Anyone with a social media account and a smartphone can build an online photography profile, so how is it possible to stand out among the crowd? Ellie Rothnie explains…
Photo by Brooke Lark.
We live in a world where everyone has a camera in their pocket and access to a number of social media accounts in which to instantly share their photography. There is more engagement with imagery now than ever before, so the question is: How do you stand out and make a name for yourself? The key is to build a good photography brand.
Find a direction
It’s important to think of a brand as more than just a logo. It’s a carefully considered direction for the way in which you communicate, whether this is via a website, blog, social media account, presentation or email. It’s the way you choose to present both yourself and your photography, so that your peers and customers know exactly who you are, what you do and what you stand for.
This might sound a bit too deep and meaningful, but figuring out why you’re unique and what makes your photography stand out is a good place to start – it’ll provide a firm foundation for everything else that follows. In any business, big or small, this is how a brand strategy is born.
Looking at what type of photographer you are (or want to be) is a good exercise. Ask yourself: What do I want to be remembered for? Maybe you want to be known for your wildlife photography or perhaps as someone who specialises in portraiture. Your niche could be even more specific; photographing a single species or only black and white portraits of musicians. Focusing on something that instantly makes you identifiable is the first step towards developing your brand. It will also help to make your approach to photography different from the rest.
Have a good website
Think of your website as your shop window; it’s the way that most potential customers will approach you and they need to be impressed. Your website will be the most visible aspect of your business and it should look professional. This is particularly important for a photography business, where images need to sell you and your expertise.
It’s easy to neglect a website because most of us use social media profiles such as Facebook or Instagram to showcase our work. However, social media alone isn’t enough. In the competitive world of photography, it’s more important now than ever before to have a professional looking website which showcases your best curated images and explains who you are, what you do, what you stand for and how your customers can buy your images and acquire your expertise.
You should also focus on making your site easy to navigate and ensure that it can be used effectively on a variety of devices such as mobiles and tablets. A basic understanding of search engine optimisation (SEO) will help search engines find your website and increase its rank. Google is currently adopting mobile-first indexing, meaning data will be gathered from a website’s mobile version (as opposed to desktop). Mobile-first indexing is still very much in its infancy, but I’d certainly recommend optimising your site for mobile devices nonetheless.
Communicate regularly and consistently, and post valuable content
There are many communication channels that you can use to tell people about your brand. Social media has become a big part of many people’s everyday life. It has numerous benefits to help communicate what you’re about and provides a platform in which to showcase your work. It’s also useful when promoting your services, a new book, or any workshops or talks you might be hosting. Social media also provides a means of communicating with like-minded photographers and allows you to instantly follow the work of your heroes and peers.
One word of advice though, you should always treat social media with respect. You must assume that whatever you post will always be out there.
Social media isn’t the only avenue of communication though. You can raise the exposure of your brand and images via blogs, newsletters, magazine articles, trade shows, and talks and workshops. The key thing to remember when communicating via any of these methods is to put valuable content out there, something that is consistently interesting to your audience or potential customers. Content that is informative, educational, entertaining or useful (in conjunction with a curated image) will always stand you in good stead, when building your photography brand.
There’s one important point to close with; be true to yourself. However you decide to approach the areas that I’ve covered in this blog, do so for you. Then, your creativity and uniqueness can only shine through.
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