How to Build a Solid Photography Brand: 5 TIPS
One of the hardest part of starting a business and attracting your target market is building a solid brand that shows off your personality and makes your business memorable! Especially since photography is such an oversaturated market, branding yourself is crucial to making yourself stand out and attracting clients. I know that when I first started building my brand I felt totally lost, and it was holding me back. I had no clue to to communicate my style and “vibe” through my brand and could not connect to any branding advice that was given to me at all.
Quick disclaimer: I’m definitely no expert in marketing or branding, and still have quite a bit of work to do myself! BUT- I’ve learned some valuable things along the way to where I am now. So, here are my top 5 tips to help you to build a solid photography brand!
1) Find your why and use it to deliver a message
I remember reading pages and pages of advice to make my brand about ME, and none of it ever clicked. My photography is for others- it’s a celebration of their love and a documentation of THEIR most memorable moments. It wasn’t until a mentor photographer referred me to the marketing strategies of Simon Sinek that things started to fall into place and make more sense to me.
The clearest, most passionate message that you can put out is your WHY. Why are you a photographer, why do you take photos of love stories, what about this fills you up to the brim? Take a moment to think about it, write it down, and communicate it to your potential clients. That is your most valuable voice.
2) Be clear and consistent
This part is hard- especially because I know how suffocating the grip of social media on your life can become. Far too often I’ve watched super talented photographers around me create epic photos, post a couple, and then fall off the grid. The reality is, if you don’t stay at the top of someone’s mind (top of mind awareness, look it up!) you will fall short of being remembered or recalled. Which is the last thing you want when people need a photographer!
Top of mind awareness is why a lot of photographers use Instagram and why stories are so beneficial. Put out consistent, branded content on your stories that are relevant to your photography, and only share certain aspects of your personal life. Use the same filter, or text style, or similar colors, or the same stickers in each one. Make them unique enough so when someone is mindlessly flipping through stories, when they get to yours they recognize you without even having to look at your name.
3) Find your style
Here’s a big one, that’s definitely a challenge when you’re first starting out. Finding your style is HARD, even I doubt my own every now and again. First find an editing style that resonates with you, and make sure you use it consistently throughout your work. Presets may be a little controversial but are great starting points for this- once you find a preset that matches the style you’re going for you can tweak it to make it your own.
Finding your style is important when it comes to your brand’s imagery as well. When I went about creating my website, I tried to let it coordinate with my style of photography- dark, moody, dramatic, but still focused around nature and love. Try playing around with colors you like, and tie in your imagery with your WHY. This is where hiring a graphic designer may help you lots!
4) Find a perspective that’s unique
I find that a lot of photographers have a super similar voice in the industry, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t even fell guilty of contributing to that myself. How many times have you read, “for adventurous couples,” or, “for the free-spirited” etc. etc.? Find an approach that’s unique, or that makes you stand out.
I definitely think that there are parts of your personality and interests that deserve to be a part of your brand, but I think it’s important to find personal brand associations that are different from the norm. Think of the things that define you as a person, and make people think of you when they see them. Those are important marketing tools! Those associations are strongest when they’re unique, and those niches aren’t already taken by others in the industry!
5) Take your time
Last and most importantly, TAKE YOUR TIME. Really! Branding is a long, long process but if you do it intentionally and take your time, you’ll find a voice and style that will attract your target market. If you’re just starting out, do lots and lots of photoshoots for free, and keep practicing until you find a style and subject matter that resonates with you. It may take a little while, but all the best things do.
Branding is definitely something that you shouldn’t rush through just to get it done- it’s an important part of the business you’re building! Work at it until you find something that feels right for you. An authentic brand is better than one that’s just pretty.
If this helped you, I’d really really love if you could tell me which tip helped you the most in the comments! Your feedback means a ton to me, and I’d love to keep putting out content like this if it helps you!