If you have a campaign that requires impeccable visuals, you might want to hire a professional campaign photographer. This ensures your visual content is high-quality and aligned with your campaign’s objectives.
In this article, we’ll talk about the 10 best commercial photographers in the world of campaign photography. We’ve listed them in no particular order, so feel free to skip to the photographer that piques your interest the most. Read on!
What is Campaign Photography?
Campaign photography is a realm of photography where images are used as key elements in promotions, advertisements, and campaigns. These campaigns can be:
Political: photos are used in a political candidate’s rallies, speeches, and interactions with voters. High-quality campaign photos may appear on posters, brochures, websites, and social media.
Advertising and Marketing: campaign photographers shoot images of products, models, or scenes for advertisements and other marketing campaigns of businesses.
Social Causes: photos are used in campaigns related to charitable causes and humanitarian efforts. High-quality images often highlight the importance of said causes and efforts.
Campaign photographers are often commercial photographers, too. They must have excellent composition and other technical skills.
As commercial photographers, they must understand the campaign’s goals while telling stories through their photographs. They also work closely with campaign managers, art directors, and clients to ensure that their content aligns properly with the campaign’s overall strategy. With those in mind, let’s look at the 10 best commercial photographers alive today.
John Keatley hails from California, but his work has appeared in many publications. You might have seen some of them on:
The New York Times
He’s also worked with prominent individuals such as Sarah Palin and Macklemore. As a commercial photographer, he’s also worked with big-name brands such as:
Source: John Keatley
His awards? Truly impressive. They include:
American Advertising “Gold Addy”
Four Applied Arts awards
Six One Eyeland awards
John Keatley’s work always has vivid colors and imaginative characters. They’re bold, graphic, and vibrant as they revolve around human relationships and humor. He always tries to boil images to their simplest and most compelling forms. His bio on johnkeatley.com summarizes this perfectly:
“...nothing is shown if it does not serve a purpose, and each image feels powerful while not taking itself too seriously.”
Kremer & Johnson
Kremer & Johnson is a powerful duo of photographers who pride themselves for being quirky and inventive.
And while Neil Kremer and Cory Johson are two different people, they’re “living proof that two heads are better than one.”
Source: Kremer & Johnson
One of their most notable projects is the “Palm Springs Bears” — a project full of bright colors and imagery. Viewers can’t help but smile at images that exhibit friendship, love, and happiness.
Even in highly commercial projects, their taste for the artful stands out. Take their project for a pharma client that focused on highlighting the effects of ADHD on children.
For awards, Kremer & Johnson was recently selected as One Eyeland’s “Photographer of the Month” for July 2023.
Here are more awards to their name/s:
American Photography 39, 37, 36
APA Something Personal 2022
Le Book Connections Creative Awards Winner 2022
Lürzer's Archive 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide 2021-22, 2020-21
If you’re considering a partnership with them, here’s what they’ve got to say:
“While we aren't identical twins, we are on the same wavelength, going so far as to finish each other's sentences. Propelled by collaboration, we're quirky, inventive, and living proof that two heads are better than one.”
Many say you have to love your job so you don’t have to work a day in your life. Long-time APA member Andy Anderson’s philosophy is along the same lines:
“I believe that to be really good at photography, you have to be obsessed with it. Fueling this obsession is a life-long love affair with curiosity — it is the engine to my creativity. And collaboration is the fuel that brings it all to life.”
Source: Andy Anderson
Andy Anderson’s portfolio includes:
His most notable projects include the Argentinian Gaucho project, where he journeyed to South America to document landscapes, gauchos, horses, and old-style ranching.
Source: Andy Anderson
He’s also recently added fashion photography to his portfolio, hoping to partner up with brands such as Ryan Originals, Ralph Lauren, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Andy Anderson also has an abundance of accolades. He’s recently won a Mercury Award for his South Dakota Tourism Spot. His Sherpa project and work on Blue Cross Idaho won second place in the 2022 International Photography Award.
Dan Goldberg is a top-notch choice for foodies and businesses in the food industry needing commercial photography services. He specializes in food photography — and why not, when food “not only gives us comfort but hope.”
For him, each meal is a reminder that sharing a table with your loved ones is “one of the most potent and universal occasions in which to connect in the world.”
His most impressive projects include his partnership with Woodford Reserve. He’s also created a film for Paws Up Resort and helped launch a product for Konnected Joe. Other partnerships under his portfolio include those with Taylor Farms and Beyond Food.
His passion for food and food photography has enabled him to garner various accolades and awards.
Source: Dan Goldberg
Dan Goldberg’s images have been featured in publications such as Archive and Communication Arts, and he’s been listed as “Archive’s Best 200 Advertising Photographers.”
Jason Lindsey grew up in the Midwest surrounded by factory workers. This allowed them to understand what putting a full day’s work for a full day’s pay means. It’s not surprising that the outdoors and natural settings are prominent in his work in advertising.
Source: Jason Lindsey
His most popular projects include the Cracks In The Ice series, which explores climate change and has been featured in prestigious events and galleries. Among those that featured the series are:
Poignant Portfolio by One Twelve Publishing
The 2023 Exhibition at the Atlanta Photography Group
APA’s 10th Annual Artist’s Perspective Exhibition
Source: Cracks In The Ice Gallery
Jason Lindsey has also worked with prominent brands and people on assignments all over the world. His commercial clients include:
Awards? He’s also got them: he’s been selected by Archive Magazine as one of the 200 Best Ad Photographers worldwide for the years 2018/2019 and 2020/2021.
Tim Tadder is a California-based photographer who specializes in sports and conceptual photography. His explosive, vibrant, and breathtaking sports photos are unique, often highlighting the intense moments of the world’s best athletes.
Source: Tim Tadder
His most notable projects include his portraits for Forbes’ 30 Under 30 North America 2022. His lenses have also captured Denver Nuggets basketball player Aaron Gordon in mid-air.
Tim Tadder has been commissioned by well-known and powerful clients such as:
Bill Gates (portrait) as commissioned by the Gates Foundation
George W. Bush (portrait)
Source: Tim Tadder
On top of his advertising work, his fine arts have been known to push boundaries and aim to inspire others. He says:
“As an artist, I’m pushing myself past my limits to find my next voice. What am I drawn to? What am I going to say? I want to stay within my genre and my brand, but I want to communicate more and connect my art to more people and touch more lives.”
Erik Almas didn’t have a great interest in pictures when he was a kid… but that didn’t stop him from being an award-winning photographer now. He travels around the world to work with advertising and fashion industry clients around the world.
Source: Erik Almas
He’s worked with big-brand clients such as:
Erik Almas is known for crafting memorable photos for advertising clients. He also contributes to magazines such as Brides, 7x7, and GenIux Magazine. Other publications that have used his work include:
Travel & Leisure
As if that’s not enough, he’s consistently been featured in major photography award shows. He’s been included in Luerzer’s Archive 200 Best Advertising Photographers Worldwide since 2007. His other accolades include:
Communication Arts Photo annual 2004-2006 and 2010
International Photography Award 2010-2012
American Photography 2009-2012
Source: Erik Almas
In an interview with Photography Talk, he described his style as having a “quiet sense of beauty”. He said:
“I seek moments that are inspiring, proud, humbling, stoic, and contemplative. Doing so with a bent towards the romantic and sensual.”
Jeremy Cliff is a Chicago-based automotive photographer known for his creative work. He started out as an amateur photographer and went on to become one of the world’s most prominent vehicle photographers.
Source: Jeremy Cliff
His work has been featured in several blogs and magazines including:
The Official Ferrari Magazine
Performance BMW Magazine
Jeremy Cliff travels around the world, capturing distinct vehicle stills that have captured the attention of giant brands like:
His style has been described as professional and creative, and his contributions to the vehicle photography world have been tremendous.
Source: Jeremy Cliff
Braxton Wilhelmsen wears a lot of hats. He’s not just a photographer; he’s also an MBA and business owner, serving as the creative director of Sus Creative.
Source: Braxton Wilhelmsen
He’s worked with clients in the realm of lifestyle photography, often shooting photos that tell stories about products. His expertise in this area extends to others such as marketing, strategy, communication, and branding. On top of that, Braxton Wilhelmsen has also taught photography at Brigham Young University. He’s also had numerous publications for various magazines, including:
Epsilon's Core Magazine (2021)
Utah Business Magazine (2023)
His big-name clients include:
If you’re looking for accolades and awards, Braxton Wilhelmsen also has plenty of those. They include:
Photo Decathlon SLC Category Winner: Product (2015)
Popular Photography Reader's Photo Contest Winner: Sports (2016)
Syracuse Photo Competition Winner (2019)
He’s also vocal about his love for photography:
“With a photograph, light is recorded accurately, but there is still so much available for interpretation and communication. Heroism, dynamism, beauty, optimism, or their opposites, and more, are all available to see in the same subject, same location, same camera. I love it.”
Lindsay Adler is one of the most popular on this list (and in the US, for that matter), thanks to her award-winning beauty and fashion photographs. She’s also a top-tier director and world-renowned photographic educator.
Source: Lindsay Adler
Her signature style has been described as clean, bold, and graphic. She also has a best-in-class crew under her wings, alongside deep production resources.
This allows her to elevate her work and push the limits for her personal and commissioned work.
She’s also the author of five books, one being the recipient of Amazon.com’s Best of Books of 2011 in Arts and Photography. In 2020, she became the first woman to win the coveted Rangefinder Icon of the Year Award.
Source: Lindsay Adler
Lindsay Adler has worked with advertising clients from around the world such as:
Being an educator, Lindsay Adler has the following goals in mind, as published in an interview with Western Digital:
“My focus in teaching really is to help people save the time, effort, and suffering that I have gone through, with whatever the topic might be… I want to help people learn something quickly and efficiently, so they can get back to what they really love: photography.”
Why Hire Commercial Photographers?
When you hire a commercial photographer, you invest in your campaign’s chances of achieving success. You also enjoy the following benefits:
Get high-quality images: professional commercial photographers know how to take high-quality images that will fit your campaign’s needs.
Achieve consistent branding: commercial photographers know the importance of consistent branding for businesses. It can lead to better brand recognition and increased visual appeal.
Get professional input: experienced commercial photographers are experts in their field. They’re knowledgeable and can bring a fresh perspective to any campaign. Use them when brainstorming for campaign ideas and unique angles.
Gain time and cost savings: while hiring a commercial photographer may seem expensive upfront, it leads to better time and cost savings in the longer run. You can use high-quality images for a range of materials such as brochures, websites, social media, and print.
Focus on core business: since commercial photographers take care of your visual asset needs, you can focus on the more important aspects of your business.
Tips for Hiring Commercial Photographers
Finding the right commercial photographer for your campaign can be challenging. A lot of photographers claim to be the right fit, but how do you know if they truly meet your needs? Here are some useful tips.
Know your goals: outline your campaign’s goals, the types of assets you need, and their purpose in your campaign.
Consider your budget: commit to a budget — be realistic to what you can afford. Communicate this budget upfront to your prospective commercial photographer.
Review portfolios: look into various portfolios to assess the photographers’ quality and work style. See if their style fits your brand and requirements.
Check their experience: learn about the photographers’ experience. Also, their expertise must align with the specific photography type you need.
Look into referrals and recommendations: ask for recommendations from your friends, colleagues, and industry contacts. Word-of-mouth referrals are often valuable.
Interview and compare multiple photographers: interview the photographers. Evaluate their professionalism and communication skills.
Ask about their equipment and team: ask what the photographer uses in terms of equipment. Check if they have a team that supports their work, such as assistants and stylists.
Create a contract and licensing agreement: create a detailed contract. Include clauses about the deliverables, timelines, and payment structure. Don’t forget to clarify image usage right — who owns the rights to the images? Additional costs for licensing are common. Additionally, your contract should include provisions for issues such as reshoots in case the project’s scope changes or doesn’t meet expectations.
Overall, finding the best commercial photographers for your campaign is a must. You’ll reap great benefits for your brand, business, and visual assets. Professional commercial photographers help you achieve all that and more with their experience and expertise.
What is commercial photography?
Commercial photography aims to promote a business, product, or service. The goal is to help the organization make more money. Commercial photography can be divided into categories like product photography, lifestyle photography, and even fashion photography.
Is it worth it to hire a professional photographer?
Yes, it is. Experienced photographers are great investments thanks to the expertise and guidance they can provide on an ongoing basis. Their know-how is useful in many campaigns and can help you truly achieve your campaign goals.
How do commercial photographers charge for their work?
Commercial photographers — and many other kinds of professional photographers, for that matter — often charge per hour. Others charge per image. The common ranges are from $100 to $300 per hour and $75 to $1,000 per image. These depend on various factors considered by the photographer, such as equipment cost, production cost, shipping charges, and other overhead. Some of the top photographers in the commercial market may command $50,000 or more for a single image.