What is Art Directed Photography? That is when the Art Director or the Designer who is creating the advertising, in which the photo is to be used, directs the photographer. Why can’t the photographer just shoot the photo without an art director? They can, but it is a gamble. Because the Photographer does not know how the photo will ultimately be used in the final design. Be it Product Photography or Advertising Photography the Art Director calls the shots,
A professional photographer will know how to set up the lighting, which lens to use and how to take a quality shot. An Art Director selects the proper product or subject and angle. The Art Director has ad copy, headline and layout concepts in mind before the shot is taken. Brochures, Catalogs and Product Releases require special photo techniques.
I have had to rework several action race event photos shot by freelance photographers. They were great photos; they just didn’t fit the layout. Typically photographers shoot “tight” and horizontally. Most magazine display ads and catalogs are vertical rectangles and need space above and below the subject for copy and headline. To fill the void areas on a provided photo, the graphic designer has to add in sky and foreground by cloning in Photoshop. Art direction would resolve this problem.
Photo images are often considered a canvas that can be manipulated in Photoshop. Digital photo files may be enhanced, adjusted, cloned or portions removed to produce final photographic elements that meet the advertising objective. The photographer provides the raw file but the Art Director will make the modifications.
An Art Director / Marketing Consultant might have the product or subject angled or facing a specific direction to accommodate type, insets (other photos), graphics, and logos in the layout. A photographer operating independently would not know this. If it is inconvenient to have the art director/ad designer on scene when the Commercial Photoraphy is taken, they should at lease confer with the individual taking the photos and even email or fax a rough layout to assure that photo will work in the intended layout. Art directed photography always produces better advertising layouts.