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Building Your Brand as a Photographer

Skip Cohen University

Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand. – Seth Godin

I shared the quote above on Twitter and then started thinking about it regarding photographers working to build brand awareness. So many of you think your brand is your logo and company name. While your logo and company name are part of building brand awareness, they’re only one small component.

It’s also important to remember nothing good can happen with your brand if your skill set is mediocre! You’ve got to make your work better than “Uncle Harry’s”. Your work needs to be outstanding and your goal is to build a reputation for exceeding client expectations.

Here are a few other things to think about:

  • Be on time and keep your promises. Being a photographer is a word-of-mouth business and just like Seth Godin’s quote, the best starting point is to keep your promises and have great follow-through.
  • My grandmother used to tell me, “You’re judged by the company you keep!” So, get involved in your community. Be helpful and surround yourself with people who give back.
  • Always return calls and answer emails promptly. Every customer needs to feel like they’re your most important client.
  • Don’t be a one-trick pony. Keep in touch with your clients. Building a strong brand as a photographer is about relationship building. So, even if a wedding was the only thing you were hired to do, check in with your client six months later on their anniversary. The younger the bride, the more friends she has who will be getting married. Next, they start to build a family. As a family grows so do their photographic needs.
  • Use your blog to show what’s in your heart. Nobody cares what you shoot with; what awards you’ve won; or how you got started. However, your audience does care about why you love being a photographer. Use your blog to show your passion for people capturing memories and the community. This is where you need to just be yourself and let people know your values.

Building a strong brand isn’t just about consistent performance it’s about non-stop recognition. You need to get your name out there every day so that when a potential client needs a photographer, the first name to pop into their head is yours!


Skip Cohen is President of SCU, founder of Marketing Essentials International and past president of Rangefinder Publishing and WPPI. He’s been an active participant in the photographic industry since joining Hasselblad USA in 1987 as president. He has co-authored six books on photography and actively supports dozens of projects each year involving photographic education.

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