It seems like someone is opening a photography business around every corner. With the affordability of digital cameras, and allure of a fun, creative outlet you can make money from, its easy to say the market feels oversaturated.
On the surface level, each photographer isn’t all that different, we all have access to the same equipment, with the right amount of funds we have access to the same training, and resources. But there is one thing that can’t be duplicated, and that is the YOU factor.
You’re personality; your likes dislike, experiences are what set you apart as a photographer. Everything you have done, seen, and experienced in life are what makeup you! Those are the reasons people love you or hate you!
Today we are going to take a look at how you can harness the power of personal branding to help you stand out in the sea of other photographers.
So when you think of a typical brand, you might think it includes a logo, some colors, and a font. When I say McDonald’s, Nike, or Apple, I bet you see their logos flash across your mind! These brands have millions and millions of dollars to plaster their logo all over everything from cups, billboards, commercials, Facebook ads, and more!
I don’t know about you but I don’t have millions of dollars to plaster my logo everywhere. Also, if I had millions of dollars, I would have a second home somewhere warm for the winter! So what other option do we have to build client awareness and loyalty? I want to introduce you to personal branding. Personal branding is taking who you are as a person and infusing it into every part of your business.
Today on the Wise photographer Podcast, we are chatting all about creating and building a personal brand!
So what is a personal brand? I want to give you some examples of personal brands, both inside and outside the photography industry. First off, one of my favorites -Chip and Joanna Gaines. These two have created a freaking empire based on their personal brand. Chip and Joanna first entered the national scene when they stared as the hosts of the hit HGTV show Fixer Upper. Now they are not the first people to have a show where they fixed up a house. Yeah, every house is a little different, but the process is the same gut, design, install, reveal, repeat. Why did Fixer-upper take off like wildfire?
We got to know Chip, and Jojo thought the process. We got to meet their kids, see their chickens. We got to see Chip’s goofy side when he ate a cockroach while showing a gross house. We saw how in love they are with each other, learned their family values, and fell in love with shiplap along the way. They have now quit the show, launched a magazine, wrote multiple books, have rug lines, a product like at target, their own online store, and completely transformed the city of Waco, Texas with the market at the silos, Silos baking co. Magnolia Table, and The Little Shop on Bosque.
People are flocking to Waco; I’m trying to convince my husband to take a drive there while we are in San Antonio next month!
But here is the deal this Magnolia empire had a little bit of a rough start. Head back to the first couple of episodes of Fixer upper. You will see Joanna with this dark makeup on and clothes that feel too formal for her. You will see Chip in a collard shirt trying not to crack jokes while he’s talking to the cameras.
Jenna Kutcher also has a super amazing personal brand! She is known for her laid back beachy style, her relationship with her husband, and love for mac and cheese.
A personal brand is a connection to an individual. —
It’s when our clients can put a face to a business and build a connection and relationship with the person behind the camera.
I want to give you a little exercise. Grab a paper and number it 1-30 I want you to hit pause and come up with a list of 30 things about you- this list could include things you are passionate about, stories from your past, surprising things about you, funny quirks that make you the person you are, things you like, things you don’t like, your thoughts about travel, jobs you’ve had, hobbies you have, or roles you have in life.
Here are some things on my list
I’m married; I’m a mom, my family farms and ranches, former rodeo queen, I only wear black socks, the flavor of bubble gum makes me sick, I love black and white, I have 4 fiddle leaf fig trees, I love yoga, I moved around a lot as a kid, I love modern farmhouse look, my husband has had 3 heart valve replacement surgeries, we have a greenhouse in our back yard, I’m more of an old dog person. My faith is really important to me, I’ve had a miscarriage,
Grab a notebook and make your list!
Ok, so all of these things make up you; these are things that other people will either have in common with you or find interesting if they don’t. Each one of these items is a little touchpoint with people.
Start seeing how you can weave these things into your branding and marketing. This could look like sharing a funny story about how I was a kid I was starting to get car sick but just told my parents that my head was really hurting while we were driving along the winding highway through the rocky mountains. My mom gave me some bubble gum Tylenol, which I later threw up all over the car two miles down the road, and now I can not stand the smell of bubble gum!
Or sharing photos of my fiddle leaf fig trees as they grow, and giving tips for caring for these picky plants!
You now have an entire month of things to talk about on social media! On your list, you are going to have some things that are worthy of a blog post while other things might just be something that makes an appearance on Instagram stories every once in a while, and some things might fall in the middle and be great content for an Instagram post or Facebook post.
If your feeling super fancy take some markers and color code the topics you want to share on stories, posts and on your blog.
Once you do this for a month, repeat this same list again next month with the same 30 topics. After two months, take a look at which of the touchpoints have had the most interaction. So what does interaction look like, it could be likes, it could be comments, DMs, people talking to you about in person!
A few things will sort themself to the top of the list. Hopefully, you will have about 3-5 items that got more traction than the rest. This list of 3-5 are things you want to strengthen and start to highlight across your website, your social media, and your visual branding.
These are the pillars that you are building your personal brand around.
Some of my pillars are my husband’s heart surgeries, my love for plants, and especially my fiddle leaf fig trees, being a farm wife, and my kids.
“But chelsy, what does your husband’s heart surgeries have to do with your wedding photography business?” Our journey has made me appreciate and value what I do so much more. I care about photographing couples who are committing to standing by each other’s side through all life will throw at them. I’m charged with documenting the day they make that promise, the day the step into the unknown hand in hand. It’s something I hold sacrad and sharing that story and how it’s changed me is going to attract couples who have the same values.
That one seems to fit well right but what do plants have to do with wedding photography?
Here is the thing I get it that not everyone who keeps up with the growth of my fiddle leaf fig trees is going to be getting married any time soon. Maybe they are already married. But I bet the odds are pretty high that they know someone who is getting married, and guess who is going to be top of mind when someone asks them if they know any wedding photographers. They are going to tell their friend you need to check out Chelsy, she has these cute kids, her husband just went through these major surgeries, and she has this giant fiddle leaf fig tree that I’m obsessed with!!
The best thing about a personal brand is you can’t be copied. Sure some other photographer could copy your logo, your brand colors, but they haveing had the experiences, the struggles, the likes, and dislikes that make up your personal brand. Your personal brand is what is going to let you stand out in the sea of photographers to attract the right clients.
Alright, guys what did you think? You have a list of 30 things to share on social media and on your blog right now! So if your in the middle of your slow season like I am, you have no excuse to show up! I would love to hear what you included on your list of 30! Do you hate bubble gum too? Hope over the Wise Photographers Facebook group and share your list or get some ideas on what to include on your own!
See you next week!