We've got some suggestions to help you hone in on what makes you, you. After all, when you present your own style and personality this is what attracts your ideal clients and the people you are excited to work with. So how do you get started?
1. Make a Mood BoardStart by creating a mood board of the style you would like to portray. Do you like a light and airy feel? Dark and moody? What textures do you like? This isn't a gathering of other photographers work, this is about finding physical things that inspire you. Do you like lace and floral prints, pastel colours and feathers? Or do you like deep stained wood, dark shadows and earthy tones? Even gathering paint chips at a hardware store can help you discover what kind of feel you want in your photographs. This may feel silly, but it's important that you can physically put together your style.
You can also ask what reflects your personality? Use describing words on your mood board. Does flashy, spontaneous and exciting sound like you? Or relaxed, soft and subtle? What about beachy, rustic or modern? You get the idea.
You can create an online mood board, but it is a lot more effective to create a tangible board that you can continue to look at in your office and be inspired by. Pinning items to a cork board is the easiest way.
2. Look at the Style in your LifeTake a look at your style in the other aspects of your life, like your clothing and interior design. These are great reflections of how you like to present yourself, and the same should be for your photography. If your house is full of neutral tones and shadows that's a good hint that this is the mood you prefer and what you should be using in your photos.
3. Avoid using Pre-made PresetsIt can be extremely tempting to streamline your work by buying other photographer's presets, however this is the easiest way to lose your own style (and blending in with the rest of the thousands of photographers using the same presets). Try hand editing for a while until you obtain your own set style, and then make your own presets to use for quicker edits.
4. Stay away from PinterestSimilar to purchasing presets, spending too much time on Pinterest can be a style killer. There's no harm in scrolling for inspiration, but try not to be influenced too much or copy set ups. If client's send you Pinterest photos kindly explain you will put your own style and ideas into it as well.
5. Unfollow Facebook Photography GroupsThere are hundreds and hundreds of photography Facebook groups that can be extremely helpful and full of business ideas, editing tips and inspiration. However, they are also full of varying opinions, repeat information and unfortunately like everything on the internet there can be unkind people. It is absolutely fine to be active in these groups and to learn from them, they can be lifesavers sometimes. However, if you spend a lot of time on Facebook and these groups are constantly appearing on your timeline they can have a negative effect of constantly feeling like you aren't doing enough, good enough or successful enough. (which definitely isn't true!) Take it in moderation and simply "unfollow" the groups so that they aren't flooding your timelines, and that way you can choose to visit them when you like. Too much of anything isn't a good thing.
5. Narrow Down your GenreYou may love all types of photography and feel like you can be successful as a "general" photographer, shooting everything from your cousin's wedding to your friend's restaurant menu and Timmy's soccer tournament. It's great that you have many passions, but shooting too many genres will confuse your clients and won't allow you to focus and perfect your style of shooting. In this case, it is better to become an absolute expert in one area or a few opposed to a jack of all trades.
6. Talk to Clients on a Personal LevelHaving your own photography style is important, but it also goes further than that. How you present yourself and speak should also be a reflection of you. It sounds silly, but in business people often forget to use their own voice and think that they have to word things differently or take the personality out of it. This couldn't be further from the truth. People want to work with people they can connect with on a personal level, especially when it comes to photography, and the more they get to know you the better.
For example, if you are setting up a mini session day, one might be tempted to post the following:
"Mini Sessions taking place November 4th:
- all edits included
- 30 minutes
Email for details."
Sure it tells everyone what they need to know, but does it really stand out and feel like you are personally addressing your clients? By simply wording it on a personal level you are bound to capture more attention.
"I am so excited for our Mini Session date coming up on November 4th! These relaxed sessions always turn out to be my favourite and I can't wait to see you all again to share some laughter and love. I will be including all of the edits through a personalised gallery for £150.00. Please follow this link to book your slot as these dates always fill up fast! See you there x"
Which one are you more likely to respond to?
When posting on social media it shouldn't be too different from how you would talk to your friends. Yes, there is a such thing as too much information, but using your real voice will encourage others to engage with you. There's nothing wrong with sharing bits of yourself so that your clients can get to know you. Try following the rule of sharing 40% personal life (or more) and 60% client work and see how your engagement changes, and adjust from there. And yes! Post pictures of yourself, people like to see the face behind the camera (or account). A photo of yourself will often be one of your most engaged with posts - just try and see for yourself!
Another great way to practice adding personal touches is through your bios, such as on Instagram. This is a prime place where you can share your personality and capture the attention of like-minded people.
Again, you may be tempted to write something like this:
"Portrait photographer from London, U.K specialising in family photography. Email for inquiries." with a link to your website.
However, by writing something with details about yourself such as:
"Lifestyle family photographer, aspiring yogi, black coffee drinker and little dog lover. Capturing memories and bringing them to life through print."
Immediately your clients have gotten to know you and your business better and will be able to connect with you on another level. Even better, if they share the same passion as you, they already admire you that much more. Black coffee drinkers unite! (psst emojis also help!)
7. Get on the PhoneThe easiest and quickest way to allow clients to get to know you (and vice versa) is to get them on the phone. Within seconds they will get a feel for who you are and make a personal connection with you. The more clients you speak to on the phone, the more sessions you will book, guaranteed. When people inquire about a session don't be shy to ask them for their phone number and the best time to call so that you can follow up with them over the phone. It's time to get over the phone-phobia this generation has seemed to acquire!
8. Stop Fearing Other PhotographersI get it, other photographers can be intimidating, especially when you are first starting out. You may be wondering if they will be judging your work, your prices or set ups; but it's time to let that go. Let go of the fear, the doubt, and the comparing - especially the comparing. The only photographers worth having in your network are those that inspire, lift up and contribute to a healthy and happy industry, and it's time to ignore the rest. Do what is best for you and your business, because no one will ever be in the exact situation you are. Let's think like a community that helps one another!
9. Don't be Afraid to Say NoIf a potential client emails you and you don't think you would be a great fit, don't be afraid to pass them on to someone else. Nothing is worse than having a client who expects you to change your style or the way you shoot because only one of two things will happen; either they will end up disappointed that they haven't received what they were looking for or you will be miserable because you are being forced to change yourself and you will eventually lose your passion. This is a loss for everyone, and just because someone wants to work with you it doesn't mean you have to. Learn to politely redirect them on to a better path.
10. Continue Shooting for FunAt the end of the day, we all started our businesses because we fell in love with photography, and it's important to continue to shoot personal projects as a way of keeping yourself in check, to continue growing and to continue evolving your style. Get out there and remind yourself of what it's like to shoot for fun with no pressure.
We hope that these 10 tips have helped you realise that showing your authentic self will help you develop your style, stand out from the crowd and grow your business. Have anything to add? We would love to hear from you! Follow us on