I think most of us start out with our photography businesses photographing anything and everything. I had the best intentions of being a photojournalist when I first decided I was going to be a professional photographer, but I also needed to generate income, so my career actually started with wedding photography which quickly took over my life with the odd event and studio shoot thrown into the mix. I didn’t start my business with a clear creative plan, I was just glad to be getting paid for my work even though it wasn’t the work I truly wanted to be creating.
To cut a long story short, I started to follow my heart about 7 years into my career (folks it really doesn’t need to take this long) and seek out opportunities to take photographs that told stories & could make a positive impact. For me, that was photographing shelter dogs. I haven’t looked back and I’ve built a photography business based on my own unique style, a crazy little niche and I book clients who specifically want me to shoot portraits for them and see the value in the rate I charge (I’m not cheap).
Developing your own creative style will catapult your business into a whole new realm of amazing clients and income. Here are 5 Ways to Develop your own Creative Style:
- Ask yourself what you’d photograph even if you weren’t getting paid and have a quick Google to see if there’s someone else achieving success doing the same thing. If there is, you know it’s a viable idea and you can proceed to step 2.
- Think about the best shoot you’ve ever done in terms of the resulting images, the type of client and the way you shot the pictures. What made it so great? Were you in a particular place, did you have a plan beforehand? Get clear on why this shoot was so great so you can work out how to replicate the greatness.
- Send out some emails to your favourite clients and ask them what it is they love about your photography or why they specifically chose you as their photographer. Perhaps it was because the lighting was amazing, perhaps you were incredibly patient with their kids, perhaps you just ‘got’ them. You may find that someone else can reflect back your strengths as a photographer and you can use the feedback to fine tune the individuality of your work.
- Start a creative side project just for you. Ironically, the awards I’ve won for my work have been for photography series’ that I’ve shot just because I wanted to and I’ve gained clients from making and sharing these projects. The BLACK SERIES (which features black rescue dogs and ridiculous captions) went viral worldwide, saw my Instagram account grow by thousands overnight and bagged me a TEDx talk. I really can’t overstate the value of making your own work (watch the TEDx talk for more on this).
- Consider what matters to you and what you’re passionate about in life and infuse your work with that. If you love capturing emotion, yet you’re busy taking posed family photos, how can you switch things up and get your families interacting more? If you’re shooting headshots day in day out but you’d rather be photographing horses, make time to get to the horses. Remember the photography you share on your website and social media will attract you more of the same, so make and share the kinds of images you’d like to shoot more of.
It’s easy to be tricked into thinking that we have to shoot certain things to make money, or make work in a specific way because we’re afraid that doing it our way won’t sell and I’ve really discovered that the opposite is true. When you allow your inner creative voice some time to get out and shine, your business really will change for the better.
If you’ve got a creative idea that you’re not quite brave enough to explore or you know you’d like to take your photography business in a different direction, but you’ve no idea how to do it, please get in touch with me. I’d love to help you