Writing a bio should be easy. After all, it’s just a few paragraphs on a subject you know literally everything there is to know about: YOU.
But that’s the irony. It is really freaking hard to write about yourself. You don’t want to brag, but you don’t want to discredit yourself. You don’t want to sound stuffy, but you don’t want to sound unprofessional. You don’t want to bore them with credentials, but you don’t want to bombard them with stories about your cats. Basically, you’re just looking to sum up your entire personality and artistic philosophy in two concise paragraphs while effectively communicating that you’re a trustworthy photographer and an all-around awesome human. No pressure, right?
But before you go into panic mode, here’s how to put together a killer bio that gets you booked.
1. Introduce yourself.
This part is easy: Start with your name, your specialty, and the area you serve. That way, when someone searches for “Colorado wedding photographer,” you’re more likely to pop up. Make sure you’re selective about your specialty -- if you say you specialize in weddings, newborns, seniors, families, concerts, corporate events, and headshots, then it might be time to review the meaning of the word “specialty.”
2. List your credentials.
You’re probably not handing out résumés to potential clients, so this is your chance to impress them with your cred. Have you been featured in any publications? Have you received any awards from industry websites? Have you photographed destination weddings from Arkansas to Argentina? Are you a baby whisperer? Do you have a degree in photography? Do you have a degree in another field that lends something unique to your photography? Do you teach a popular workshop? Were you asked to guest-blog for XYZ website about a specific area of expertise you have? If it makes you stand out, mention it.
3. Skip the clichés.
Speaking of standing out, one surefire way to blend in is to fill your bio with overused chestnuts that could basically be describing anyone with a camera. Don’t waste words on obvious stuff like “I love weddings!” or “I’ve had a camera in my hand for as long as I can remember!” Dig deeper. Every time you write a sentence, pretend there’s a four-year-old sitting next to you asking, “But why?” Why do you love weddings? Why don’t you go anywhere without your camera? Why do you prefer lifestyle sessions to posed portraits? Why do you describe your style as “unique” or “elegant” or “fun” or “modern”? Get down to the nitty gritty, and you’ll connect to prospective clients on a more emotional level.
4. Get personal.
Okay, so you’ve covered your vitals, your credentials, and your motivation. Now it’s finally time to talk about your dogs, or your Disney obsession, or your award-winning pecan pie recipe, or the fact that you’re training for Ninja Warrior. You never know -- if a bride is torn between two photographers, your mutual devotion to Chipotle could swing the odds in your favor. (Just keep this section brief, and avoid anything too political.)
5. Befriend the bullet point.
Bullet points can cure just about any problem. If you’re too wordy, bullet points can force you to focus on the meat. If you struggle with writing, bullet points eliminate the need for awkward segues. Plus, everyone loves lists. I don’t know about you, but I’ll read pretty much any article with “10 Things…” in the title.
6. Let your voice come through.
Literally. After you finish writing your bio, read it out loud. If you stumble over something, that most likely means you didn’t write it in your authentic voice. When that happens, work backwards -- pretend you’re verbally explaining to a friend what you’re trying to say. Then just transcribe the imaginary conversation. If you’re not a formal person, don’t try to write in a formal tone. If you’re not cutesy, don’t be cutesy. You do you, so clients can get a true sense of whether you’re a good fit.