You know the saying, right? Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” The same is true for you, you know. I bet if you asked some of the photographers in your circle that some of them didn’t even get their education in photography. Maybe in art or design, but probably not photography. And that is okay! Because odds are, they have been successful.
How have they been so successful? It’s because they have become their brand and they sell themselves. Not literally, of course, but they become the face of their photography and have to act as such. Here are two simple ways that will help you get more investment from anyone you are sharing your photos with. That could be clients, schools, companies, commercial companies, or magazines.
Learn one thing, learn another, and then learn them again until you could be an expert. Whether you went to college for photography or not won’t save you now. Information and education are too easy to reach. Take a business class on the side if that is your weak area. You have to keep learning or those who went to college for business and turned their photography from a hobby into a career will pass you by.
Find a way to take classes, watch webinars, network and learn from others. Learn from their mistakes even if they are embarrassed because you will probably make many of your own. And when you do make mistakes of your own, do not be ashamed. Ask any of the pros that you look up to and they will tell you they made those mistakes too. What will separate growing photographers from stagnant ones? Education.
Now, this one may seem strange but think of it this way. If you spent hours upon hours working on creating something, let’s call it a clay flower vase. You worked that clay with your hands and they were dirty and sore from the effort. You shaped it and carved it into a masterpiece. You painted and glazed and fired that clay vase to perfection and it’s something you are very proud of but no one has seen it yet. Would you package that clay vase with a paper bag? Of course not!
Your photography is the same way. You will meet new people, clients, editors who have never seen your work or have seen very little in the strangest of places. How your present yourself will say more than you think. You are your brand and your brand is you now. You are representing a photography business everywhere you go and your name is forever linked to that brand name. You have branded yourself; burned your watermark onto your forehead in a sense. Meet with clients and dress like the professional you are. If you are interviewing for a newspaper photography position, you will not wear a suit on the job but you better to the interview. If you are sending your portfolio to a potential company include a professional headshot of yourself to show them that you care about yourself just as much as you care about your photography.
Getting noticed can be the hardest part, but these two steps are easy ways to build your brand with no work on actual picture-taking. Take classes on running a business. Dress like you’re the CEO of your company, because actually, you are and it’s time to start acting like it.