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Commercial photography is the process of taking photographs for commercial use. It normally involves a contract between a client who wants photographs of a product or service for business, promotional or sales purposes, and a photographer who carries out the work to meet particular requirements. The definition of commercial work is very broad and overlaps with other genres. Few photographers would agree on a precise definition or scope for the term.

Nevertheless, commercial work encompasses product photography, images taken to promote of sell products or services, travel photography, portraiture, and images of fashion, food and many other subjects. It also includes areas of activity such as product placement and the production of images for book, posters and flyers. The list is endless. Clearly the "commercial" description also overlaps other fields of photography having apparently better understood definitions, such as architectural and fashion work.

The objectives of commercial photography extend much futher than merely recording an image. The modern world is filled with images of smart new products, and it is impossible to get through a single day without being confronted by magazines, posters or television advertisements that inform us about something new.

Commercial photographers therefore strive to produce something different, and wherever possible try to evoke an emotional response from potential customers. We are all aware of particularly successful advertising campaigns that have resulted in long queues outside shop doors and customers stroking their new status-symbol products.

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