I get it, your clients come first.
But hear me out.
As photographers, we’re visual creatures. I mean maybe I speak for myself, but when it comes to existing in the world, I spend a lot of time in my day to day thinking about how great a specific space, or wall, or door, or tree would look in a picture. Usually for me it’s based around portraiture, so I tend to imagine people in the frame, in front of whatever cool thing I’m looking at, but that’s secondary to the point. The point is, even as visual as we are, we have the same tendencies that other business owners have. And that tendency? Creating really badass stuff for OTHER people, while neglecting our own. Even in the visual realm: our branding.
Professional Branding Photographers in particular…
If you offer brand photography, I’m going to call you out a little bit extra here, so prepare yourselves. (Are you prepared?) If you offer brand photography, and your own brand isn’t consistent and aligned to your ideal clients… you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to walk the walk. As creatives, and business owners, we’re busy. We’re all over the place all the time. You’re a photographer, but also a web designer, and a social media manager, and an HR professional. And all of the other million hats that you have to wear to actually grow your business – I know. I get it. It’s a lot.
But if you’re not treating your business the way you ‘d treat the business of a Realtor who came to you for branding photography, then you’re doing yourself and your clients a disservice.
Photographers aren’t the Exception
The rules still apply to us, unfortunately.
We’ve talked before on here about the importance of branding photography for businesses, but the same applies specifically to photographers. We’re not an exception, and neither are our brands. Now, I want you to think about how you found me. Maybe, you found this on Facebook. Maybe you saw a story on my Instagram profile. It could have even been a google search – but something about my online presence made you think to yourself “hmm, what she’s got to say is worth reading.” My bet? If you came in from any of my social profiles, a big part of that was my visual presence and the way that I speak on those profiles. And all of that content? That’s my BRAND.
Not to toot my own horn, but I “walk the walk” in that arena. Even before I hired a branding and web design pro to help me take things to the next level (shout out to Gabrielle Scarlett!!) I was constantly thinking about the mood and tone that my brand created for my ideal clients. I tweaked and changed my Squarespace site painstakingly at 2am until I felt it was just right, and that it would make my ideal clients go “oooooo she’s cool show me more.”
Everything you tell your clients about brand photography…
Brand photos will do for YOUR business too!
I took brand photos of MYSELF, to use on my presence overall, and now for my own brand they’re kind of iconic. It might seem super out of the box – me, eating doughnuts, in rollerskates. Okay maybe it’s not a question of it “seeming,” maybe it straight up IS outside the box. But let’s break it down. What did I want to communicate? I wanted my future clients to know that I’m fun as hell. We’re going to have a GREAT TIME at their session. So? Nothing says fun like doughnuts and rollerskates. And nothing says CONSISTENT like doughnuts and rollerskates with the specific colors used in my overall visual brand presence.
Why am I explaining all this? Because I am my BEST EXAMPLE when I’m working with brand photography clients. And you should be your own best example too. It’s easy to dread taking photos of yourself. It’s easy to lean on your portfolio, and have not a single photo of yourself on your website. And in a way, it’s easy to use that excuse – the “I do this work for my clients, not for myself” excuse.
Ignoring me is the easy way out.
(Still feeling a little called out? GOOD.)
It’s much, much harder to make the time to take your own brand photos, and use them. Harder, but vital. When I speak with a new branding photography client, I get to explain to them that the imagery I use on my presence is carefully and selectively chosen from my portfolio, to represent images I want to take again, so that the clients coming to me are clients who I already know I’ll love working with. I get to tell them about how clients regularly comment on my headshots, and how I set the tone for them from the moment they land on my homepage.
Then I get to tell them about how my entire booking experience has that same energy. And I get to tell them what a difference it makes. I get to tell them about my 90% client retention rate, and show them my client reviews. Yeah, I’m fun, but I’m strategic too, I promise. “If I can do it, you can too.”
And… like I tell them: If I can do it, you can too. And you should.