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Representing Yourself Through Imagery When You’re Not a Photographer

April 24, 2017

visually representing your brand

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Hi I’m Morgan! I’m a photography educator and Raleigh, NC newborn photographer and family photographer.

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You’re a creative business owner, but you’re not a photographer. You rock at what you do, but you feel like no one knows it. You feel like you can’t accurately communicate your awesomeness on your website and/or on social media.

Sound familiar? Here’s your problem: IMAGERY. You’re likely relying on your iPhone or random graphics you come across to visually communicate your brand. The problem with this is that there’s not a solid strategy behind it and you therefore lack cohesiveness. And truth be told, I see this ALL the time.

The reality is that your online presence is your storefront. Whether that’s your Instagram account, your Facebook page or your website, you have to own the fact that whatever you put out there on those platforms is how you’re presenting yourself to the world.

When that look isn’t cohesive or professional, potential clients immediately lack trust in you. They can’t see what they’re going to get if they invest their money in you. And would you fork over a large chunk of change if you weren’t sure what you were going to get in return? Probably not.

So how do you obtain that cohesive, professional look when you’re not a photographer? Here are a few options:

1. Hire a photographer. Set up a branding session with a photographer who does know how to photograph your products or services. Tell them what exactly you’re trying to communicate with the images and what exactly you want showcased. Have them shoot photos for your website and social media, so that no matter where someone finds you on the Internet, the look is cohesive.

Be sure to choose a photographer with a similar aesthetic to your brand. If your brand is dark and moody, don’t hire a photographer whose photographs are light and airy or vice versa.

2. Create a color palette. Perhaps you don’t want to hire a photographer and you want to take this on yourself. Fair enough. If you’re going to do that, though, the first thing you need to do is decide on a color palette to represent your company and your brand.

Create a Pinterest board to see what exactly you’re drawn to or simply rely on the colors you’re most frequently drawn to in your work. Narrow it down to five colors and consistently use those colors in the photos and graphics you post online.

3. Choose your fonts. In addition to creating a color palette, you’ll need to choose a couple of fonts that you feel represent your brand well. These usually will coordinate with or be the same as the fonts used in your logo.

Use these fonts EVERYWHERE. If you want to throw a quote up on Instagram, don’t go scouring Pinterest for it. Open Adobe Elements and create a little graphic with your chosen fonts and colors. Once again, be consistent with the use of them, and it will make the overall look and feel of your brand more cohesive.

4. Buy a DSLR. This is going to sound harsh, but I almost never follow a business Instagram account with all iPhone photos. I know I’m judging a book by its cover, but when I open an account to see a bunch of less than stellar photos, it doesn’t entice me. And let’s be honest. It probably doesn’t entice your potential clients either.

If you don’t want to invest in a photographer, then you need to invest in a camera AND learn how to use it. Take a beginner’s DSLR course and learn the basic functions of the camera. Learn what light to shoot in and what light not to shoot in. Learn what angles to photograph at and not to photograph at. Figure out the basics and take your own photos.

5. Partner with a photographer. Perhaps there’s a photographer or two that usually photographs weddings that you also contribute to. Whether you’re coordinating the wedding day, creating floral arrangements or invitation suites, the photographer is likely going to have images that you can use.

Reach out to said photographer to see if they would be open to you using their images on social media and/or your website with proper credit given. I can only speak for myself, but I’m always happy to help fellow vendors out if they agree to credit the images back to me.

6. Purchase stock photography. If you know the color palette and general feel of your brand, you can start searching for stock images to use. SC Stockshop is a perfect example of a site that’s chock full of images to fit different brands, colors and feels.

Once again, use these images across all of your platforms to create that cohesive feel. It’s usually not cheap, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks, it’s likely less expensive than hiring a photographer for a branding session.

Really and truly, you can do all of these or one of these, but just be sure to make an effort to represent yourself well visually. I can’t tell you how often I hear about issues with not being able to book X amount of clients or not being able to increase pricing and reach a new demographic.

Nine times out of ten, the problem has nothing to do with your work. It has to do with how you market and brand yourself. Potential clients need to be drawn to you, they need to trust you, and they MUST be able to see what they’re going to get if they invest their hard earned money in you.

So start representing yourself the way you deserve to be represented. You may have to invest a little money here or there to get the ball rolling, but the ROI will prove that it’s money well spent.

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  1. Bailey Rideout says:

    Number 4 is so true and reality I need to face. It’s so hard to invest in something I don’t necessarily need to produce a product. I have been going back and forth on types of cameras a lenses for shooting invitations. Any tips on how to choose a camera?

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