What similarities exist between UX Design strategy and being a commercial photographer? Are there overlaps in methodologies?

I’ve been asking myself what similarities exist between my training in User Experience Design and being a Photographer. What overlaps in methodologies have I been using? I have LOVED my journey and expanding my scope in design thinking. Learning and discovering is what I love. To be an artist to observe. I find the nexus of creativity and business strategy fascinating. While User Experience (UX) Design strategy and commercial photography might seem like vastly different fields, there are several similarities and overlaps in the approach to creating experiences, particularly in how both disciplines focus on understanding audiences, creating compelling narratives, and delivering impactful experiences and they don’t need to stop in digital but also include analog.

Removing The Ego 

Step 1 - always learning this one! My role in producing pictures needs to align with the business’s creative direction or visual identity. So, while I have freedom to create art I still need to create a pictures for my customer that will match their business. Same in design by removing the ego the website experience will be built for the customer or user that includes the best functionality not the designer’s ego.

Audience-Centered Approach

Both UX designers and photographers need to deeply understand their target audience. In UX design, this involves creating user personas, conducting user research, and understanding user behaviors. Similarly, commercial photographers need to know who their clients’ target demographic is, what appeals to them visually, and what emotions or reactions they want to evoke through their images.


Both fields are about storytelling, just through different mediums. UX designers tell stories through user flows, wireframes, and interfaces, aiming to guide users through an experience. Photographers tell stories through their images, using storyboards, capturing moments, emotions, and narratives within a single frame or several scenes of video.

Emphasis on Emotion and Engagement

Both UX design and commercial photography seek to evoke emotions and engage their audiences. UX designers want users to feel a sense of ease, enjoyment, or accomplishment when using a product or website. Photographers want viewers to feel something when they look at an image—whether it’s joy, curiosity, desire, or any other emotion that aligns with the intended message.

Focus on Visual Communication

Both disciplines heavily rely on visual communication. UX designers use visual elements such as color, typography, imagery, and layout to guide users and convey information effectively. Photographers, of course, communicate through their photographs, using composition, lighting, color, and framing to convey messages, evoke moods, and create impact.

Iterative Process

Both UX design and commercial photography often involve an iterative process of creation and refinement. UX designers create prototypes, gather feedback, and iterate on their designs based on user testing. Photographers might do test shoots, review images with clients, and make adjustments based on feedback before finalizing the project.

Attention to Detail

Both fields require a keen eye for detail. UX designers must ensure that every element on a screen serves a purpose and contributes to the overall user experience. Similarly, photographers pay attention to details like lighting, composition, props, and angles to create visually appealing and impactful images.

Client Collaboration

In both UX design and photography, collaboration with clients is essential. UX designers work closely with stakeholders to understand business goals, user needs, and project requirements. Photographers collaborate with clients to understand their vision, brand identity, and desired outcomes for the photoshoot.

Focus on Usability (UX Design) and Usability (Photography)

While the term “usability” might seem more directly related to UX design, it can also apply to commercial photography. In UX design, usability refers to how easy and intuitive it is for users to interact with a product. In photography, the usability of an image refers to its practicality for the intended purpose—whether it’s for an advertisement, a website banner, a product catalog, etc.

Impact and Effectiveness

Ultimately, both UX design and commercial photography aim to create work that has a significant impact. UX designers want their designs to be effective in achieving the desired goals, whether it’s increasing conversions, improving engagement, or enhancing brand perception. Photographers want their images to be memorable, attention-grabbing, and effective in conveying the intended message or selling a product.

While the specific tools, techniques, and deliverables may vary between UX design strategy and commercial photography, the underlying principles of understanding audiences, telling stories, creating engaging experiences, and collaborating with clients are shared elements that create the overlap between these two creative disciplines.