And this week we have the distinct pleasure of having a guest blogger today, wedding photographer extraordinaire (and very good friend) Stacey Kane.
Stacey started out in photography like so many other folks, taking pictures of her children... then taking pictures of her friends children... and today she travels the world with her camera doing what she loves, capturing life.
But you can listen to me ramble any day, so let's get to why we are here, my fellow photographers.... Stacey Kane:
All photographers have a style that is uniquely theirs. For some it happens at the click of the shutter... for others it's in post processing. Some photographers have a very defined look. You can identify their images immediately. Other photographers have more of a "hodge podge" collection.
Neither is right or wrong but to be successful, and equally as important (if not more so) happy in your work, it is crucial that your style and approach match the expectations and desires of your clients.
If you were asked to pick just one image that defines your work could you? If you asked someone else to pick an image of yours that they think best represents your work would it be the same image?
Here is what I consider to be one of my "signature" (wedding) images:
Think about what this image says to you. If you were a bride looking for a traditional photographer... posed formals, etc... would I be on your short list? If you love the "vintage" processed image trend would I be your first choice?
I hope not.
This is important to understand. It shouldn't be about filling shoot dates on a calendar. I am not the photographer for the client that is looking for that style. They are not the client for me. Neither of us would be happy working together. It's ok. There are other photographers that would be a perfect match for them. Both would (and should) be rewarded by the other.
The client that should embrace and react to this image is one that wants a more editorial/documentary approach from their photographer. Someone that wants their photographer to capture moments, relationships, personalities, emotions, etc.... A photographer that is less of a participant in the day and more of an observer. This client wants what's real... funny faces and all.
The image above is the foundation upon which my bio(s) were written and my website and blog were designed. It is one of the signature images of my "brand".
Here is a bio that was written about me:
Any discussion of Stacey Kane's wedding photography should begin with an acknowledgement of her integrity and her knack for producing heaping helpings of laughter. She brings an intensely fresh style to capturing your event, but under no circumstances does she bring anything that feels forced or rehearsed.
Stacey's career as a photographer was borne of a varied, multidisciplinary path that produced a style best described as "photojournalism with a sense of humor." In just about any wedding scenario one can imagine, her demeanor and ease are welcome relief, but she's never stoop to crack a joke just to capture a bride or groom's smile. No, it's her emphatic belief that she's there to document you and your wedding, something she achieves largely through a finely-honed photographic instinct. That instinct has won her major awards, helped her garner the trust of celebrity clients, and given her significant exposure in well-respected publications.
However, what's most important to Stacey is simply this: Emotions are inherent to the traditional nature of weddings, therefore, they needn't be coaxed or conjured - only beautifully presented.
Does the image above match up to this bio?
How about this sketch and tagline featured with that image on my website and on my business cards?
Here is what I consider to be a "signature" image for my portrait work along with the accompanying sketch and its tagline:
Do they evoke the same thoughts and reactions regarding my work?
It doesn't matter what type of a photographer you are.....landscape, commercial, wedding, portrait, etc..... find your signature image and build on it. Choose key words or statements that describe your style. Make sure that everything is cohesive and not in conflict. If you need help ask others to look at a portfolio of your images and see if they can find a common thread that emerges. Go back through the images and choose the one that best matches it. If your style runs a wider gamut choose a series of images and market yourself to a broader audience.
Present yourself honestly and without apologies. You'll attract the clients that will appreciate you and you'll be a happier, more successful photographer because of it.
So.....what is YOUR image? We'd love to see it!
Thanks Stacey for taking the time to share this with our readers, and yes, we would love to see you "signature" image (and share it with our readers), so please upload it to our Flickr group or email it to us.
If you wanted to see some pretty outstanding images from Stacey be sure to checkout her website and her blog.