To Post Or Not To Post: Curating Your Image

By Kyle Wilson

As a photographer, what you post online shouldn’t be decided on a whim. 

You need to think about why you’re posting.

What you post tells your story. Every piece you put out there adds to your public image. It’s not just about your photography services but conveying your artistic vision. An experienced photographer will steer the client’s experience and the emotions they feel from the first impression to the last and everything in between.  

The question then becomes: How do photographers decide what to post publicly, and how does this affect their brand and business?

Attract Your Ideal Clients

The content a photographer shares online is a testament to their style and the kind of work they wish to attract. 

The rationale is simple: by showcasing the work that resonates most with you, you will attract clients who are drawn to your particular aesthetic. It's about intentionally curating your digital gallery to mirror the work that truly speaks to you. 

Just because you take a great photo and the client loves it doesn’t mean you have to post it. In fact, if there is anything about a photo that you don’t love, whether it’s the dress or a facial expression, it’s probably better not to post it. 

For instance, say your client wants the overly cheerful and goofy snapshots - jumping in the air, throwing the bouquet, etc - and you are really not into these types of photos. While you capture these moments for the client, you don’t have to post them; sharing them means you’ll attract the people who want more of that. 

Being selective about what you share acts as a filter, ensuring that the clients who reach out align with your artistic vision and style. By the time they reach out to you, they already have a feeling of trust and confidence in your work. 

Set A Tone With Consistency 

When considering posting an image, ask yourself:

  • Does this image represent the work I want to do more of?
  • Is the image perfect, or did I only almost nail it?
  • Is it consistent with the brand image I want to have?

The goal is to curate a body of work that represents your best work and aligns with the clients you aspire to book. It's about building a brand that encapsulates your unique perspective and ethos. This approach requires becoming detached from your work so you can evaluate your images objectively. 

The decision to maintain a specific tone and theme extends to all facets of your online presence. Consistency in communication reinforces your brand identity and builds your niche, differentiating you in the market. 

Photographers like Jonas Peterson (@jonaspeterson) exemplify this concept beautifully. Through his storytelling and poetic use of language, Jonas creates a romanticized narrative that complements his photographic style. His cohesive blend of visuals and writing invites clients into a specific mood and atmosphere, setting a clear tone of what working with him would be like.

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A Word on Authenticity

Authenticity has become a buzzword, but what it stands for is pretty important: being your original self, not a fake copy you show the world. This genuineness is what people gravitate towards and what makes your work resonate on a deeper level.

This presents a challenge: Is it possible to remain genuine in a space that often demands a polished and marketable image?

Yes. The trick is to define who you are as a photographer and a brand that is sellable, marketable, and sustainable. 

Disingenuousness is not sustainable. We have gut feelings about whether a person is genuine, and they form the basis of our decision to trust that person. If you put on an act, you remove the ability to connect with your clients and capture images that tell their real stories. There's no room for fake or performative personas in an industry as emotional and personal as photography. 

Plus, if you are your own brand, what’s the point of faking it? You make your own rules. Be you to draw your kind of people. 

In a recent interview, wedding photographer Cat Ekkelboom-White advocated for shooting clients who share her values. “For me, an ideal client is an aligned client. It's about the way they see the world around them. It's not just what they do but why they do certain things. That is where the magic is… If you're not aligned and connecting with the clients you work with, how long are you actually going to want to do this for?”

Your Public Persona

Your online behavior, from the comments you make to the posts you share, paints a picture of who you are. In the photography community, where discourse is often public and interconnected, thinking twice before expressing an opinion can save you from tarnishing your brand. 

Staying true to one's brand while engaging in industry conversations requires a delicate balance between authenticity and restraint. If you look carefully, you'll notice that the biggest names in the photography industry rarely share their opinions publicly. They choose to speak only when they are wholeheartedly behind what they are saying. 

Do what they do: align your public statements with your brand’s values. 

A Lasting Impression

Think of it this way. If a prospective client's internet went down, and the last impression of your work was the final image they saw on your screen, would they be compelled to book you based on that? 

Taking control of your public image is not just beneficial—it's essential. Let your online presence be a true reflection of the artist behind the lens.

By weaving together a narrative that reflects your true self, you invite clients into a world where every click tells a part of your story. Clients who resonate with that are the ones you will connect with. 

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