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Louisa Curtis

Many former staff photographers have never had to think about marketing themselves. As a staffer, the image is the most important thing. But in most of the industries photojournalists are moving into, potential clients and buyers will be just as interested in who you are. I asked three photography consultants — Suzanne Sease, Louisa Curtis, and Amanda Sosa Stone — to answer these important questions about branding.

  • What advice can you give for developing a personal brand? What are the important elements that go into a brand? How and where should that branding be used once it’s developed?
Jade Albert's website, which is branded to complement her "light, airy" photographic style.

Jade Albert's website, which is branded to complement her "whimsical, airy" style.

Suzanne Sease

I have so many clients who have found themselves in this position — who were in another industry and realized they were not living their dream. The safety net of the bi-monthly paycheck is gone and now you must create your own identity. Luckily you won’t have to start from scratch.

Visit the websites of photographers you admire and see how they are presenting themselves. Now look at your images. Are there special topics you gravitate toward or are often assigned to? And how do your images convey information? What about them got people to read the stories next to them?

Become an astute observer of the images around you, too. Make mental notes of magazine ads, billboards, store signs, direct mail, even family portraits done for friends. A photographer was paid to make all of these — notice how they did it and decide if the photographer could be you next time.

Maybe most importantly, ask yourself what you really love about this business. Do you want to continue shooting what you have been, or is now the time to re-invent yourself and shoot what you love, not your former employer? You don’t have to build a brand on the photographer you are — this is your chance to build the brand of the photographer you want to be.

Louisa Curtis

First decide which markets to pursue and which images to present. Rather than showing work you think people want to see, I think you should show the images you love to shoot, since those are likely to be your best work. Then, once the image selection is clear, consider presentation. For instance, if I were to put your website alongside your business card, your postcard, your e-promo, and your print book — would I know that they all belong to the same photographer? More »


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