Why Photographers Need To Build A Personal Brand
If you’re a photography business owner and you want to book more clients who value your work and time, then it’s time to build a personal brand (if you don’t have one already).
And if you do, there’s always room for improvement and growth!
I think we can all agree that working with clients who actually want to work with you specifically is way better than working with someone who hired you because you’re the “cheapest on the market”.
3 Reasons Why Photographers Need To Build A Personal Brand:
1. There’s only one you out there.
When you build a personal brand, it’s personal.
It’s about you: the photographer. You have your own unique story, philosophy, and perspective. You have a distinctive style, a certain aesthetic, the way you capture moments in time, and the way you interact with clients and make them feel seen, heard, and loved.
If you run your business like every other photographer out there (ex. using the same words / copy, posting pretty photos without context or storytelling, etc.), you’re not giving your potential clients a reason to hire you instead of another photographer.
By building a personal brand, you get the chance to share personal things about yourself and create that deeper connection -- like sharing your story.
Why did you become a photographer? How did you learn photography? Did you always want to be a photographer or was it something you discovered at one point in your life?
You can also share things about yourself in order to connect with your potential clients.
Think of the last time you made a new friend. You found common interests and hobbies, right? Maybe you both like iced matcha lattes. Or maybe you discovered that you’re both Libras.
It’s all about those connection points. It can start with something small and have the potential to grow into something much bigger, but the point is: You’re creating ways for your current and future clients to connect with you. Things to bond over and that’s how trust is built over time.
2. You get to charge what you want.
Have you ever felt like you “had” to take every inquiry that came your way, because you didn’t know when the next photography client would come in?
The great thing about creating a personal brand is that they can’t get the same experience with anyone else. No two people are the exact same, and so when people bond with you, they want to work with you. Not another photographer.
And so, you’re able to set prices that feel good and aligned to you. Y’know, instead of undervaluing yourself and undercharging. (Not judging, I’ve been there! But I want to point out that creating a sustainable business is so important. That was a hard lesson for me to learn.)
What other photographers are charging for their services is irrelevant, because you’re creating a unique brand experience for your clients. One that they can only get by working with you.
It’s not helpful (or a smart business decision) to have your photography business catered to everyone i.e. taking on any inquiry that comes your way. It’s important to know who exactly you want to be serving, so you can fully show up for them.
It’s better to be really good at one thing than mediocre at a million different things.
Again, it’s like maintaining those friendships. It’s better to have a few close friends who you know really well rather than hundreds of acquaintances you barely know at all. Focus on depth, not width.
It’s important to build a sustainable business, so your business can grow over time -- which is why it’s invaluable to create a branded client experience, so 1. you have repeat clients and 2. you have your current clients telling their friends and colleagues about you.
3. You’re not locked into “just being a photographer”.
If there ever comes a time when you don’t want to be a photographer anymore, you always can pivot. Go into other ventures. Or you can add onto what you’re already doing.
When you create a personal brand, you’re creating a brand around you. You’re not just a photographer, you’re everything else about you too.
Take me and my business / brand for example. I’m not just a brand and graphic designer.
I’m me. I’m Molly Ho. In addition to being a brand and graphic designer for photographers, I’m also a digital nomad, storyteller, friend, daughter, Asian-American, mental health advocate, and the list goes on. It allows me to be more than just one thing or another.
In the future, I could be a writer, an author, a speaker, a podcaster, etc. I’m not tied down to just being a designer. Just like you’re not tied down to just being a photographer.
Creating a personal brand isn’t for everyone, but it does open up a lot of doors if that’s what you want to do.
However, if you’re a photographer, as this post suggests, I would highly suggest creating a personal brand for your photography business.
Why? A lot of people, including myself (and maybe you too!), feel awkward and uncomfortable being in front of a camera.
I mean, the experience of having your pictures taken is pretty personal and it can often feel vulnerable and scary for your many people (i.e. your clients). So it’s important that your client feels comfortable and safe with you, which is why it’s important to build that trust, connection, and intimacy with them.
To quote one of my favorite authors, Brené Brown:
“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.”
Remind your clients that you’re in this together. Life (and business) is hard. It’s messy and it can often feel terrifying.
Share your story with others. I would even say share your insecurities; we all have them. I personally trust people more when they’re willing to share their weaknesses, flaws, insecurities, etc. It reminds me that they’re human and going through similar struggles and life experiences.
I rather hire and work with someone who gets it, than someone who pretends to be perfect and great at everything all the time.
One of the reasons why I’m so passionate about helping photographers grow their businesses is because it’s more than just about the pictures; it’s about the whole experience from beginning to end. It’s about how you make people feel, the interactions you have with your clients, and most of all, the relationship.
It’s all interconnected. Life, business, everything in between.
I’d love to hear from you.
I shared 3 reasons why every photographer needs a personal brand, but did I miss anything? What do you think? Why do you think your clients book you as their photographer? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Molly Ho is a branding and graphic designer for photographers and creative entrepreneurs. Her mission is to help you create a brand that will give your dream clients the confidence and clarity they need to hire you.
She believes in being (and becoming) the kind of person you want to see more of in the world, because change starts with you. And you have the power and capacity to become the person you want to be.
On the blog, she talks about topics including branding, marketing, social media, body image, and personal development.