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We are Bristol based non-conventional photography agency where award winning and internationally published photographer work together producing engaging visual content. We elevate brands, businesses and individuals assisting them in staying culturally relevant and connecting them with the customers of tomorrow.

How to build your brand as a photographer?

20th June 2020
Yesterday I had a zoom catch up with some of my clients and we had a conversation about brand, and how important is to build business that is relatable. I took some notes and decided I will share it with you. Would be good to know what do you think.
Some time ago, when I was young and beautiful 😉 when the internet hadn’t yet taken over, it wasn’t as important for businesses to have a solid brand. You would go to the shops and pick up cosmetics or just your daily shopping without much thought. Now we are overwhelmed with choices. I went to Sainsbuys yesterday to do my weekly shopping, and went to sauces isle as I wanted to grab a ketchup. I was overwhelmed with the amount of ketchup choices, the amount of competition between ketchup companies and the sheer amount of alternatives. It got me thinking – hence the conversation with my clients 🙂 But this post is not about ketchup … so lets continue!
Nowadays the internet gave us a power. We have unlimited amount of choice. We become greedy human that love convenience and hate waiting. We have the power at our fingertips and naturally stick to what we know. How does ketchup comparison translate into a photography business?
Well it is very simple. If you want your business to come along and grab peoples attention, you need to be able to relate to your audience. How the ketchup company related to me? They explain to me why they do what they do, why their ketchup is so special, and there was a funny story as well. I also knew the benefits straight away. 
It doesn’t matter if you want you business to be massive, and earn millions or you’re aiming to keep it cosy, and build lifestyle business for yourself – making a brand relatable is the single most important thing you can do for the growth of your business. After thinking about ketchup choices, my own experiences with building EightySix_Studios and conversations with my lovely clients I thought I will share some findings with you.
Building a brand comes from building a suitable brand persona, one that attracts your target market (more about target market in business tips) and speaks to them in a way that is relatable and genuine. You need to build a brand that will whisper lovingly into the ear of your audience, making them feel special and a part of something bigger.
For me EightySix_Studios is a down to earth, fun and playful because that is who we are as people. I talk to my customers as I would talk to my friends. I’m very happy person, who loves to talk and joke and make people laugh, however I’m very series when It comes to business. I get to do what I love everyday, whilst building up the most ethical and conscious businesses, I don’t take ourselves too seriously and because I have naturally channeled this into the business, I have created a brand persona which is genuine, informal and attracts like-minded people, this is all backed up by our sheer dedicated, hard work and creativity to make this business work.
If you ever attended my webinar you must have heard me saying – don’t share your personal stuff on your business account. What I meant was, don’t post the photo every time when you are out drinking, or share a story when you and you friends are drunk and decided to share your wisdom with the world. There a limit to sharing your dirty laundry, but it’s important that your audience knows that you are human and by connecting to your audience on a personal level you will build customer trust, loyalty and respect.
Juts remember, don’t overshare and be mindful of what you do share as a business, but nobody is perfect, we definitely aren’t, and if a business try to act like they are, nobody is going to relate to that. If you read our instagram post especially during the pandemic you could see that we have always shared our ups and downs of what it’s like to feel broken after loosing lots of contacts and how we are trying to fight and build our business up again. Nobody that follows us is under any illusion that we have cruised through it; and as grateful and positive as we try to be, there is no point pretending it’s super easy and amazing all the time, let people connect to your brand by seeing everything that makes you, you.
Tips : you can share behind the scenes as Instagram stories, meeting set ups, photos of yourself if you are doing something you love.
Although it’s an increasingly crowded market place; the truth is, finding a service or product that is quality driven, trustworthy and unique is still very rare. For photographers is even more difficult. When I decided to set up EightySix Studios I struggle a lot with finding the niche, as within our group we have fashion, product, food and interior photographer. However I decided to work my socks off and find our niche. The best brands require a lot of time and effort to build up, find your niche. If you shoot weddings, food, and fashion. Have separate accounts or find the niche that would match your photography areas. We shoot everything but we have very specific niche – we only work with startups, brand with purpose (for example sustainable fashion brands) and independent businesses. 
Remember people like the connection and conversation. Don’t be a robot. Get to know your audience and get to know them well. Find out where they are and interact with them as much as possible. I spend an hour everyday on Instagram/Linkedin or Facebook, engaging, commenting and reaching as many people as I can. Everyday this is my routine. I also speak to past, present and future clients, even when they don’t need my services now, I still have genuine conversation with them, and I don’t stop there, I chat to strangers, show an interest in their posts and ask them questions. I build a community of like minded people and genuinely love chatting to them/you. The great thing is, they love it too, so it’s win, win! I hope you will love those chats as much as our clients. 
Illustration has the power to connect to your audience, it will define your business, make you stand out and communicate your message simply. With illustrations you have the power to create something completely unique to your brand, this will make your brand easier to recognise and make it much easier for your customers to relate to.
A few examples of the posts from our facebook account : 
Who doesn’t like a freebie? Nobody! Give out your most valuable information freely. What is it that your business knows that your audience would usually need to pay good money for? Whatever your answer, give it to them for free. For me, I share all our processes, how we work, how we brand. With you I share how I set up my business, how I get clients, how I pitch to them. Anything that I’ve learn during my journey to become a successful business owner. Anything that is valuable for our audience to know, I provide for free. Why am I doing it? It a part of my business values. I want to add a value first, before I take money from my clients. By helping them I not only solving a problem they had, I am also providing valuable information that doesn’t cost them a penny. By doing that I am proving that you are generous, trustworthy and experienced.
An example of a few articles I wrote on Linkedin:
We live in a day and age were every business needs a brand, but truthfully even in a crowded market place, finding a brand that has craftsmanship and quality is increasingly hard to come by, many businesses want a quick win and aren’t willing to invest the time in building a relatable brand.
My main advice, to you fellow photographers would be:  invest the time and effort now, be genuine, know your target audience, and I guarantee you will stand out. Follow this advice and over time, your brand will become a trustworthy, reliable and loyal brand. 
  1. You need to build a brand persona that connects to your audience.
  2. Give your most valuable information out for free.
  3. Interact with your clients on a personal level.
  4. Share your ups as well as your downs.
  5. Never stop trying to be the best you can be in your field.

If you like this article, and want to learn more about business aspect of photography and have conversation with like minded profesional, feel free to join our Private Group on fb – Photography with EightySix Studios

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