Shifting Focus: Is It Time To Quit Photography?
By Kyle Wilson
In our last article, we discussed how to create a brand identity as a crucial piece of marketing for photographers. Once you’ve developed your brand identity, maintaining consistency becomes paramount.
A consistent brand reinforces your unique aesthetic and makes your brand recognizable. It sets you apart from the competition and makes a memorable impact in your clients’ minds.
Brand consistency is about offering a cohesive and reliable experience that resonates with your audience. It involves everything from visual elements to communication style, ensuring every touchpoint reflects your brand identity.
There are four key areas to explore to maintain a consistent brand.
Your values are the foundation of your brand. They define who you are as a photographer and what you stand for, and form the basis of real connections with like-minded clients.
Reflect on what truly matters to you - what drives your passion? Is it capturing authentic moments or creating artistic compositions? Whatever it may be, make sure your values align with the type of photography you want to be known for.
Consistency in upholding your values fortifies your brand's integrity. It attracts those who resonate with your style and philosophy. From your interactions with clients to the images you capture, let your values guide your decision-making process.
In our podcast, “The Photographer’s Problem,” Seattle-based wedding photographer Henry Tieu told us his best business decision was “when I recognized that there's enough room for everybody in this industry and I don't have to please everybody. Ever since I realized that I niched down to do what I actually wanted to do. I now get to say what I want to do on my website and push it out there on my social media channels, and that just attracts the kind of clients that are aligned with the kind of work I want to do.”
Identifying and sticking to his values built a brand that easily attracted his ideal clients.
Say your pet peeve is doing photos of the wedding party jumping in the air. Sharing those pics sends the message that you like shooting them, so don't share them, even when struggling to find content for Instagram.
Stick to what resonates with you and what you like shooting, and your brand will become associated with the type of clients you seek.
Your style is your visual signature that sets you apart from others. Think of it as developing a recognizable "look" that becomes synonymous with your brand.
Whether it's vibrant and colorful or moody and dramatic, align your style with your artistic vision and target audience. Choosing your presets and staying committed to that style is one easy way to maintain consistency.
Once you've established your style, stick with it. Consistency in your editing, composition, and overall aesthetic will make your work recognizable. Experimenting and evolving are essential, yes, but avoid drastic changes that might confuse your audience.
This is especially true for wedding photographers whose clients book months in advance. If your style changes two weeks later, it creates uncertainty around whether they will get what they booked.
Your style will continue to develop and refine over time but have restraint in how far you deviate. You’re on a path, and while you will ‘stray’ somewhat to improve and grow, stay the course to build a signature style that becomes a recognizable brand in the photography industry.
How you interact with your clients is fundamental to building trust and setting clear expectations.
Consistency in messaging is often overlooked but plays a pivotal role in building a solid brand. Your brand's voice and tone should be uniform across all communication channels, from your website and social media posts to client emails and in-person interactions.
It’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it.
Consider the language and tone that best reflects your brand personality and resonates with your target audience. Are you warm and friendly or professional and formal? Quiet and reserved, or boisterous?
Sticking with the same tone and voice will help build trust, create brand recognition, and ultimately attract the right clients who connect with your brand on a deeper level.
One means of creating communication consistency is to craft your brand story and use it as a guide. How did you get started, what are your values, what are you passionate about? What differentiates you from other photographers?
Working out your brand story will make it easier to refine your communications to reflect it and stay steady across all channels.
As photographers, we’re passionate about our art. Still, it's important to remember a successful business requires more than artistic talent alone. Building a consistent brand is part of the business side of photography, and it deserves just as much attention and effort as refining your technical skills.
Understanding your target market and developing a well-defined brand strategy are instrumental to building a consistent brand identity to attract the right clients, enhance your reputation, and ultimately contribute to your success as a professional photographer.
A graphic designer can help develop your signature look for your brand. Your brand identity needs a logo, cohesive color scheme, and consistent typography across various touchpoints.
If you need help finding a graphic designer, reach out to photographers whose branding you admire and ask who they used. They’ll likely be pleased to know that someone is a fan of the work they put into creating a brand identity.
Establishing a consistent brand is a cornerstone in marketing for photographers. It’s a dynamic, ongoing process - a marathon, not a sprint!
It requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to adapt.
By sticking to your values, staying true to your signature style, maintaining consistent messaging, and embracing the business side of photography, you lay solid foundations for a distinctive and successful photography business.