Shifting Focus: Is It Time To Quit Photography?
By Hailey Harrison
I don’t want to voice an unpopular opinion, but photographers aren’t generally known as “team players.” Not because they don’t get along with others (in fact, if you’re a family portrait photographer you know exactly how important it is to be friendly, patient, and reasonable) but because they usually work alone, rather than with a team.
And we tend to think of branding as something that belongs to a team, an organization, a company with multiple employees. But do photographers need to build a personal brand, too? And why might it be helpful?
First of all, let me clarify what I mean by a personal brand. A personal brand image is a professional brand identity for a photography studio, a company as a personality.
Personal brand identities are more popular now than ever before, as we see more creatives strike out on their own with freelancing or their own companies, rather than working for someone else.
As a photographer building a strong brand on your own, have you considered a personal brand identity — yourself?
Well, it’s not exactly that simple. A brand identity isn’t just about your own personality — it’s also about how you’re branded, the services you provide, any specialties that you have, and the audience you cater to. So, it’s not enough just to say, “My name is Dave, and I take pictures.” The details are what help you to market yourself to your target demographic.
It also encompasses the visual identity that you use, such as how you design your business cards, website and timeless photography brand with a logo generator.
Building a personal brand identity can be extremely valuable for a photographer because it sets your brand apart for the target audience and can be designed to reach them. This saves on both time and your marketing budget.
Building your personal brand is a lot like building your portfolio. It showcases who you are and what you do, packaging it in an easy-to-market bundle.
It’s also helpful in terms of marketing strategy and promoting your business. As consumers, we’re attracted to brands who know what they’re doing and who they are, brands with a solid visual identity. It’s no different when there’s one person behind the brand as it is when there’s a hundred.
Building your personal brand identity gives you something solid to market. But how can you do it?
First of all, the most important thing in building a personal brand identity is to stop and take stock of who you are and what you want to do for your customers. In building my own brand, I’ve found that it’s important to narrow down the details rather than leave them too open. For photographers who do photo shoots, it’s better to state upfront that your specialty is pet photography, for example, and build a strong brand on that rather than trying to be all things to all people.
Later on, if you want to add to your skill set, you can reassess your brand. But start small and be true to yourself.
Secondly, once you have your brand identity dialed in, translate it into visuals and content. That means your logo, a website with your portfolio, social media platforms, blog articles, any advertising that you want to do, and anything else that can be directly used as promotional material. I like to double-check and make sure that all my branded content falls in line with who I am, so that it doesn’t muddy the marketing waters.
Thirdly, hold the line. Go back to your first step and check it against what you do from here on out, making sure that your identity is in harmony with itself. It’s fine to adjust and adapt over time — that’s only natural, and growth is good. But don’t do something wildly out of keeping with your personal brand identity, as it could alienate your target demographic.
Building a professional personal brand identity for your photography business is really a constructive project, and it takes time to get from the foundation to the roof. Be patient with yourself, be true to yourself, and you’ll see real growth from within.