Following Trends Without Sacrificing Self
Question: I have an established look. How can I attract new business without totally changing to meet the trends of the marketplace?
As a creative professional, it is important to have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on with trends in your industry.
Undoubtedly, these trends will influence and inspire your photographic style and brand identity. But before changing your look to meet these trends, keep these two points in mind:
- You must stay true to your vision, which is more genuine than chasing a trend
- You might consider an evolution of your photography or brand, rather than a complete overhaul
Influence, Yes … Imitation, No
When we consult with photographers, it’s not uncommon for them to point out photography that they like and admire. They often ask if we think they should change their photographic style to adopt these new techniques.
© Hunter Freeman
Our answer is always the same: Change in your style or look needs to come from within and be part of the vision you have for how your work is evolving. Photographers who chase trends are often disappointed, and it’s our experience that once it becomes a trend it’s too late to jump on board anyway.
We do understand, though, that it is logical for a photographer to become inspired by peers’ work he or she has been seeing and, understandably, be influenced by it. Over time, those photographers find that their own style has evolved – and soon their work has crossed over into a new phase.
The Evolving Brand
As far as branding goes, having an established look is key to having a strong presence in the marketplace. Therefore, it is important to choose a logo and branding strategy that speaks to who you are as a photographer and a businessperson – and then commit to that strategy.
It is also important, though, that when this begins to feel stale, you take the initiative to evolve the look. Involving a designer is always a good idea, as a professional designer can help show you options that organically develop the look into the next level – rather than change it completely.
Some photographers, eager to change their branding look, do so completely - leaving behind the equity they built in the previous look. You don’t want your new brand strategy to appear as though you are a totally new photographer. Instead, consider a forward step that incorporates elements of your previous look, and your prior brand.
Heather Elder represents 9 commercial photographers, hosts an industry blog and stock inspiration site as well as consults with a variety of photographers nationwide. She graduated from Boston University and started her career at an advertising agency on the east coast where she worked as an account executive. It was while working on the Polaroid account that she realized her interest in photography. She left the ad agency to become an agent and producer for a Boston based photographer where she used her agency background to develop her own business style. Heather Elder Represents
1. Breaking Into New Markets as an Illustrator or Photographer
2. Trend or Trendy: When is a Trend Worth Watching?
3. Artist Branding: Avoiding Mistakes, Making Connections