Many photographers don’t realise the importance of really good personal branding.
We get it—it’s often a one-(wo)man-show type of situation, you’re working as a solo photographer and taking care of all sides of your business. Branding simply doesn’t score at the top of the list of things you need to focus on.
Or perhaps what started out as your passion project is slowly turning into more than a hobby. You’re still trying to figure out the best way to make the big jump and finally start your new career.
No matter what your current situation is, building a strong brand image in the mind of your current and future audience is one of the most important things you can do. This will help to differentiate your work and open yourself up to new, exciting opportunities.
We prepared a small guide on personal branding for photographers to help you take your career to the next level right now!
What Exactly Is Personal Branding?
There is an incredible amount of photographers out there. How do you distinguish yourself from everyone else?
Personal branding is all about finding your own unique personality and style, and putting it into one unified identity for your business. This will build a very clear image of your brand into your audience’s mind. It defines your excellent service, the quality and reliability of your products, and the unique creativity and art you bring to the industry.
Developing an easily recognisable identity is now as important as purchasing a professional camera. You’ll already be one step ahead of many others who haven’t invested in their own personal brand yet!
Define Your Message.
The first step you can take to start the journey towards your own personal branding is to determine your “why”—in other words, the message you want to express and share with your audience.
What is your vision? What is your mission? How do you want your audience to be impacted by your art? These are all questions you should be asking yourself at the very beginning of the process.
In a world that is oversaturated by brands, you ideally want your own brand to represent you in an authentic and refreshing way, thus setting you apart from the crowd. Telling your story, showing your values as a professional and being true to yourself… These are all things that will help your brand resonate with your current and new customers, as well as prove the excellent quality of your services.
North Carolina based photographer Lindley Battle takes a very personal approach to branding and introduces herself by telling stories of her past, her passions and her goals. Her friendly, positive attitude, combined with her beautiful photography, motivates her audience to get in touch with her and experience what she has to offer.
Visualise Your Brand Image.
Your personal brand’s visual identity is the first thing your audience will see when getting in contact with you. That’s why it needs to be absolutely awesome!
Each little detail counts and one of the smallest elements is actually one of the most important. Having a professional-looking logo that fits your style is the first step to creating a successful brand image that will surely impress your customers.
The key component is consistency. Your audience will be able to recognise you easily, thanks to certain elements that repeat throughout your brand and never change. It doesn’t have to be too difficult to set up! At the start, these can simply be your logo and a particular style that you choose for your photography.
Aussie food photographer Rachel Korinek did just that. Her amazing photos look great next to each other on all platforms and her delicate calligraphy logo represents her business beautifully.
Build Your Audience.
Obviously, your goal is to make yourself and your photography known. Thanks to social media and, in particular, platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, it is easier now than ever before!
By sharing your photos, inspiration and process, you can start building an audience who is interested in what you do, your ideas and your message. This will not happen overnight—it takes time, consistency and regularity to create a true community of people who will want to follow your work and not miss any updates. However, as long as you share content you are passionate about, you’ll enjoy every step of the way!
Connect with Likeminded People.
Just like in most aspects of life—you are only as good as the company you keep. Building a network of photographers and artists can truly help your personal brand as well as your reputation in the field.
Start by looking up artists and finding the ones you admire the most. By interacting with them, posting links to their exhibitions and supporting their work, you’ll start your own community of people who have common passions and goals. This benefits all parties involved and helps create engagement around your brand and your work.
In other words, your audience will grow and therefore your customers will as well. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
So… What Now?
The world of personal branding can be a bit overwhelming, we get it! The best way to tackle it is to just get started. Yes, we mean right now! You’ve already got your amazing signature logo (if you haven’t, you can get one here) and you’re ready to begin getting your photos and your brand out there.
At the end of the day, you’ll always be a photographer first and foremost. Having a defined brand will help you reach a bigger audience and attract more customers. However, the quality of your photography and your own personal creativity should always come first. Do the work that makes you happy and focus on creating and sharing amazing photography!
Have you already got your own personal brand? If not, did we inspire you to create one right now?
Let us know your branding-related goals, struggles and achievements… We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!