We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.
This may come as a shocker…but as a husband and wife in business together, we don’t always agree on everything. Because, let’s be real – if we did, it would be acceptable grounds for a total puke-fest of unrealistic ‘Insta-Highlight Reel’ false reality. But if there’s one thing we do agree on 100% of the time, it’s that the freedom owning our own business affords us is priceless. The freedom to form our own schedule. The freedom to say yes to things we want to do and no to things we don’t. The freedom to work from home or a coffee shot or on location for a day! And as photographers, do you know what other freedom we enjoy as brand photographers? Creative freedom. It’s a ‘Come to Jesus’ type of realization we had shortly into our career as commercial brand photographers and exactly what we’re unpacking today with ‘How Not to Suck as a Brand Photographer.’
If you don’t know our story, we started in photography world like many do – focused on wedding and lifestyle photography. It was the natural progression we felt like we needed to make. After all, if you want to make money in photography, all the ‘real money’ is in weddings…or so we thought. We quickly realized that although we had set out to build the business of our dreams, we were actually building a business modeled after someone else’s dreams. It just wasn’t us. Erica was wearing skirts and pink while leaving ‘swooning’ comments on posts and Jon was wearing slacks and bow ties. <—100% NOT us. Not hatin’, just sayin’…we were imposters. We’re a lot more the sweats and gym shorts variety 🙂
With that realization, we pivoted our business to brand photography and never looked back. But we brought some wedding and lifestyle mindsets with us into brand photography that worked against us…hard!
You see, as a wedding and lifestyle photographer, people know you largely for your photography style. Clients seek out a ‘bright and airy’ or ‘dark and moody’ photographer and everything in between. It was our identity as lifestyle photographers and somehow became our identity no matter what we were shooting.
But what we realized through a series of events with clients was that as a commercial brand photographer, you’re known less for your style and more for your ability to tell a story. After all, if your photography style is bright and airy and you shoot for a brand dominated by blacks and reds with a predominate focus on shadows, how can you serve them well by shooting it in your style?
Answer: You can’t.
And that boils down to our biggest piece of advice on how to not suck as a brand photographer: Take a step aside and focus on your client’s brand, not your own.
You are creating images to help a brand market themselves – not market you.
In order to create images that represent their brand, you have to set your own personal style preferences aside and shoot for the brand’s style. That’s why your favorite ‘bright and airy’ brand photographers **wink wink** shoot images like this for clients:
It’s all about your client’s brand.
Keep that mindset at the forefront and we promise, you won’t suck as a brand photographer!