One of the greatest things I’ve ever done for my business was to focus on creating a consistent brand. I’m a wedding photographer in a saturated world of wedding photographers, photographer hobbyists, travel photographers, and up and coming photographers. Labeling yourself a 'wedding photographer’ does not necessarily mean you will be chosen by upcoming brides from a group of other wedding photographers. It means you will also be going up against a client’s friend, uncle, or cousin who owns a DSLR camera.
BUT, my focus on branding, hours of work and images that show my specialty and style have been the key components that sets me apart in the wedding world.
With every new business, it takes time, sometimes years, to discover what style is innately yours and what genre you want to maintain for the duration of your career.
For me, I grew to learn what kind of couples and weddings I liked to shoot, the styling I preferred, the perfect locations, and exactly who my ideal client is.
With that knowledge, I focused my attention on posting ONLY the type of work I wanted to attract on my social media. I was hesitant in the beginning, feeling like I was taking risks that may not pay off and posting pictures that I thought people might not like...but I soon found that after dedicating time, making the effort and trusting my gut, posting the images I love and wanted allowed me to create the Chantel Marie brand.
I feel confident in knowing that if a prospective client inquires with me about their event, I am already on the right track to booking my ideal bride because I only showcased the type of images want to shoot, which are a clear reflection of my branding.
My top 3 rules that I always follow in working to maintain a defined brand: trust your gut, be consistent and accept the fact that you’re not for everyone.
Trust your Gut: This is probably the easiest rule that has luckily come very natural for me. I try to always act in a way that I initially feel is best with my brand and who I am. It continues to be the most important guideline for my business. I want my work to portray me and when I trust my gut, I am confident in knowing that all work I put out there is authentically me.
Be Consistent: You can’t build a brand overnight. You build a brand everyday as you work toward the goals you set for yourself and your business. Once you reach the small goals you continue to work towards the bigger goals as you continue to make new small goals. Allow your audience to be able to connect with you in an authentic way that makes you relevant in a age of trends that come and go.
Accept the Fact that You’re Not for Everyone: I used to (and sometimes still do) struggle to accept that not everyone wants to hire me. I constantly tell myself that everyone is going to have different tastes. Not every single bride is going to want me to shoot her wedding…and that is OKAY. I’m so happy with the brides that do want me to shoot their wedding because right away we are a better fit than someone I try to convince to like my work. “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.” - Dita Von Teese.
Chantel Marie is a Wedding and Women’s Fashion Photographer She focuses on interesting light and raw imagery. While specializing in intimate weddings + elopements. She married her Australia-native husband, Jordan on the beaches of his hometown in Australia. She loves being active, eating good food in great atmospheres, traveling to new places, live music, cookie dough, and fashion. She resides in Salt Lake City with her husband and puppy, Walter.
Do you feel overworked and underpaid?
Does it pain you to deliver digital images...but no album or wall portraits?
Do you believe in tangible products, but don't think your market can support higher priced items?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you're not alone and there IS a solution: In-Person Sales. There's no limit to how much more money you can make by providing IPS instead of online sales or shoot & burn. Or how many hours you'll save because you'll be able to shoot fewer sessions to generate the same revenue. Or how many hours of sleep you'll get because you won't be worrying about money.