Common Commercial Photography Mistakes in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington & Hamilton that Your Company MUST Avoid

If you’re looking to hire a commercial photographer, congratulations! You’re one step closer to quality photos that represent your business and its image. That is, of course, if you hire the person or company that can actually give you top quality commercial photography that suits your needs.

Five Costly Misconceptions of Commercial Photography that You Need to Know About

  1. You can judge the quality of a photographer by his/her camera.

A good quality camera is, of course, important. But a nice camera doesn’t guarantee great photos any more than a brand new electric guitar guarantees that you’ll become the next Slash. Any great photographer will also carry a mastery of lighting, a knowledge of design, colour, psychology, body language, and more. A great photographer knows how to portray the image of your company through their photos.

  1. You believe that photographers who excel at nature or travel photography will excel at commercial portrait photography or product photos.

When you’re looking to hire someone for commercial photography, make sure they have experience in commercial photography! It might sound obvious, but far too many times I’ve seen companies hire a photographer who specialises in nature and travel photos to do commercial portrait photography for 50 employees. Knowing how to handle your subjects, and keep a similar vibe in the photos across the shoot is something that not all photographers are capable of.

  1. You think you can use the photos in any way you wish once you receive them.

You hire a photographer to take shots of you, your employees, your products or location – and then he or she hands you the files on a USB stick and they’re yours to keep, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Technically, the photographer is the owner of the photos, and different photographers charge differently when it comes to royalties. Be sure to get the details on this before the shoot, so you can be prepared.

  1. You assume your competitors can’t touch the photos.

If the commercial photography company you’re looking at also sells stock photos, be wary. Similar to the previous bullet point, you need to know who owns the rights to each and every photo the photographer takes. After all, you don’t want to invest your hard-earned money into amazing photographs, just for your competitor to snatch them up as stock photos – at a mere fraction of the cost.

  1. A cheaper photographer will save you money.

It’s true that spending less on a photographer will save you money in the short term, but it can end up costing you a lot of money in the long run. If your photos are not top quality, you’re setting yourself up to lose a business deal to one of your competitors that has invested in top quality photos. Now that’s expensive!

Our experienced photographer, Dave Merrow, has many years of experience working with companies in the Toronto, Mississauga, Oakviille, Burlington and Hamilton areas – working side by side with companies to deliver top quality photos that give a true representation of what they do and who they are. Give us a call to get a quote!

Why Your Company Should Invest in Commercial Portrait Photography in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington & Hamilton

Professional headshots are a great way to give your company a more personal touch. And although it can be a hassle, and it does cost money, commercial portrait photography is essential to the success of your business. From business cards and online profiles to the company website, professional headshots go a long way in promoting your business.

Benefits of Investing in Commercial Portrait Photography

  1. Portraying the Right Message

It’s amazing how many professionals out there have head shots that look like they’re cropped from another photo, or it doesn’t relate in any way to the business they are representing. Hiring a professional for your commercial portrait photography means that you’re getting years of expertise behind the lens. A commercial photographer can help you choose the correct style, clothing, location and more to get the best results.

  1. Uniform, Custom Content

Quality custom photos communicate your story, and can tie your marketing pieces together across the board with a uniformed look. Let’s face it: stock photos lack believability and don’t set you apart from your competitors. Unless you want to sell your company as being the cheapest, make sure your website, brochures and other marketing material scream of quality and trust.

  1. Create Desire, Communicate Quality and Foster Trust

It’s a fact: consumers believe photos. Having top quality photos of your personnel and happy customers shows potential clients what makes you different. It is important that your photos don’t look like stock photos – it must be obvious that they’re uniquely yours. Your photos should suggest, “We’re different from our competitors. Come take a look.”

  1. Get a Competitive Edge

Studies have shown that a majority of people remember photos better (and longer) than they do words. People typically ‘buy with their eyes’. Through websites and brochures, potential clients will be judging you and your services by the photos they see – high quality, properly themed photos can make all the difference between getting business (and not).

  1. Cheap Photos Cost You Money

You may be tempted to ask your neighbour who’s got a DSLR camera to take a few photos of you and your staff so you can save a few bucks. But unless he/she is a professional in commercial photography, you could lose money in the long run when the images don’t portray the feeling you’re looking for – and clients end up choosing your competitor.

  1. Represent Your ‘Digital Self’ Well

Let’s face it – a lot of work is done online these days. In fact, many companies never even meet their clients other than speaking over the phone and via email. That’s why it’s important to have a good quality photo that truly represents who you are.

Commercial Portrait Photography Doesn’t Have to Cost an Arm and a Leg

It’s true that a commercial portrait photographer doesn’t always come cheap, but high quality commercial portrait photography is the first thing your clients will see. So instead of worrying about the cost – worry about the quality. Think of it as an investment into the future of your company.

If you’re in the Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington or Hamilton area, give us a call to get a free quote.

How to Analyse a Commercial Portrait Photographer in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington & Hamilton’s Work Without Being an Expert

The most difficult part about hiring a commercial portrait photographer is knowing what to look for during the hiring process! Every commercial photographer will have a portfolio full of photos for you to look through which is great, right?! But do you really even know what you’re looking for? Most people don’t.

So what’s the good news? You don’t have to be an expert on photography to analyse a photographer’s portfolio – you just have to know what to look for!

What to Look for in a Commercial Portrait Photographer’s Portfolio

  1. Is the Image Properly Exposed?

An inexperienced photographer can often produce photos with incorrect exposure. Don’t know what they look like?

  • Underexposed: overpowering dark areas and shadows with dull colour. You won’t see any bright highlights that typically catch your attention in any photo.
  • Overexposed: the highlights appear as a burnt-out white colour and no detail will be visible in these areas.
  • Properly Exposed: You will see bright highlights and dark shadows. Colours will remain vibrant, and you can see the detail in most highlights and shadows.
  1. Are the Conversions Exciting?

Any amateur photographer can change the photo to sepia, black and white, etc. But has the change in colour actually added something exciting to the photo? Does it bring another element? A good commercial portrait photographer will only use these conversions when it really makes the image ‘pop’ by doing so.

  1. How is the Saturation and Sharpness?

These two separate adjustments often go hand in hand. A less experienced commercial portrait photographer will have unrealistically bright colours which take away from the actual photo. If the photo is too sharp, it will almost appear as though everything (or everyone) in the photo has an outline around them. Soft lines and soft colours look more realistic and natural.

  1. Are the Colours True to Life?

You spend a lot of time setting up the shot, getting colours right, etc. – and that should be visible in the photograph. Colours should be 100% true to life. Of course, photographers will often manipulate photos with funky colour casts in the end, but the colours need to be true to life in order for those to work well.

  1. How’s the Editing?

With digital photography, the photography hardly stops when the shoot is over. Next comes digital editing. Programs (such as Photoshop) offer pre-set actions that just don’t work on every photo. Check that the colours are right, that they haven’t over edited the photo making it look fake. Check for brightness, sharpness and exposure.

  1. Do You Like Their Style?

This may seem basic, but it’s incredibly important. If you’re hiring a commercial portrait photographer, make sure you see similar work they’ve done in the past. Have they only done weddings? Travel photography? Children only? These guys probably aren’t for you. Choose a photographer who not only has experience in the type of work you need done, but make sure you like the style in which they do it!

Looking for commercial photography in the Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton area? Give us a call to check out our portfolio!

Creative Techniques a Commercial Photographer Might Use in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington & Hamilton

Commercial photography isn’t and shouldn’t be boring! A good commercial photographer will be able to tell the story of your company through photos that entice the eye and help sell your business to potential clients and customers. But plain old photos don’t always do that, which is why an experienced commercial photographer will have a few creative tricks up his (or her) sleeve to create the best end result!

How a Commercial Photographer Makes Images more Appealing

Whether it’s equipment or camera settings, there are many ways that a commercial photographer can change the way the photo will come out.

  1. Reflectors

Especially in commercial portrait photography, reflectors are a photographer’s best friend! These discs can help the photographer create highlights exactly where they want them, making the subject stand out.

  1. Flashes

An experienced commercial photographer will come prepared with many different styles of flashes. These different flash attachments can create different effects of lighting, giving the photo completely different looks. Off-camera flashes can be set up close to the subject, even if the photographer is standing further back, to ensure the subject is properly lit up.

  1. Low and High Key
  • Low Key: dark tones dominate. The shadows are very dark, and the highlights are not too bright.
  • High Key: bright tones dominate. Dark tones are eliminated or reduced selectively to give a very bright look overall.

Both styles can be used to portray different emotions through a photo. You can discuss with your photographer if either style would be a good fit for your company.

  1. Movement

Are you looking for something a little edgy? Do you have a fitness centre or other active business? Special effects can be used to make it look as though you’re moving in the photo. Is your company fast-paced? This technique might be a good fit for you.

  1. Exposure Compensation

Exposure is used to compensate for dark and light tones in a photo. However, under or over exposing the light can sometimes be used to create a unique visual effect. In order to make this look like it was actually intentional (and not just a mistake) your photographer must be very experienced.

  1. Backlighting

A subject is back lit when the predominant light source is coming from behind the subject. This can give a beautiful, glowing effect when done properly. These photos can range anywhere from full silhouette photos to light, breezy and glowing photos.

  1. Creating a Shadow

A simple shadow can do a lot to create dramatic effect in a portrait. Depending on the image of your business that you’re trying to portray, shadows can really elevate your portraits to a new level.

Dave Merrow is a commercial portrait photographer with years of experience – and ensures that your photo shoot is anything but boring. Servicing the Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton areas for many years, you can find his work on websites, in magazines and other paper publications. If you’re looking for a photographer who has a creative yet professional flare, give us a call today to see what we can do for you.

commercial photography

Like any other worthwhile endeavor, taking quality photographs requires patience, skill, and practice. Not everyone who buys a camera — point and shoot, digital SLR (dSLR) or even film — can work in the field of commercial photography, but if you understand the basics there is no reason you cannot take photographs you will be proud of, photographs that capture the essence of your subject in all its splendor.

Here are the top 10 commercial photography tips that will help you take better digital pictures.

  1. Know your digital camera. A good way is to read the instruction manual. Most digital cameras come with either a printed user manual, or a digital version of the same information you can access on your computer. Digital camera manufacturers make user guides available online, as well as video tutorials to help customers learn more about their cameras. Once you have read as much of the manual as you feel is necessary, start taking pictures.
  2. Digital pictures take up lots of memory, so buy as many memory cards as you can afford. Most digital cameras today take photographs at 8 megapixels or greater, so plan accordingly. For a camera rated at 8 megapixels, a one GB memory card will hold about 300 images. When buying a memory card, make sure your camera can support the format, such as SD, MicroSD, and so forth.
  3. One of the reasons someone who chooses commercial photography is successful is because he or she takes many photographs by experimenting with different settings, distances, lenses, or lighting.
  4. Understand photo composition “rules,” such as the Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, Vie Here are the top 10 commercial photography tips that will help you take better digital pictures.wpoint, Background, and many others. Grasping the basics will help you achieve your goal of taking better digital pictures.
  5. Lay off using the flash. A major drawback to most point and shoot and even some dSLR cameras is they come out of the box with flash automatically enabled. Every time you take a photograph, the flash goes off, announcing your presence and sometimes ruining your ability to take natural, candid photographs.
  6. Practice by taking photographs of people in action, alone, or with other people, just as someone in commercial photography would. An animated conversation between rival hotdog vendors or two children playing with their toys makes for a great photo opportunity and a chance to hone your skills — the same way anyone who chooses commercial photography would when starting out.
  7. Practice makes perfect, so take lots of pictures. The beauty of digital is you can view images instantly, and delete the ones you are not happy with.
  8. When taking a portrait or other “staged” pictures, make sure the background fits the subject matter.
  9. Find natural borders to frame the photograph, such as tree branches gently hanging over someone at a picnic, or a person standing between the columns on a front porch.


Finally, try taking photographs with all of your digital camera settings — sports, portrait, or even “automatic.” You will be pleased with the results, if you keep practicing.