Introduction The limitations of the photographic medium determined the first photographs were of still life subjects. Within a short period portraits of people capable of keeping still during the long exposures required were possible. As photographic technology advanced diversification took place. The physical and financial restrictions placed upon family portraiture diminished as film and lens speed increased. As printing and reproduction processes developed, photography was used more and more as the primary source of visual reference. Today studio photography covers many genres. Within these fall advertising illustration, portraiture, corporate, architectural, film library and product photography. Advertising surrounds us in an urban environment, but within advertising illustration there are many other genres. Fashion, food, product, still life, car photography, etc. Each is a specialised area, but all have a common outcome. Communication. The style and power of visual communication have evolved in parallel with photography to the point where they are inseparable within the current concept of mass media. By definition, commercial practice means that as a photographer you become part of the marketing mechanism by which manufacturers advertise their product. It becomes your responsibility to communicate its visual merits and advantages. The fashion photographer on the other hand is trying to create an overall effect by communicating ‘lifestyle’ as a product merit. The catalogue photographer is more concerned with producing large volumes of work without sacrificing product detail. The main street portrait photographer is expected to make ‘little Johnny’ look like ‘little Johnny’ and the studio wedding and baby photographer is being paid to ensure a faithful record is kept of family members and sometimes to glamorise the ordinary.