Marketing Series Part 1: Defining Style & Branding

So there I was, signed up to my 15 month Campaign Manager program through Agency Access with 12,000 shiny email credits ready to blast London by storm. But before I was allowed to send even a single promo there was work to be done behind the scenes getting my “brand” ready to market.

This is something they urge you not to take lightly, and even dedicate 3 months preparation time getting you ready for that first important mail shot.

So what’s it all about?

The first step is to define your style, which is something you should already have a good idea of before you even think about marketing yourself to larger clients and agencies.

For me my style is “graphic-gritty fashion photography with a touch of grunge”.

To be honest this wasn’t an overnight realisation though, and my hard drive is filled with test shoots I love that I couldn’t shoe horn into this description for my portfolio no matter how hard I tried, but the one piece of advice that I repeatedly heard was the importance of having a signature style and how much easier it is to market with a niche.

If you are at the stage where you know you need to define your style but are overwhelmed by all the different inspirations out there and struggle to nail it down then I have a simple tip for you that I learnt from the Australian fashion photographer Peter Coulson.

– Create a Pinterest board or folder on your desktop called “My Style”

– Find and save 5-10 images that inspire you each day

– At the end of the week go back through and delete any you no longer truly care for (be brutal)

– Repeat for 2-3 months and what your left with is your preferred style

– Go out and shoot it!

With my style defined it was time to look at my branding.

For fashion photographers our websites are our shop windows, so let’s take a look at what mine looked like then:

The first thing I had to address was the design in general and my choice of website provider. Whilst Behance is a great platform for photographers their Prosites are pretty limited, and the search engine optimisation & blogging features are virtually non-existent (but that’s another series of posts entirely).

For now the main problem is instead of having a large, enticing image filling my shop window and enticing clients to come inside, I have lots of thumbnails.

Secondly, my logo. Whilst clean and graphic, taking inspiration from designers I love like Saint Laurent was missing that touch of grunge to tie it in with my brand.

Let’s take a look at what I have now:

As you can see I now have full-screen images when visitors hit the homepage that can easily be updated to keep it looking fresh. My logo, whilst kept the same has an extra flourish that performs two important functions: Firstly the choice of font in contrast to the clean Helvetica added that touch of grunge my style defined, and secondly it acts as an important statement by placing me as a player in LONDON!

Next time we will be delving into the web-edit, your online portfolio and how Agency Access helped me build mine. If you want to play along then prepare 200-400 of your strongest images ready to be cut, culled & collected into tight and punchy galleries.

Read more of the Marketing Series

Adam Marc Williams