- How to Develop Your Photography Brand and Business Online
Ready to turn your passion for photography into a business? Belgian-Australian photographer Matthew Vandeputte teaches you how to develop your brand and build a loyal following as a photographer, with bite-sized tips on everything from promoting your work on social media to building a portfolio and email database.
Building out your personal brand as a photographer is about covering all your bases and showing the world what you're all about. The long-term goal is to ensure that people recognise your creations before they even spot your name.
When someone finds you and/or your photography work online, whether it be on social media or your website, it needs to be immediately clear what you are all about. Are you a landscape photographer or do you specialise in seascapes? Do you shoot portraits or are you a passionate studio photographer? Do you shoot events or food photography?
Whatever style of photography you shoot, it's important to make it obvious to your audience from the start. This will help them to connect with you and reassure them that your work is the sort of work they are interested in and want to see more of.
Your social media channels are extremely important for promoting your brand as they act as miniature portfolios of your work spread out over multiple online platforms.
Keep in mind that the username you use for your social media channels is very important. Make things easy for your followers by choosing a simple username that's easy to remember and write. Don’t use too many syllables, and try to avoid usernames with symbols or numbers. Usernames with unusual characters, dots and underscores are difficult to write and can be even more difficult to remember.
Be sure to also make your profile photo or logo uniform across all of your social media profiles. This will help your audience find you from platform to platform and ensure your profile is consistent – from Twitter and Tiktok to Instagram and Facebook.
Make sure that all of your social media profiles and channel descriptions include your name, location and contact details. If brands want to work with you, it’s important that they can contact you quickly and easily to open up a dialogue.
Finally, check that your social media channels are all set to 'public' and not 'private', so that your photography work is seen by the most people possible
As well as setting yourself up on all the various social media channels, it's also important to build a website where people can find out more about you. Social media platforms come and go, but your website will live on as your permanent online home.
Be sure to include an 'about' page on your photography website, so that people can get to know you. Create a portfolio and talk about your best work, and be sure to talk about projects you are currently working on for yourself or clients. It’s also a great idea to share some information about your dream projects and the clients you’d love to work with in the future. By providing a more complete sense of who you are as a person and creator, you can build better connections with new potential followers, clients and collaborators.
As well as having your own website with detailed information about yourself and a portfolio of your photography work, it’s also a good idea to start building a database of names and email addresses. A great way to do this is to start a newsletter and offer your subscribers something in return. Give away a PDF tutorial with your personal camera settings or photography tips. Create a digital zine with your favourite photos that you can reward new subscribers with, or give them access to exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from your photo shoots. By adding value to your followers’ lives, you’ll incentivise them to invest themselves in your work and support your mission.
Having your own newsletter and email database will give you a direct channel to your followers' inboxes. This is important long-term because, although social media platforms will come and go, emails are forever.
Regardless of the channel, whether it be social media, email or your website, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your goal is to build a community. Find like-minded people who appreciate creating the same sort of content as you. Engage with your community and approach them with mutually-beneficial collaboration ideas.
Create your own hashtag so that your community members can share their work with you as well as each other. If you like their work then you can repost it on your social channels, or even feature it in your next newsletter. The more you support your community, the more they will be willing to support you in return.
Consistency is key when building your brand as a creator. From the subjects you photograph and editing style to the frequency and volume you post, you will build a stronger brand by keeping consistent and ensuring that you’re always on the radar.
Finally, cover all your bases, stay committed to your work and community and you will soon find your photography brand growing and attracting new opportunities.
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Find out more about Matthew Vandeputte.