Branding sucks. It’s annoying. It pigeonholes us. And if we don’t have a distinct brand, we may as well have started photographing yesterday. Or, more annoyingly, photographers who literally just started photographing yesterday can have better branding/presence/awareness than you, and you’ve been at this forever. Hopefully these tips will make the process a little less painful.
In May, I started a journey to improve and stabilize my portrait business, and to mark my territory as an industry leader. I told myself if I completed the 90-day checklist and fully gave in to the process, I would reward myself by investing in the production of a branding video. Four key elements were necessary for organizing and shooting a project of this magnitude while keeping our studio operating during the busiest time of the year. I think these four things are necessary in everything we do.
I continually try to push creative image editing to its limits. There are so many ways to tweak an image, to get that dialed-in look and feel that you envisioned when you photographed it. Since the change from Camera to Color Profiles in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom, the creative possibilities expanded and became so simple to use, adding them to the Basic panel and allowing users to adjust the amount it’s applied.
Imagine this: clarity in your marketing and throughout the experience you provide clients, and clarity of vision among your employees. We entrepreneurs talk a lot about the importance of brand clarity, but the definition of this common phrase remains ironically unclear. If that is true for you, your businesses may struggle to stand out in the marketplace and eventually fail. But there’s good news. Allow me to guide you through some practical strategies that will help you clarify your brand message to increase your bookings and sales.
Your brand is your identity. It defines your value proposition, the promise of value to be delivered. In other words, it sets the clients’ expectations and gives them a sense of security, trust and hope. Branding doesn’t have to be confusing or convoluted. Let’s keep it simple. Here are six questions to help you develop an intentional, cohesive brand identity that sets you apart.
We need all the tools, techniques and creativity we can muster to tackle whatever situations we encounter when we’re crafting killer images on location. Sometimes available light and a reflector, scrim or both get the job done. Other times, Mother Nature needs a helping hand from a flash. Balancing ambient and flash doesn’t mean each source contributes the same amount of light. In most cases, ambient light is the dominant source providing the majority of the illumination in a scene, while flash adds additional light where needed. You may need very little light from your flash to get the job done, while other more dramatic looks call for more flash and less ambient light. Having these creative options makes incorporating flash into your ambient shoots so compelling.
I hope you realize that your brand and the perception of your brand can directly influence how much money consumers are willing to spend with you. It’s amazing how many photographers and business owners in general don’t grasp this seemingly simple idea. No one cares how good of a photographer you are. Process that for a second. Let that settle in. It just doesn’t matter. Business is at the core of your success. Here are some things you can do now to get your house in order so that you and your brand are seen as trusted and valued.
Bringing in strategic partners for any project helps expand your reach, creativity and brand awareness. It’s time to expand the concept and go beyond just sharing the cost of production and mailing for a brochure or postcard. Here are a few ideas to start thinking about.
Here are the five things that define your brand: logo, imagery, website, social media presence and totality of your past client experiences. Let that sink in. These are all of the things you have to pay attention to when you are building your brand. Let’s dive into each of them and figure out exactly how important they are to your success.
I am frequently asked if the LGBT market is big enough to make it worth pursuing. Absolutely. Tapping into this market is a whole new obstacle. LGBT couples are unlikely to contact a photographer simply because they like our work. They need to feel secure that your business is a safe place. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything about LGBT couples or their history. It means only that they know you are someone who desires their business, free of judgment.
People who are willing to work for cheap are taking away jobs from the rest of us, goes the common wisdom. By offering their services for very little, they are hindering professional photographers from booking jobs. But are they really? The short answer is no, cheap photographers aren’t cheapening the field. They aren’t taking your job. Why? Because they don’t know how to do your job.
Cost-based pricing is an excellent place to start when trying to determine what to charge for a product, but it doesn’t work for everything. This month, we examine additional factors that may break the cost-based mold. Some strategies allow you to charge more than what cost-based pricing suggests, while others force you to charge less (or get creative).
Free Photography Education
Sign up for a free account and get photography training, tips and special offers from our partners delivered straight to your inbox.
The way gravity behaves underwater can help you create photographs you wouldn’t be able to on the surface. For underwater photography, you can use natural light or bring in strobes. With strobes, you create a mood that conveys a message or theme. Give your subject some interesting props and light to deliver it.
In addition to being a professional in your field—competent, experienced, skillful—you can leverage your personality simply by being human and allowing those you work with to show their personality as well. This creates much stronger relationships, and people and companies will want to hire you again and again because of how enjoyable it was to work with you.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if your dream company hired you for your ideal gig? They love your work, they think you’re the perfect person for the job and they pay you your rate, no questions asked. This does not have to remain a fantasy. One powerful way we have made this happen in our business is by creating spec projects.
You know that feeling you get when you finish a shoot and realize how many hours you now have to work in post? Wouldn’t it be nice to just import in Lightroom, click a few presets and export files? That’s the point of Lightroom’s efficiency, but there is some additional finessing required to ensure your images are consistent while maintaining your look and feel. Here are 10 tricks to help you get through this grueling season and edit faster.
What is behind the shutter?
Behind the Shutter is a free online photography training and educational resource created to help both professional and amateur photographers run successful photography businesses – covering lighting, posing, social media, marketing, post-production, pricing, sales and more.
Sal Cincotta created Behind the Shutter to give back to the world of photography. As an up and coming photographer, Sal was struggling to find answers to basic questions. Most of the magazines out there were filled with fluff. Sal needed and wanted to create something that would challenge photographers, something that would educate them.
Sal, an active wedding and portrait photographer in the St Louis metro area, wanted to bring a sense of real world understanding to the magazine and photography education.
Our mission is to create and elevate the photography community by providing relevant and timely education. At Behind the Shutter, we believe that an educated photography community will raise the bar for all photographers around the world.
Photography training and education for the modern photographer
In today’s competitive landscape, quality online photography training and education is priceless to your growth. Unfortunately, most publications contain a ton of fluff. No real meat to their content. Not at Shutter Magazine. We are committed to the photography community and improving professional photography by providing current, insightful, and in-depth educational content.
Training topics include photography lighting techniques, photography off-camera flash tips, photography posing guides, photography business concepts and marketing strategies, Facebook for photographers, boudoir and glamour photography training, high-school senior photography concepts, IPS (In-Person Sales) strategies, family photography, lightroom tutorials, photoshop how-tos, and much, much more.