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Editorial vs. Commercial

Lesson 1 from: Travel Photography: Landscapes, Aerials, and Skylines

Ian Shive

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Lesson Info

1. Editorial vs. Commercial

Lesson Info

Editorial vs. Commercial

Diversity is really key. And as we'll talk about in this travel photography class, diversity continues to always be the key element. Whether it's in how you capture your shots, or how you run your business, and all of the different ways in which you can think about your shots coming together, that is really the thing. We'll see if I can continue to add the educator piece on and we'll see. Being last at photo week, I think, is very intimidating because everyone is going to compare it to, "Well, those other classes were pretty good." But anyway, travel photography... I'm a landscape photographer. I love being outdoors, I like nature. And so a lot of people don't think of me as a travel photographer. And the reason for that is because... As I talk about with diversifying your business, if you're on your way, let's say you're on your way to go photograph some great animal migration or some incredible national park somewhere, something like that. You're going to pass through and have other ...

opportunities and experiences to photograph that could be great for your business, they could add a revenue channel. And so, I'm not just a nature photographer. I remember a lot of my first nature photos, I remember going to the Everglades, and I'd fly into Miami and I would photograph the Miami skyline and end up using that in my stock archive, and it sold to airline magazines and different places. And so, I'm not gonna just go and say, "Okay when I get to my final destination, "that this is the place I'm going to photograph." So there's a lot of different ways to approach it, and for me it's been very important to try and diversify your work. And so, I want to talk about what is travel photography, because it is a very broad term. Anywhere you go when you leave your couch is travel. (laughter) In my opinion. You're getting up, you're going out somewhere, if you're going a cafe or whatever, that is something that I'm going to constantly reiterate throughout this. Because anywhere you go, anytime you leave your house, it becomes the potential for travel photography. And I think a lot of people think, I have to travel to be a travel photographer, when it's absolutely not the case. Your own hometown could be a place or a destination that people will seek out. Sometimes your home is the destination and it's the best way to start and hone your craft as a travel photographer. So, you have to just change the way you think. And so much of any great image, or photography, or anything you do in this space, is less about the technical approach and more about getting out of your head and saying, "Oh, I have to spend a lot of money and travel to some "exotic location, or spend a lot of money at a fancy hotel." I mean, there's definitely ways to do it and I'm going to talk about that, but you don't have to do that. And you can get started close to home, locally, and really make a travel photography career begin for you. There's different kinds of travel imagery and I'm going to constantly show you the difference about what they are. And they have very important distinctions between the two, and very important implications for knowing what kind of images you're shooting. Editorial means magazines, anything maybe news-oriented. Editorial does not need a release. But it also means, and this is going to be tricky, if you're on private property, like in a hotel for instance, that you do need a release. Usually within an environment that's private, you need to have the paperwork to back it up if you want to get it published. So, editorial is the stuff that you don't need. And I'm going to show you some examples of what editorial and what commercial might look like. Commercial is the advertising side. It's the fancy pool inside of a hotel, it might be first product photographers, it could be products, so on and so forth. But commercial is typically when you're trying to sell it. So like those fancy ads that you might see, where it looks really, really produced, that would be a commercial kind of travel photo, like the pool or so on. I'll give you two examples here. Something like this would qualify as an editorial photo. I mean, who doesn't love going to Positano in Italy? This is something that anybody can walk up, take, get a long lens as the lights turn on, it's a really beautiful location. You don't need a release, it's technically almost, for all intents and purposes, a landscape image. And so, this image is something that has been used, many, many times in different magazines. Again, airline magazines are a great venue, I'll talk more about those, but that's a great example. This was shot for a commercial entity. This was something that was actually done for this winery, which is in Central California. It's Deep Sea Wines. And I spent almost four years, four years over time, documenting their... their winery. Now, that said, this is taken from an area on the property. You'd actually have to get access to that part of the property to go and get a photo like that. The other option might be you can shoot it right from the road. If you can shoot it from the road, or you can shoot it from public, then you don't need to worry about the release status. So I'm going to talk more about all that, but this could be deemed one or the other. But the reason this is commercial is because I accessed it from private property with permission for them, for their marketing and for their campaign.

Ratings and Reviews


Great class! Lots of useful information on on how to take, market and sell your photographs, including what constitutes editorial vs commercial work.

Student Work