Friday, April 12, 2013

Finding my 'style' -- how to find your style or brand?

One of the things that I think is most important when you have your own business, especially one that is artistic, is defining your style or brand and carrying that through all of the work you do.  Its one of my biggest struggles as an artist.  
What is my style?  If I had to define it in one word, I think it would be 'eclectic.'  Never have I liked just one style, I am ever changing and love a variety of things.  Always looking for something new and different; a new place to hike, a new piece to create, a new way to edit my photos.  But how does this ever-changing style develop into a brand?  
I don't know -- I wish I did, which is why I am writing this post.  

 One of the reasons that I didn't have super success with my sewing business (I used to sew patchwork clothing and sell it on my website, if you didn't know:), is because I didn't correctly define my style.  While I had a lot of customers and orders, my stuff didn't fly off the online 'shelf' like some of my fellow creators and I think a big part of that was because I was lacking a definite brand.  
Lately, I've been reading how important defining your brand is, and I am trying to sort that out early on in my photography business.  One of my friends and a fellow photographer (Chris Loring Photography) mentioned this to me when we went on a shoot together recently.  And it really hit home that I need to do this now, early on, right when I start out.  That way, when people look on my website and see what my photos look like, they'll contact me if they like the style and if they don't they will move on.  Ultimately, they will be happy with their photos because they reflect what was on my website, and the brand/style that I've created.  Furthermore, I think the clientele that you receive from defining a style will be a similar type of clients. 

For me, I hope my website draws in people who love capturing the moment candidly and simple beauty in natural settings.  But when it comes to editing and seeing the photo on the screen, well, I like lots of different styles.  I love color and deep saturation, like the photo of lil' Max above.  Also, I like shooting into the sun (like the top photo) and that creates a different affect on the picture, and I enjoy playing with light and sun.  Then, when I edit, I need to figure out how to keep that consistency throughout the session and then in general.  

The real question here is how do you turn 'eclectic' into a definite style or brand; or do you just pick a style you like and stick with it to be consistent?  And how do you reflect that on your website and in advertising?  I don't really know and I am open to any and all suggestions?!  
Here are a few more of my favorite shots, can you tell how different they all are?  

 I love the sun flare in this shot.  Hand edited.

 Here the couple looks so happy, but very different feel than the shot below.  Hand edited

I love the ring around the couple and the sunset and 'glowing' feeling in the shot.  Edited with an Oh So Posh action.

 I love this shot because it plays with light, the color was a bit washed out, but the matte effect it gives the photo is beautiful. 

Edited with Oh So Posh, Bohemian Rhapsody. 
My style is very different from day to day and even week to week.  Part of that is the growth of a new photographer, but part is because I am just an eclectic person and I change a lot.  What do you think about the photos and how can I brand all of this into 1 cohesive style?



  1. Brand and style aren't the same thing. Your brand is the representative of your work. In your case, your brand is your name, Jennifer Mason Photography. You could have used something like Eclectic Photos, or Wrapped in Light Photography, but you chose your name. You shouldn't confuse it with style. When I think of photography, I think of capturing a moment, not of the style used by the photographer when taking or editing the photo. I think about whether or not the photo does a good job of memorializing the moment you are trying to capture.

    Ask yourself a few questions.

    When someone thinks about your brand, what do you want them to think?

    Who is your target audience for your photography?

    Why does your target audience choose to have photographs professionally taken?

    Why should they choose you?

    These are related to branding/marketing and really don't apply to your style. Just some thoughts. Hope you are well :)

  2. Becky, you always have great info and we are good and busy, hope sunny Florida is treating you well!
    And you're right, I was kind of using style and brand interchangeably, although I don't see them as the same thing. You've given me a lot to think about, especially #1...what DO I want people to think about when they think of my brand? hmm...