This is a guest post by Erica Kelly from Flourish Collaborative. You can find her bio at the end of the post. Oh, and make sure to leave some comment love and check out her website! Thanks for the post Erica!
Let me start by saying that working with photographers has become my favorite type of project. You guys are visual, have stunning photos (that make our brand files look extra awesome), and challenge us by setting you apart from the hoards of photographers out there. And I mean hoards.
In fact, it’s usually the hoard that brings you to us. When dozens (sometimes hundreds) of photographers are vying for attention, how do you craft a look and message that resonates with your target the most? That’s where Flourish Collaborative comes in: we help creative business owners build lifestyle brands worth believing in.
And after working with a handful of you, I’ve learned a few things.
1. Photography = storytelling. So what makes you different?
We get that you’re capturing treasured moments. We get that you’re preserving memories for generations to come. But what are your core beliefs that will speak to your dream customer above all the other white noise out there? The most successful photography brands aren’t trying to be everything to everyone. They have a specific target and a specific message, and they’re crushing it.
Cathrine Taylor had booked over 50 (50!) weddings the year prior to working with us. She was overbooked, overworked, and tired of shooting less-than-ideal clients who saw her as “just another good photographer”. After diving into her ideal customer profile and breaking down the types of images she really resonated with, we repositioned her as a “feel good photographer”; someone who strives to capture those between-frame moments of pure bliss.
2. You may not be a gold calligraphy + watercolor brand (and that’s more than ok).
Cut through the trends and make sure that the aesthetic you’re putting out there is appropriate to your business. I’ve seen photographers want to use fun and energetic language through their copy but are getting stuck on floral antler logos. Make your insides match your outsides and then run with it. And if you’re DIYing your brand for the moment: make a list of descriptors next to a list of words you would never describe your brand as. What types of imagery can be extracted from these two lists? Use this as a guide when assigning an identity to your business.
Kinzie Ferguson fell in love with boudoir and empowerment photography at first sight and needed her branding and messaging to reflect her new-found focus. Her brand persona is confident yet girly, badass but humble, and could rock a leather jacket over a vintage floral anyday. The final brand marks speak to those who aren’t afraid of baring skin and professing love for every curve.
3. Your customers want to label you (and this saves you a ton of time).
Are you a commercial pet photographer who’s sick of getting newborn inquiries? That’s because the work and messaging you’re putting out there is still attracting that type of client. Get super specific about who you are (and who you’re not) and I promise the right customers will find you. You have to be willing to turn some people off in order to turn the right people on.
If you’re not looking for romantic Southern charm to bleed through your engagement photos, then Wendy Norman with Apt. B Photography isn’t for you – and that’s totally ok. Her style is fresh and whimsical, celebrating the beauty of Savannah whether rain or shine. After going through our brand process, Wendy honed in on what photos she shared on social media, and because of this has gotten more dreamy clients who specifically want her style than ever. Make it super clear – within seconds – of your photo style, and aim for as many ‘no thankyou’s as ‘yes please’s.
If these truths have helped you gain some clarity about your business, feel free to follow Flourish Collaborative. If these truths have you slightly freaking out about the way you’ve been running things, no worries. That’s what we do. You can get a clear breakdown of how we help business owners just like you here.
After graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) with a BFA in Interior Design, Erica honed her professional practice and design skills at local Savannah firm Rethink Design Studio. Mixed with a love for visual arts and graphic design, Erica’s interior design philosophy evolved into a greater focus on user experience in a branded environment. She brings that same cohesive thought process to the table at Flourish Co., offering insight on how creatives can build a lifestyle brand from the inside out.