Developing your identity
A photographer should create their own unique identity to show why they are different than the competition. In recent years the word “branding” has pretty much been beaten to death but it’s a valuable word to understand. Branding means creating a unique identity (in look and message) and then projecting it consistently across multiple marketing platforms (whew, that was my sentence of the year!).
Let’s go back to the Peoria pet photographer reference and start developing an identity. What is the stronger message?
1. I take pictures of a whole bunch of things but like to photograph pets, too.
2. I really like animals so I decided to be a pet photographer.
3. I was raised on a farm and have been surrounded by animals my entire life. I breed show dogs and have 2 horses that my family cares for. Large or small, when it comes to pets, I photograph them all.
Okay, a little corny but you get the idea. Figure out why you are the best photographer for a particular job and let people know about it. That’s your identity.
Your visual style is also a huge part of your identity. Are your photos appreciably different than the competition? Will the average consumer be able to see the difference? When it comes to visual style, do you have to explain why your style is different or do people see it and ‘get it’ right away?
You’ll also need to come up with a logo because this will represent you on all of your marketing materials. An effective logo communicates something about you or your services, something that is distinctive and relevant to what you do. Just because it looks cool doesn’t necessarily mean it communicates your message. A lot of photographers use a clip art camera as part of their logo. While this loses points for originality and style I guess it does show what you do (in the very broadest, most general sense). Hopefully you can come up with something better that ties photography and pets together. When in doubt hire a designer (I am definitely not a designer) or use the KISS method (keep it simple, stupid). I recommend getting help with this. That’s what I do.
Now that you know who you are it’s time to let other people know who you are.