Hi. I'm Linnae Harris, web designer & photographer
As a skilled photographer, the artistic side of your business may come easily.
Developing a logo, building a website and choosing a great company name are important visual elements when creating your business’ identity. However, it’s the marketing and establishment of a photography brand statement that will become the actual meat and potatoes of your business.
Your photography brand message is the main idea that all of your future marketing (and visual elements) will work to promote.
It should emphasize how your client benefits by using you and what makes your photography business different and better than the competition.
It helps keep your information streamlined and effectively ensures you are promoting yourself properly to your dream clients and not the masses.
It should act as the blueprint for all the marketing and branding you create.
In simplest terms:
Having a good photography brand statement is how you let your clients know what separates you from your competition.
To do this, you need to go beyond a generic, vanilla description of your photography business and instead find what makes you “pop!”
Brand Photographer for Creatives
Purposeful photographs that drive profit
Marketing-minded imagery to convey brand equity without getting lost in the scroll.
This is where a little bit of introspection comes into play.
Time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and really think about the type of photographer you are and who exactly you want to work with.
Easy question right?
Maybe not. Think beyond the title (i.e. “family photographer”, “wedding photographer”, etc.) and dig a little deeper.
Yes, you are a wedding photographer, but are you one that is front and center throughout the entire wedding making sure you get your best shots? Or are you someone who is more likely to be unobtrusive and focus on the candids which arise when everyone forgets you are even there?
Dig deep and really think about who you are and what exactly you are bringing to the table. Emphasize your niche.
Think basic demographic information (age, income, location, lifestyle, opinions, values, etc.) and the personalities you think would work best with you so you can complement each other.
Do you work great with high-energy families? Or maybe you fit best with a more sophisticated and formal crowd.
Knowing which clients are best suited to your skills will help you narrow your focus.
Always remember you’re not going to be a perfect fit for everyone and that’s not a bad thing.
“Every family has a story. Photographing light and joy-filled family stories, from birth and beyond.”
Depending on how long you’ve been a photographer in your area, you probably already have a good idea who your direct competition is.
Now think about what makes you different.
Maybe you offer freebies, have specialized style/content, or can provide make-up/hair services.
Sometimes you get lucky and there may be little to no one that offers exactly what you do.
Other times you can be one of hundreds of photographers in your field and it may feel like finding something to set yourself apart is impossible!
What happens then?
Can you really find something which separates you from the competition that is actually marketable?
One of the most useful things you can do to separate yourself from the rest is figure out the pain points of your potential clients.
“Huh?! What are “pain points” and why do I care about them?”
Pain points are basically marketing speak for the problems a potential client has.
They are important to you because, once identified, you drastically increase your chances of a potential client hiring you over the competition.
As you are coming up with all the elements of your marketing plan, it can be easy to forget the main reason a client wants to hire you- to solve their problem(s). And who are they going to hire? The person they feel can solve it/them best!
Maybe you have a family with vastly different skin tones who can’t seem to find a photographer who knows how to make all of them look good. A family with a child with sensory issues which makes it hard for them to stay still in front of a camera. A couple looking for a photographer who can handle a hard to reach elopement venue.
Each of these “pain points” provides an opportunity.
Which pain points does your client solve by hiring you?
By recognizing a client’s pain point and highlighting yourself as the perfect solution, you are able to set yourself apart from the competition and put yourself at the top of their list!
“True to color wedding & family photographer helping my fellow nerds & introverts feel comfortable as hell in front of the camera.”
With this information in front of you, you should be able to come up with a couple of statements that will identify: who is the client that will best fit your photography business, what said client is looking for, and why you are the best photographer for their job.
Just say no to generic and vanilla!
As a business person, we instinctively want to grab the attention of as many potential clients as possible.
While this may sound like a great idea in theory, attempting to attract the masses ends up diluting your strategic message.
All you will do is dilute your positioning and end up with a lot of people that will see you as “ok”, but none that will think “Wow – they totally get me!”
Who gets excited and wants to spend money on “ok”?!
Are you a wedding photographer that prefers natural light and outdoor shoots over urban shots in an indoor setting?
Which sounds better to you?
“I work with brides to create great images of their dream wedding.” or “I specialize in adventurous brides who are looking to create memorable shots in natural, open air wedding venues.”
With the 1st message you will very quickly get lost in a sea of wedding photographers, but with the second you will not only grab the attention of a bride who is planning the country wedding of her dreams, but also find a perfect fit for your photography style.
Like so many things in life, your branding statement should have a quality over quantity approach.
The right clientele will create a pool of loyal customers who value your work while a bunch of random clients will usually only lead to short term relationships that are focused on the best deal.
With the right photography brand message, you will now have a great guide to direct your future marketing.
“Adventure wedding photographer
Washington DC wedding photographers helping you experience your wedding at a deeper level and giving you the freedom to have an adventure!”
Think about where the problem may lie.
Are you trying to do too much and attract too many people outside of your scope?
Let your brand message keep you on the right path and maybe use the idea somewhere outside of your photography business.
Is the idea something you feel is a significant part of your business but doesn’t match the marketing message you created?
This may be a sign that you need to readdress your strategic message to ensure you are developing and marketing your business properly.
While redirecting and restructuring your business shouldn’t be a monthly or even annual project, your photography business is not meant to be stagnant.
Maybe you started in your mid 20’s as a wedding photographer but as you got older and had children you found your network and interests leaning more and more towards family photography.
The business and brand message you created as a wedding photographer will differ greatly from the one you need as a family photographer.
Simply put – you will use it everywhere!
When I was running my family photography biz full time, I had this statement in the top section of my website.
“Asheville family photography
Photography for easy-going families that capture images that make your heart sing.”
When a client would inquire, my emails and my phone script would explain how I work with playful, easy-going families. I use minimal posing and instead will direct them in movement, prompts, and play to elicit natural interaction between the family members. I reassured the moms that their children would feel like they were on a playdate, not a boring photoshoot. I let them know that it was ok if their kids didn’t behave perfectly.
This main idea was then fleshed out and became a big part of my copy on my website. It’s what I wanted to be known for. It helped me to determine what type of voice to use – emotional. I used fairly sweet and sappy language because I wanted to pull on my client’s heartstrings.
Once you decide on your company’s main messaging, it will actually make your marketing much easier. Now you know your “theme” and this becomes the foundation for your marketing.
Don’t worry that you’re repeating yourself. It’s ok. No one is going to be following you that closely and will notice that you repeat this message often. One way to help with this is to have some different variations of how you write and talk about your key brand statement.
Turn it over to a professional.
Don’t be afraid to look for outside help.
I’m a photographer, turned web designer and helping photographers figure out their marketing message is a big part of the work I do with clients, when I’m designing a website for them.
If you’re looking for a website re-design, I’m happy to help you craft a branding statement and will show you how that can become the marketing foundation for your whole website.
“Uniquely beautiful, website design for talented photographers by an experienced designer and photographer”