What is editorial photography? – Daniel Motta Photography

Most experienced photographers understand that different types of content require different photography methods to accompany them. For example, a website product listing requires a distinctly different photographic style than a branded marketing campaign for the same product. 

Editorial photography typically describes images that accompany feature articles in magazines or other publications, although this term can also describe photography alone that tells a narrative through the imagery it presents. Editorial images are highly emotive, and often portray the subject in a more intimate setting than many other types of photography. While this type of commercial photography usually embodies a more artistic approach than other photography styles seen in commercial images, it has become increasingly common to use this type of photography in advertisements and other media outside of magazines. Modern portrait photography can also display editorial elements.


 Editorial photography is most readily found printed or posted in magazines and it focuses primarily on human subjects. When politicians, celebrities, and other public figures give interviews for these publications, they usually also participate in an editorial photoshoot that requires them to pose in a variety of outfits and locations. 

The editorial images that accompany the article are meant to give the topic — and subject — more depth than printed words alone. A photographer who shoots editorial photography works closely with the journalist to learn the purpose and tone of the article they plan to write, and may collaborate with them on a mood board prior to the interview. 

The resulting photos from an editorial photoshoot are captivating, thought-provoking, and can even portray a sense of movement in a still image. 

Commercial photography, on the other hand, can be found in any digital or printed advertisement, and nearly always emphasizes a product or service as its focus. A marketing specialist may weigh in on which key features of the product they wish to highlight in their ad campaign, and the photographer must then plan their photoshoot according to these specifications. 

The primary purpose of commercial photography is to persuade its audience to purchase the product or service. For this reason, commercial photographers may use a more technical approach when shooting this style of photography and may have less creative freedom than one who shoots high fashion and editorial photography.


Despite these key differences, editorial images can be used as promotional material. Often seen in publications that feature high fashion photography and advertisements, many prominent designers use editorial photography to weave a story about their brand’s identity. Due to its inherent ability to convey emotion, and perhaps also its common association with compelling written articles, this style is becoming an increasingly popular choice for brands that wish to reach new audiences.


Practice is the best way to master any type of photography. Check out some of our favorite photography tips to learn editorial photography:

  • H3: Create a mood board. Look for images on your favorite photo sharing platforms and save them to a mood board to help inspire your shoot. This way you can begin to visualize each of the editorial photoshoot concepts that you are naturally drawn to, as well as identify a common thread of elements that you can focus on when capturing your subject.
  • H3: Define your story. Editorial photography is great because it tells your audience a compelling story through imagery. Write out ideas of the story you’d like to tell through your photos, and how you’d like to convey that story in an image. This broader conceptualization will help you choose props to include in your photo, and will help your human subject understand the role they play in the shoot.
  • H3: Choose your subject. You may opt for casting one or more models to bring your vision to life; or simple everyday items may be the star of your editorial photoshoot. After that you can easily determine which location, lighting conditions, costume, and props are best for telling your story.

 Follow these steps to learn how to shoot editorial photography. If you choose to conduct your shoot outside, check out our blog about how to shoot portrait photography outdoors for more photography tips.

 When considering how to do certain types of photography, from fashion photography, street photography, or editorial photography, working with a professional photographer is always a great option. Contact us to learn more about our professional photography services.