Why You Should Choose Portrait over Commercial Photography

You’ve got your Composites to that point, you can finally make some money, and now you’re trying to figure out whether you want to jump into the Commercial Photography Market or the Portrait Photography Market.

You’re thinking, “I can make WAY more money doing commercial work and there’s more prestige that comes with it.”

BOOM! Commercial Photographer it is!

Give me just a minute and by the time you’re finished reading this article, I think you’re going to want to reconsider jumping into the world of Commercial Photography.

The REAL Photography Stats

When I first started down this path of Composite Photography, I was hellbent on becoming a Commercial Photographer because after all, that’s where all the great Compositors were, right?

There’s the photographer who inspired me to get into Compositing, Dave Hill, and of course, there’s Joel Grimes, Josh Rossi, Brandon Cawood, Tim Tadder, and many more.

All photographers killing it in the Commercial world.

I’ll get into my personal story and why I decided to go a different direction, but for now, I quickly saw there were WAY more Composite Photographers than clients in the world of commercials.

graphic of why you should choose portrait photography over commercial photography

Once I realized what this graphic is showing you, where I needed to direct my efforts became very clear to me.

Commercial Photography

Let me first say, if your heart is set on being a Commercial Photographer, then don’t pay any attention to me or this article and you go all-in on your dream.

You absolutely 100% can become a Commercial Photographer.

This article is really for those photographers who are on the fence and looking for an easier way to turn their love for Photo Compositing into sustainable living.

Do a Google search or look over Instagram and you’ll quickly see a ton of great photographers doing Composites within the advertising world, and these photographers are really damn good too.

The problem is, many of the photographers you find in your search aren’t really doing that great because like every other photographer, they’re competing for a very small piece of the advertising pie.

commercial photographers are competing for a small market

Look even closer and many of the Composite Photographers who are making it in the advertising industry, are usually supplementing their income with various types of other photography.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with doing other types of photography and there’s nothing wrong with making money doing various types of photography, but if Compositing is your thing like it is for me, then you want that and nothing else.

Portrait Photography

On the other hand, within the Portrait Photography Market, there are tons of opportunities for photographers who can create uniquely different Composites.

Think of it as putting a commercial edge on a portrait.

Of course, there are photographers doing senior portrait Composites and we’ve all seen the newborn Composites, but have you ever really seen family portrait Composites?

Unlike in the commercial world of ad agencies and art directors who are hired one day and gone the next, in the world of Portrait Photography you’re competing for a much larger piece of the portrait pie.

portrait photography chart for competing for market

Produce a halfway good Composite, make it fun and entertaining, and 100% you can create an amazing living doing the thing you love most…

Composite Photography.

One Last Thing

Ok, not only do you have a much bigger market within the Portrait Photography industry than you do the commercial, and not only is it an easier market to get started in but here’s the MOST important reason you may want to consider Portraits over Commercial.


Think about it.

When the economy goes down, and it will, what’s the first thing to be cut in the world of advertising?

Right! Advertising, and your photography budget.

It happens all the time and it will happen again, but when that economy tanks, and it will tank, what happens to the luxury market?

Right, again! NOTHING.

The fact is, the commercial market fluctuates with the economy while the luxury portrait market pretty much doesn’t.

I’m curious to know, which market, Commercial or Portrait, are you most interested in doing business in?

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.