Five Useful Tips to Help You Find Your Brand


There is such a lot of talk going around about branding. But what exactly is your brand, and how do you use it to help you reach a wider audience and market your photography? Your brand is the core of your marketing, the central theme around your photography.  Your brand is not your logo or your company name, unless of course you are Apple or Nike.

For people to come and hire you, or for you to even remotely get noticed, your brand needs to be crystal clear, attractive, exciting, and powerful. In fact, your brand needs to be powerful enough to rouse your potential clients into action, and at the same time, it needs to actively express you, what you’re about and your uniqueness. Let's look at some of the pro photographers out there. 

Martin Schoeller

​Martin Schoeller is a German portrait photographer who is well known for his distinct portraits of celebrities. He created a series of portraits that are lit on two sides with clarity only on the very front of the face and blur towards the back called Close Up. Clearly, this is what he is known for. 

Chase Jarvis

Chase Jarvis is a commercial photographer base in Seattle. He is known for his Chase Jarvis Live, in which he interviews a diverse range of business entrepreneurs in a black and white video.

Annie Leibovitz

​Annie Leibovitz is a celebrity editorial photographer based in New York. She created awesome real life Disney portraits with celebrities. She is also known for her Vanity Fair covers. 

Jeremy Cowart

Jeremy Cowart is a celebrity photographer based in Nashville. He is known for his humanitarian work, including his Help-Portrait campaign. Its mission is to empower photographers to use their skills, tools, and expertise to give back to their local community. 

These are just some examples of branding your work. Remembering your role can greatly affect your style and branding. Going back to the roots and knowing what your role is can help define your creativity. The role of a photographer is to create something out of nothing. A creative photographer brings life to a picture. This obviously involves not only imagination but a gift of recognizing the motion of a simple picture or a portrayal. The role of the photographer is also signified in recording the still images that are made into a product. The question is: what kind of photographer are you? There is a range of different types of photographer, from wedding photographers to commercial photographers. I remember when I started, I would tell everyone that I could photograph anything and everything. But, I came to realize that it's a challenge to get hired when you photograph anything and everything. For example, imagine you meet a doctor, and he says: "Yes ,I can do plastic surgery. Yes, I can fix a broken leg. Yes, I can perform a brain surgery." Would you go to that doctor?  Or, would you look for a doctor that specialized in a certain field? Photographers are the same way. Finding what you're great at only strengthens your branding. I know I specialize in portraiture and here's an example of what's on my website. 

A portrait of Nathan Kress.

A portrait of David Dastmalchian.

Once you’re sure of your brand, you also gain a tangible and easy way of talking to people about what you do. It makes it so much easier to do your marketing when you have it clear in your mind what it is you’re selling in the first place. For example, I specialize in portraiture; that doesn't necessarily mean I can't photograph weddings or even sports. Don't worry about getting an agent or a PR firm. Focus on your branding.

This is some of the photography I've done in the past that is not on my site, and yet, I can still perform.

Engagement that I photographed.

Wedding that I photographed.

1/6th scale toys that I photographed.

When you’re creating your brand, you are creating a memorable marketing message that will inspire people to take action and choose you over your competitors.

Here are five useful tips to help you find your brand: 

Do What You Do

Your brand is the core of what you do. What feelings or emotions do your photos inspire in you and in your audience? Did you know that peoples’ decisions to buy are partially based on emotions, not facts? 

Present Yourself 

Think about how you present yourself, not just on your website, but when people see you, talk to you on the phone, or read your email. Is your marketing consistently saying what you want it to? Are people getting confusing messages from you, or is it clear from the start what you do? 

Be the Audience 

Think like your potential client; try to get inside their head and see your photos from their point of view. How do they experience what you do, and how does it make them feel? 

Be Different

What is it you do that makes you stand out from the crowd? If you don’t think you stand out, then you need to think of a way that you can, because your brand should be somehow different from everyone else’s; it's not enough to be just the same as others. You must be better. 

Greatest Strengths

What are your best abilities? Do you know your greatest strengths? Choose an unbiased person who knows you well to help you decide what your top attributes are; your brand should be based around your unique strengths and abilities. 

Ultimately, creating a strong, memorable, compelling, and meaningful brand is essential for successful marketing and something you can do with a bit of thought and maybe a bit of help from your (unbiased) friends.

Isaac Alvarez's picture

Isaac Alvarez is a Los Angeles-based photographer. His work is a reflection of contemporary/cinematic. While his images are often on the edge of any situation, photographing the situation is not nearly as interesting as photographing the edges of human emotions.

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Great surname (Y)

I like the analogy with the medical profession.