Is it getting to you?
You got into photography for the love of the art. It made your heart sing to create stunning images of weddings, families, and children.
You’re a few years in now and you might be struggling with burnout. Capturing the energy of a child who can’t sit still, those 10-12 hour wedding days, and the constant battle to keep your nights and weekends free are becoming exhausting.
Yet, you can’t imagine what you would do if you weren’t taking pictures. Photography is still your passion.
Good thing there is more than one type of photography! Read on to learn about brand and commercial photography and how this branch can be the breath of fresh air you need.
What Is Brand Photography?
Back in the day, business photography was all about bright offices spaces full of happy people in suits. Big businesses were typically the only brands who thought about investing in professional photography because they were the only ones who needed to.
Fast forward to the present and with the advent of the Internet and social media, there are small businesses popping up everywhere. In 2021, there are 31.7 million small businesses in the US and these small brands account for 99.9% of all US businesses.
Brand photography has arisen to serve these types of businesses. Brand photographers create visual content that showcases both the business’ products and its values as a company.
If it is a product-based business, the images usually at least include the product and it is often the primary subject of the image.
For service-based businesses, the photographer tends to focus on showing the customer the face behind the company name as well as promoting the brand’s values. For example, an eco-friendly brand might like its images to be shot outdoors in lovely locations or demonstrate concepts such as sustainability and renewable energy.
Branding can be further broken into two types — personal branding and commercial. Larger companies tend to take the more commercial approach, focusing more on their products or services.
Small businesses, especially those run by only one person tend to take a more personal approach. That is, they share more about themselves with their audience and seek to make a more genuine connection. They do this with a personal brand photographer.
Of course, none of that is set in stone. Small companies can choose to present themselves more commercially and vice versa.
The Difference Between Brand and Commercial Photography
So, wouldn’t brand photography and commercial photography be the same thing? They are very similar but have subtle differences.
The point of commercial photography is to show off the company’s product or service. Every element in the image will support the product or service and attempt to show viewers why they need it.
Brand photography will still include elements of commercial photography. However, it will be focused more on showcasing the brand’s values and creating a connection with the target audience. When it comes to small businesses, the owner is often highly visible in the branding photos to present the face behind the brand.
How to Transition Into Brand Photography
Is this sounding intriguing? Putting your creative juices to a new task is always an exciting endeavor. But how do you do it?
Here are three steps to get you started.
1. Figure Out Your Ideal Client
Begin by figuring out who you would like to work with.
What types of brands interest you? Which brands’ values align with your own? Do you have access to the locations you would need to showcase their brand?
For example, it’s best not to seek out brands with a trendy, city vibe if you live in the country. You’ll have a more difficult time coming up with the content they want.
2. Update Your Portfolio to Reflect the Type of Brand Photography You’d Like to Pursue
Once you have an idea of the types of brands that interest you, take a look through their Instagram and Facebook images. What kind of vibe do their images have? If someone from that brand was looking at your portfolio, would they feel inclined to work with you?
If the answer is no (and it probably will be when you’re just getting started), it’s time to update your portfolio. Take some time to create the type of content that will attract your ideal client. This will also give you a chance to get comfortable with a new style of shooting.
3. Pitch Yourself
Once you feel like you have a solid portfolio, it’s time to start putting yourself out there. It might take a bit and you’ll probably get a lot of rejections. But if you stick with it, eventually you’ll get your first yes!
To dig deeper, my Brand Photographer’s Blueprint course gives you all the tools to confidently land recurring ideal clients so you can quickly build a full book of business. Click here to learn more.
When You Know You Should Transition Into Brand Photography:
It depends. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1) Are you tired of working nights and weekends?
2) Are you tired of constantly marketing yourself for one-time projects?
3) Do you love helping business owners reach their audience?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it might be time to make the switch.
Being a brand or product photographer is a whole different ball game than shooting weddings or families. If you do a good job, you’ll get a lot more repeat clients. You’ll also be able to invest more time and creativity into each image, while still being adequately compensated for your time.
Whereas families are always trying to book in the evenings and weddings are on the weekends, most brands are active during the workweek. You’ll have a much easier time setting a more normal schedule when working with these types of clients.
Finally, you get to help people create a connection with others. That’s what social media is all about — creating connections. Working as a branding photographer offers the opportunity to put your creativity to work and facilitate this process for businesses.