There are few jobs that can be more rewarding than travel photography. But, as you know, it’s not all fun and adventures. You have to make a living out of your passion, and part of that involves developing a strong personal brand.
Here’s why it’s so important not to neglect your brand when you are a travel photographer, along with how to go about creating a brand for yourself.
Why Is Your Brand Important?
Coke or Pepsi? You probably have a preference. Many people are fiercely loyal to one or the other, when in reality they are two very similar drinks. This is mainly a result of branding.
In a nutshell, your brand is important because it is what defines you and what makes you different. Branding is essential for any business. It’s what helps otherwise similar businesses to stand out.
Your Brand Forms an Emotional Connection
Your brand is the way you make your clients feel.
Going back to the Coke and Pepsi example, these two companies spend millions of dollars each year promoting their brands. They don’t focus so much on how tasty their drinks are but more on how they make you feel when you drink them. They create an emotional connection.
Your brand affects people the moment they see your first photograph, and it continues to affect them as they browse your portfolio, contact you, and make a purchase.
Your brand should make people feel a certain way, which is more often than not a positive emotion. You feel good when you use your favorite products, and you want people to experience a positive emotional connection when they see your photographs.
How they feel when they look at your photographs is more important than the photos themselves. There are lots of amazing photographs out there for them to see, but it is the emotion clients feel when they encounter your work that really gets them excited.
This will, ultimately, help you to get more business. The world is not short of photographers, but if your brand makes people feel positive, they are more likely to want to do business with you.
It Gives You Recognition
A brand is also important for the recognition it gives you. As a travel photographer, you are well aware that there are many other photographers out there, as well as many more amateur photographers uploading millions of images a day online.
A strong brand makes you more memorable and helps to boost your profile. In time, people will seek out your photos because of who you are, and they will recognize your name rather than just your photos. When your brand is memorable, you are more likely to make a success of your business.
A Brand Separates You from the Amateurs
Anyone can take a photo these days. We all have powerful smartphones in our pockets, and many amateurs are capable of taking photographs in favorable conditions that look professional to those unfamiliar with the industry. Many will even outright describe themselves as dedicated photographers.
A strong brand helps to make you stand out, showing potential clients that this is your profession and you are dedicated to it. When people search for photographers to hire, they want the best — experts who will provide them with amazing experiences — and while anyone can claim impressive skills, an established brand proves that your skills have been tested and verified by the industry.
This will not only get you more interest from potential clients and allow you to charge higher rates, but it will also bolster the value of any stock images you sell to sites like Burst or Stocksy. The more value is attached to your name, the more people will pay to have access to even your basic images.
Your Brand Is Unique
Your brand is unique to you, and no one else can copy it. They may be able to try and imitate your style and your photos, but your brand is very much “you.”
This again helps with recognition. Over time, people will begin to recognize your brand as your own. It will prevent you from being another generic photographer, and your brand will set you apart. If you have an online store where you sell your work, you will already know how competitive the market is. In the world of e-commerce, this can be the difference between success and failure.
In short, you might be a wonderful travel photographer, but without a strong brand, you’re going to find it hard to compete.
How to Brand Yourself
Branding is something many photographers struggle with. They wrongly think that a good logo, a cool website, and stunning photos are enough.
But branding goes far beyond that. After all, anyone can do all that, and many photographers will end up copying each other’s styles.
Start by defining your market. Don’t try to do everything and appeal to everyone, and instead be specific. This is the first way to make your brand stand out. What type of travel photography do you specialize in? Make sure this is crystal clear.
You must also ensure your personality—and by extension your brand—is clear in everything you do. This is what generates an emotional connection.
So your branding should be consistent not just in the style of your photographs but also in:
- How you write emails
- How you present yourself at meetings
- How you listen to your clients
- How you dress
- How you communicate on social media
- How you make clients feel when they work with you
Every contact is an opportunity to convey your brand, so make sure you pay close attention to how you are coming across each time.
Finally, be consistent. Make sure your logo, website, font, color scheme, blog, stationery, business cards, and emails present a consistent brand experience so that they all become another opportunity to enhance your branding.
Become Your Brand
A strong brand is essential for any travel photographer. If you are fairly new to the industry, you may still be developing your brand. If you have been a photographer for a while, you might feel that your brand is not strong enough yet.
Start thinking about what makes you different, what makes you special compared to the other travel photographers. Make an effort to convey this in everything you do, and take advantage of all the benefits of a stronger brand.
Since 2016 I’ve travelled full-time working as a travel photographer and writer remotely. I move around at my own pace (I hate fast-paced travel) and like to spend a few months getting to know each place I base myself in. Currently in the north of España 🇪🇸 and loving it.