may do catalog work, or fashion advertisements. Commercial photographers usually require a lot more equipment than editorial shooters, usually in the form of lighting and related gear.
Most of my work is done on 35mm (film) cameras, some on medium format SLRs, and once in awhile, to shoot something like architecture, I use a view camera which is 4x5 format.
Oh, and for the most part, commercial work pays more than editorial. Two Web sites you might want to peruse: (This is the site for the American Society of Media Photographers.) Oh, there's also This group is pretty much newspaper photographers. (National Press Photographers Association)
And... one of my faves, That one is for Advertising Photographers of America, essentially commercial work.
I belong to all three but most of the time, I work as a photojournalist doing editorial work. ;>)
Take it light.

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3/20/2006 7:40:54 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  BTW, forgot to note one thing that may be significant to you. In most instances, editorial work provides a photo credit beneath the photo or caption. Commercial work/ advertising doesn't.

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3/20/2006 11:16:12 AM

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