So you probably all know me by now and you are all probably well aware of the type of people who book me to capture their awesome wedding days. Something I hear mentioned to me all the time is ‘your clients must be in the best of moods’ and they’re right, I’m lucky enough that I only capture ‘happy’ people. Obviously 99% of people who are organising their wedding day are going to be fairly happy and in good spirits, but there is more to it than that, you want your clients to be excited that they chose YOU to capture their big day. The starting block for this is your portfolio. Your portfolio should scream what you love capturing, from there your own approach and personality should reinforce your love and creativity. Those clients who book you should value your photography and you as a creative and not think of you just as ‘the photographer’. It may appear like a strange approach from a wedding photographer but it’s a decision that made me fall in love with my job even more.
As humans we often struggle to express ourselves to the outside world, well at least until we’re comfortable with them. When we meet a complete stranger there’s something inside us that makes us hold back parts of our personality until we’re sure about the other person, or more commonly, until that other person starts to show signs of their own personality. There’s an easy way to avoid this as a creative or wedding photographer and it’s to make ‘you’ the person behind the lens, the most important part of the business. This is where my dislike of company names in the creative industry comes in, especially within wedding photography, calling yourself JB Ltd Photography looses all that personality and makes the clients feel like their talking to a company rather than an individual. Instead, if you go with Joe Blogs Photography, you’re instantly inviting those potential clients to get to know you a little bit more, even if it is just your name. Your online presence provides the perfect platform to share your own character to your audience and you instantly step over that hurdle of holding back part of your personality in your first meeting with clients.
We often, not only in business but in our everyday lives, mask parts of ourselves to either hide our blemishes or enhance parts of our personality/skills etc. Unfortunately, this only makes your task harder, I’ve said it a million times before, honesty and trust is mega important when it comes to the creative industry, and keeping something back and over exaggerating things about us/the business that make us look more ‘normal’ in society will only eat away at your insides…and that’s a promise!
When I started assisting wedding photographers I would do strange things like always wear the blandest of clothes to shoot weddings in, that way people wouldn't notice me, yes notice the guy running around with two large cameras and telling people where to stand…really!? I’d always take the easy route, usually because I was instructed to by the photographers I was working for, but things like, well if it’s raining the bride won’t be happy if we go outside so let’s just shoot in this dark reception room instead of grabbing the umbrellas and wellies and literally dancing in the rain. Truth be told, this was killing my creativity inside but I just held back because I was the normal run of the mill photographer and that’s apparently what we think we should do…
As soon as I took the leap to start my own photography business I knew I couldn't hide my creativity and my need to be a little bit crazy just had to be unleashed. One of my first steps was to implement ‘me’ into the business, I wanted to focus my intentions of building a wedding business around me and my creativity rather than me work around the normal photography business. Yes a few people may not have booked due to my work not fitting the norm or my personality wasn't a good match for theirs. I was always taught by the photographers that I worked for that you must take on all work because that pays the bills. Ok ,so yes, work does pay the bills but if you’re not enjoying work, especially when you’re doing something you love, then how much money is that actually worth?
When I began adding my own personality into Luke Holroyd Photography I quickly, very quickly, realised it was a huge asset. I’m not just talking about adding an ‘about me’ page to your website, it’s much more than that, it’s adding your personality into the social media posts you write, talking to people as YOU, rather than the business and sharing all your highs/lows & achievements/failures with everyone. What happens from there is couples/clients start hiring you not only for your awesome portfolio but because they want YOU and your PERSONALITY to capture their wedding day. I’m very often reminded that my personality and outlook on life matches the work I produce in my portfolio, and whilst it may not be a perfect match for everyone, I’m guaranteed that everyone who enquires for me to capture their big day are expecting me to be creative and try things out of the ordinary.
There’s not an easy step to implement personality into a business and instant happiness won’t happen overnight, it takes time. But eventually it will pay off and you won’t be afraid to be yourself and share all your experiences with your audience, because they will be waiting to hear it and book you.
If you enjoyed this blog post, I would highly recommend my recent post ‘The Importance of Risks’, it supports what I talked about above regarding implementing your creativity into the business, which will always come with an element of risk.
I’d love to see how you have added your own personality into the business, feel free to share your stories in the comments below!