If you’re in the early stages of starting out in the wedding photography business world – or any self-employment or start-up venture, for that matter – huge congratulations. It’s overwhelming at times, yes, and certainly exhausting, but it’s so, so worth it. I promise!
I bet no one told you that there’s so much admin involved in starting a business., hmm? Officially registering as self-employed, setting up your business bank account, creating a suitable workspace, writing your business plan, building your offering – it’s never-ending. And then, of course, there’s the ‘fun’ stuff that still takes an inordinate amount of time and energy – making sure that you’re fully kitted out with lenses, business cards, a website and branding. And that brings me onto the topic of this blog post.
You see, there are actually two important ‘B’ words when it comes to setting yourself up as a wedding photographer – yes, business, but also branding. The business-related tasks might seem endless and complicated, but the reality is you can often get some advice or an answer from Google. ‘At what stage should I get an accountant?’ ‘Are wedding fayres worth it?’ Plenty of people will be happy to chip in and give you their views. And you should listen. Your brand, though? That’s an entirely different matter.
Brand-related tasks and decisions are just as complicated, actually – but the key thing is that they’re personal. No one can tell you what your brand should be or look like. You really need to dig deep and consider who you’re pitching to and what you’re offering them. Who is your target audience? That elusive ideal client? Everything connected with your brand – from the website design, the colours, the fonts, the images you include in your gallery and the packages you offer – should appeal to them. Your brand can even impact on so-called ‘business’ decisions such as how much to charge for your packages. If your brand is high-end, for example, your prices should match.
The ‘ideal client’ question is a vital part of the branding process. Who is that person? What do they like? Where do they do their shopping? What’s their favourite TV programme? Do they take sugar in their tea? OK, so the last one is a bit of a silly one, but the rest are all entirely valid questions. The deeper you dig into the ideal client conundrum, the more honed your offering will become. Don’t worry about limiting yourself – of course, you’ll still pick up other clients who perhaps don’t exactly match your ideal client profile, but you’ll be well on your way to attracting the right people – the ones that you love to work with and who make being a wedding photographer the best job on earth!
Other things to know about your brand? Be cohesive. Yes, your offering and style may adapt slightly over time, but it isn’t usually a huge departure from where you began and the key words here are ‘over time’ – if you’re posting whimsical, fine art portraits one moment and then grungy, urban shots the next, potential clients will likely be confused.
And lastly, be distinctive. We’re all guilty of bit of comparison from time to time, and taking inspiration from other photographers is totally allowed, but it shouldn’t define you. Don’t be a poor man’s imitation of a well-known photographer; be you. Work on developing your own unique style (need some tips? You can read blog posts on this very topic here and here). If you heed that advice, you’ll be sure to stand out in an industry that is full of noise and competition.