Lori Pickens

3 Common Branding Mistakes Photographers Often Make (and How to Fix Them!)

Hey there! Welcome to another episode of Photo Goals with Lori Pickens. Today, we’re diving into something super important yet often overlooked – your photography brand. And nope, we’re not just talking about having a cool logo or a snazzy website. We’re getting into the real deal: the heart and soul of who you are as a photographer, the experiences you create, and those unforgettable feelings you leave with your clients. If you think about it, your brand is like your secret handshake with the world. It’s how you say, “Hey, this is me, and here’s what I’m all about,” without even uttering a word. But let’s be real, crafting that perfect handshake can be tricky. It’s easy to stumble into a few common traps that can make your brand feel a bit… off.

So, what’s on the agenda today? We’re going to chat about three big branding no-nos that photographers tend to slip up on. But we’re not just here to point fingers; we’re here to lend a hand. I’ll share some handy tips and tricks on how to sidestep these blunders or fix them if they’ve already got you tangled up. Whether you’re just picking up your first camera or you’ve been in the game for years, refining your brand is a journey we’re all on. So, grab your favorite drink, get comfy, and let’s tackle how to keep your branding on point, making sure it truly reflects the amazing photographer you are. Ready to turn those oops moments into aha moments? Let’s dive in!

You’re Trying to Cater to Everyone

Let’s chat about a common hiccup that might be holding you back: trying to be everything to everyone. You see, when your brand is casting a net too wide, it loses that special spark that makes people sit up and take notice. It’s like being at a buffet with a hundred options – sure, there’s plenty to choose from, but does anything really stand out? Here’s the thing – focusing your brand doesn’t mean limiting your creativity. It means honing in on what you do best and shouting it from the rooftops. 

Why blend into the background when you were born to stand out? And let’s talk turkey about pricing. Competing on price alone is a race to the bottom that no one wins. You’re worth more than just being the budget option, right? You want clients to seek you out for your unique style, your unparalleled expertise, and the unforgettable experiences you create. Not because you’re the cheapest ticket in town. So, let’s pivot from being a jack-of-all-trades to becoming the go-to specialist for what you truly love. Trust me, your brand (and your bank account) will thank you for it. Let’s make your photography brand not just seen, but sought after, for all the right reasons.

Have a Niche or Unique Selling Point

When you have a niche or a unique selling point, t’s like finding your photography superpower that sets you apart from the crowd. Ever stopped to think, “Who am I really photographing for, and what unique flavors am I bringing to their world?” It’s time to get crystal clear on that!

Let’s dive into the essence of your photography identity, shall we? Imagine defining your vibe so vividly that your ideal clients can’t help but be drawn to you:

  • Picture yourself as the daring adventure photographer whose lens captures love stories atop windswept peaks, or perhaps as the enchanting newborn photographer crafting fairy-tale imagery with the softest lights and tender props.
  • Are you the master of candid snapshots, where raw emotions and spontaneous moments unfold naturally, or the genius behind joy-filled, interactive sessions that make everyone forget the camera’s even there?

There’s more to your brand than just genre and style. It’s about connecting on a deeper level:

  • Maybe your mission is to champion body positivity, using your art to uplift and empower, or perhaps you’re all about binding families together through the timeless power of photography.
  • And don’t forget the power of your own journey. Whether it’s your wanderlust that turned you into a globetrotting wedding photographer or personal battles that inspired you to help others see their true beauty through transformative portrait sessions.

By honing in on what makes you uniquely you, you’re not just another photographer in the sea of many; you become a beacon for those seeking exactly what you offer.

Discover Your Brand

When you answer these questions and explore what makes you unique, you can develop a clear brand identity that resonates with your ideal clients. The more you know about yourself (as a photographer) and your ideal clients, the better you’ll be able to connect with them — because then you’ll actually know how to connect with them. And you’ll start to feel more confident about your brand too.

Don’t worry if you currently feel all over the place with your brand. It takes time. Learning to do business takes time, especially if you’ve never done it before. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve been in this business for 14 years now, and you do grow and you learn more and more about yourself. I turned 40 this year, and I feel like every year you let go of some of those preconceived notions of what you think you should be, and you start to really embrace what you are, what you do love about yourself – and what you can offer this world.

So, embrace this process. Let go of who you think you should be and celebrate who you are. Your unique story, approach, and vision are not just your brand’s backbone; they’re the magnetic force that will attract your ideal clients. Together, let’s craft a brand that’s authentically you and irresistibly appealing to those you aim to serve. Your brand’s evolution starts with self-reflection, and I’m here to support you every step of the way. Let’s turn your branding challenges into triumphs and watch your photography business soar.

Lack of Consistency in Your Branding

Another pivotal branding mistake many photographers make: inconsistency. This issue can leave your brand feeling disjointed and scattered. Have you ever visited a photographer’s website and Instagram, only to feel like you’re looking at two entirely different entities? This is a clear sign of branding inconsistency. After pinpointing your ideal client, it’s crucial that every aspect of your brand—from the visuals you select to the messages you convey—resonates deeply with them. Consistency isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the cornerstone of effective branding.

Here’s the bigger picture: Branding transcends mere aesthetics. It captures how you’re perceived in totality, from your brand persona and communication style to the overarching tone you set. By ensuring consistency across these critical elements, you’re not just creating a brand; you’re building a reputation. This uniformity fosters a sense of reliability and professionalism, making your brand instantly recognizable and positioning you as the go-to photographer in the minds of potential clients. A consistent brand presence doesn’t just capture attention; it keeps you top of mind, significantly increasing the likelihood that clients will remember you when they’re in need of photography services. Embrace consistency in your branding strategy, and watch as your photography business becomes not just visible, but unforgettable.

Woman in bright pink coral jacket with dark brown hair leaning on a teal green wall holding a notebook that reads only my cat understands me while looking out the window on the side related to the podcast episode about common branding mistakes photographers often make

YOU Are Missing From Your Photography Brand

In your photography business, establishing a connection with your audience is paramount, even if crafting a personal brand doesn’t seem necessary for every photographer. Overlooking the opportunity to share personal insights and make yourself memorable can be a significant branding mistake. Jenna Kutcher’s experience is a testament to this—her decision to post photos of herself led to substantial growth on Instagram, highlighting the power of personal connection in photography. For photographers, making potential clients feel comfortable, connected, and trusting is crucial. Most individuals aren’t accustomed to being in front of the camera and may naturally feel awkward or uneasy. 

This common sentiment underscores the importance of building trust. By allowing clients to know who you are and ensuring they feel at ease during photoshoots, you’re not just taking pictures; you’re creating an enjoyable and memorable experience. Demonstrating that you understand their apprehensions and can guide them confidently through the photoshoot process is key to capturing their best side and fostering a comfortable atmosphere where they can truly be themselves. Thus, integrating personal elements into your professional persona can significantly enhance client trust and comfort, leading to more authentic and relaxed photoshoots.

But you gotta tell them, or even better, show them that.

  • Tell people what kind of photographer you are (i.e. let them get to know you!), why you got into photography (share your passion with them), what they can expect when they book a photoshoot with you (assure them that you know what you’re doing and that they’ll be in good hands), etc.
  • Show them what it’s like to work with you behind-the-scenes. Have someone record you for a day while you’re out with a client (if it’s cool with that client, of course) so that others can see for themselves what it’s like hiring a photographer. Set them up for success by calming their nerves and addressing their worries.
  • Embrace Your Authenticity: Attracting Clients Who Click with You
  • In today’s online world, standing out requires more than just amazing photos. It’s about letting your personality shine through!  Think of it like making a new friend. You connect with someone who shares your humor, interests, and overall vibe, right?  The same goes for attracting your ideal clients in photography.

Don’t be afraid to share your quirks, your laugh, and what makes you tick. This authenticity fosters a genuine connection that goes beyond the lens.  Remember, it’s okay to turn away clients who aren’t a good fit.  The right ones will find you, drawn in by the unique light you bring to your work and online presence.

Photo Goals with Lori Pickens

Thank you for tuning in to Photo Goals with Lori Pickens to learn about common branding mistakes photographers often make. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be thrilled if you could take a moment to leave a review on the podcast. Your feedback helps me continue to deliver content that you love and helps others discover the podcast too. For more behind-the-scenes and daily inspiration, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. But that’s not all – if you want to be the first to get updates on upcoming podcasts, tutorials, and all things photography, make sure to join our mailing list. It’s the best way to stay connected and catch all the latest from Photo Goals. I’m excited to have you as part of our community and can’t wait to bring you more engaging and educational content. Thanks again for listening and supporting Photo Goals with Lori Pickens.

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Lori Pickens is a Mother, Wife, Tech Geek from Parkersburg, WV, and the podcast host of Photo Goals. She is a true lifelong local and has been photographing in the area for over a decade. She serves families from Parkersburg, WV to Marietta, OH. Lori is also a Click Pro Elite and Click Community Mentor. When she’s not capturing pictures or spending time with her kids, she enjoys organizing her lists and spending time on her family farm.

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