Advanced Commercial Photography Course course at Sessions College

Advanced Commercial Photography Course

3 credits

PHO 207: Commercial Photography II

Professional techniques for products, portraits, lifestyle, and more

Are you looking to branch out and make a career as a commercial photographer? This advanced commercial photography course teaches you how to market yourself and gain new clients, shooting commercial subjects like buildings, products and food for e-commerce, advertising, and lifestyle industries. Other exciting areas of focus include portraiture photography and photojournalism.

Exterior photograph by Felicia Kieselhorst

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Credit-bearing: 3 Credits
  • Classes start January, April, and August


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Felicia Kieselhorst

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. The Business of Photography

      To make living as a photographer, you can't be a purist. You'll need to market yourself and find a solid body of clients. This first lecture deals with those business fundamentals. You'll learn tips for setting up your business cards and creating an online portfolio. We'll discuss how to develop marketing strategies through the use of social media and blogging. Then we’ll cover general plan and preparation considerations for a commercial photo shoot

    2. Buildings Inside and Out

      Buildings are all around us, and many clients want photographs of them. This week's class teaches the specifics of taking pictures of the interiors and exteriors of buildings, such as the time of day for your shoot and weather conditions during your project. You will also study the composition of a building photography shoot by exploring symmetry, patterns, curves, and reflective surfaces. We will cover technical considerations and using the proper settings on your camera based on conditions on the ground.

    3. Product and Food Photography for E-Commerce

      E-commerce is its own special genre of product photography. This week we'll provide an overview of in-studio shoots for photographing products and food. We'll discuss the differences between food and product photography, and explore the industries that hire photographers to shoot these subjects. You'll learn how to set up an e-commerce photography shoot and examine considerations for shot composition. We'll talk about the proper camera settings and what people in the industry generally expec

    4. Product and Food Photography for Advertising & Lifestyle

      Shooting products and food for advertising and lifestyle industries is a different animal than shooting for e-commerce photography. This session provides an overview of how this type of photography can evoke the lifestyle, attitude, and personality of a product. You'll learn ways to plan, prepare, and scout a location for a lifestyle shoot. We'll review issues relating to shot composition and technical setup.

    5. Portraits for Personal and Corporate Clients

      I’m sure you’ve had many portrait shots taken of you. Whether it's a graduation, a CEO portrait, or a church pictorial directory, portraits are a popular photography genre. In this session we'll present some tips and techniques for handling this professional assignment. We'll share perspectives on equipment, location, posing a subject, and shot composition.

    6. Photojournalism and Editorial Photography

      In this final lecture, we will focus on what make a photo a journalistic or editorial piece. We'll examine what aspects of a photo qualifies it for the news or entertainment section of a newspaper. Since this genre may become part of your professional practice, we'll discuss the ethics of photojournalism that keeps the visual accounting of an event accurate and true.

Sample Student Work

Portrait photos by Sora Wilder

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

Creative photoshoots in this course help you develop your skills in self-promotion, architecture, product and food photography, advertising and lifestyle, corporate portraits, and editorial.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?
  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Access to a standalone digital camera with manual control over ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, and White Balance, that allows for shooting in RAW format.
What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • You will create a business card for your photography business.
  • Manage an online portfolio and add images as the course progresses.
  • Apply techniques in shooting both interior and exterior shots of a building.
  • Learn how shooting products and food for e-commerce photography differs from shooting products and food for advertising and lifestyle photography.
  • Shoot an e-commerce product or food dish in-studio using lighting and a backdrop.
  • Shoot a product or food dish using the advertising and lifestyle genre.
  • Learn what qualities about a photograph make it portraiture.
  • Plan and shoot two different portraiture projects using a model or models.
  • Learn the difference between journalism and editorial photography.
  • Find out about the ethics of photojournalism that ensures images of news events are truthful and unaltered.
  • Plan and carry out a photo shoot of a news event.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Classes start January, April, and August
  • 3 Credit Course
  • Project-Based: Exercises, Discussions, and Critiques

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $200
Total Course Price $1730

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Course Registration Form

To register for this course, use the form below to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

PD: Course Registration

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. In each course you’ll enjoy a series of lectures, projects, discussions, and critiques designed to stretch your creative skills, earning college credit for your completed course.

How Much Time Do I Need?

Classes start January, April, and August, and this course can be completed in a 15-week term. College credit from this course can be applied to a range of degree and certificate level programs at Sessions College.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).