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Advertising photography is one of the principal applications of commercial photography. At the large commercial level, advertising campaigns are organised by an advertising agency, commissioned generally by the marketing department of the client organisation. For small and medium sized enterprises, (SMEs), one off advertisements may be organised directly by the marketing department, or by the company directors. Government, the public sector, charities and political campaigners are also substantial purchasers of advertising.

Photography for advertising generally involves a close relationship between the photographer and the art director of the advertising agency. The role of the photographer is to flawlessly realise the art director's creative vision, generally through careful planning, immaculate camera technique, and sophisticated and extensive postprocessing. Photographs executed for advertising carry a high price premium, and generally the contract will involve exclusive use of the images for a certain period of time.

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