Stepping into the world of professional photography isn't just about mastering the art of creating stunning images. It's about becoming a dynamic, evolving brand in an industry that never stands still. As photographers, we are visual storytellers, but often, we become so engrossed in narrating other people's stories that we overlook our own.
Our brand image, digital presence, and continuous growth play significant roles in our journey to success. It really doesn’t matter if you are a solo photographer or one managing a fully integrated studio system that employs many people, your brand image is just as important to curate as the client galleries you so carefully work on.
It's time to turn the camera on ourselves and ask: are our personal photos reflecting who we are now? Is our website a living portfolio of our current work and experiences? Are we leveraging the power of social media to engage with our audience and showcase our evolution? Do we still embark on personal projects that fuel our creativity and passion? Are we living up to the expectations that we help set for our clients? And lastly, are we living up to the quality stories that our clients tell about us? Today, we'll delve deeper into these questions and explore some strategies that will help ensure that our professional growth aligns with the dynamic nature of our industry. Here are 10 different things that many photographers, and frankly, most small businesses, tend to struggle with managing while trying to take care of their clients.
Outdated Personal Photos
Our photographs often serve as our initial introduction in the digital space, making a lasting first impression. Therefore, it's critical that your images are updated to accurately reflect who you are now, not who you were years ago. A dated photograph might cause confusion or disconnect when interacting with clients or colleagues in person. Furthermore, updating your image also conveys the message that you are active, engaged, and evolving along with your craft. As photographers, we often promote the significance of quality, timely images to our clients; it's essential to uphold this standard ourselves. Besides professional headshots, consider including candid shots of you working or behind-the-scenes images. These can add personality and depth to your online presence. Schedule a photoshoot with a fellow photographer or set a reminder to take a new self-portrait every six months to a year, depending on how frequently your appearance changes. Additionally, treat these shoots as an opportunity to display your personal style or reflect your brand, making the photographs a tool for showcasing not only your face but also your unique vision.
Stale Website Content
Your website serves as a showcase of your skills, style, and creativity. This needs to be the flagship representation of yourself. Having great portfolio accounts on sites like 500px, ViewBug, or Behance is never a bad thing, but no client will ever search for you on any of those platforms. A high-quality, well-branded, content-focused website should be at the top of your list of things to maintain regularly. It should be a living, evolving platform that keeps pace with your professional growth. Outdated content could make potential clients question whether you're still in business or doubt your ability to deliver modern, compelling images. Regular updates allow you to highlight your latest projects, demonstrating your continuous work and improvement.
This doesn't mean a complete overhaul every month, but think about updating the portfolio with fresh work, adding blog posts sharing your experiences or insights, or refreshing your bio to incorporate recent achievements. Your website should reflect your journey and growth as a photographer. Nobody plateaus as a photographer. There’s never really a peak point where you have nothing left to learn, so take the time to showcase your latest and greatest work as you learn and grow. Set up a monthly or bi-monthly review to update your website. This could include adding new photographs to your portfolio, writing a blog post about a recent photoshoot or industry development, or refreshing the copy to reflect your current services and philosophy. To streamline this process, consider using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress that simplifies updates and changes.
Neglected Social Media Profiles
Social media isn't for everyone, so if you're one that doesn't find it helpful for your business, then feel free to skip this one. Over the past 20-30 years, social media has transformed the way photographers can engage with their audience. However, an inactive profile could give the impression of a stagnant business. If you use social media for your business in any form, then it is vital to maintain a consistent posting schedule to showcase your recent work, share insights, or interact with your audience. Keep in mind, it's not just about frequency; quality matters too. Share images that you're proud of, stories that resonate with your audience, and knowledge that positions you as an expert in your field.
Regular activity helps keep your audience engaged, increasing the likelihood they'll think of you when they need a photographer. When used properly, social media can be a powerful tool for fostering community through comments, likes, and shares, extending your reach further. Create a content calendar for your social media platforms. Plan what and when you'll post and stick to it. Tools like Heropost or Hootsuite allow you to schedule posts in advance, saving you daily effort. You can also use the story feature on Instagram and Facebook for more informal or behind-the-scenes content, helping to keep your profile active and engaging.
Lack of Personal Projects
Personal projects act as a creative outlet that allows photographers to experiment without commercial constraints. These projects can rejuvenate your passion, inspire creativity, and lead to unique styles or techniques you can bring into your professional work. For example, you might delve into a new genre of photography, test out unconventional editing styles, or experiment with different lighting techniques. Sharing your personal projects can also create a deeper connection with your audience as they get a glimpse into your passions and inspirations. Plus, these projects show that you're proactive, curious, and constantly evolving as an artist. Dedicate some time for regular personal projects. It could be an hour each week or a few days each month. Allocate some time to brainstorm ideas that excite you and then make them happen. These projects should be about exploring your creativity, so feel free to experiment and take risks. Share your personal projects on your website or social media to showcase your passion and versatility.
The photography industry, like many creative fields, is continuously evolving. Technological advancements, new software, changing trends—all these factors contribute to a dynamic workplace. As photographers, we should strive to stay up to date with these changes. This might involve taking advanced photography courses, learning the latest editing software, or staying updated on industry trends. Continued education not only enhances your skills, but also demonstrates your commitment to your craft. By showcasing that you're a lifelong learner, you'll instill more confidence in your clients about your capabilities and adaptability. Dedicate some time each week for learning. This could be reading a photography blog, watching tutorials on YouTube, attending a webinar or workshop, or even experimenting with a new technique. Keep an eye on industry trends and technology developments. Websites like LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare offer courses on a wide variety of photography-related topics.
Thanks for reading this far. Hopefully, you walk away with some ideas of things to improve and ways to evolve with your business and to grow as a photographer. The second part of this article will dive deeper into some of the more technical things you can do on the back end, with your website, and managing a good branded presence online.