Styles 101: What is Illustrative Photography?

Many fans of photography aren’t aware of the intricacies of the craft, especially when it comes to the multitude of styles that professional photographers can offer. To help you better understand the types of photography available, this series of posts provides explanations and examples of every photography style listed in Photographer Central.

Example of illustrative photography from Image Junkie

Illustrative photography mostly accompanies text as a way to better explain a situation, product, or idea through imagery when words alone aren’t enough. Simply put, it’s used to illustrate and represent an object or idea.

This style of photography can appear anywhere, from magazines to textbooks to signage. Photographers who use an illustrative photography style might specialize in advertising, architecture, editorial, corporate/industrial, fashion, people/celebrity, travel, or lifestyle photography. Illustrative photography is usually more effective than drawings or paintings because the visualization provided is of the actual object, as opposed to a depiction.

Photographers who shoot in this style will often use a studio so that objects and people can be staged. Lighting is also a key factor, as it needs to be used to draw as much attention as possible to the object being photographed. 

Example of illustrative photography by E.Y.E. Imagery Studios

Example of illustrative photography from STUDIO AT

Example of illustrative photography by Shon Dahlgren Photography

Photo Credits: Image Junkie, E.Y.E. Imagery Studios, STUDIO AT, Shon Dahlgren Photography


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