Turning your work into a brand is not an easy task, and it may seem overwhelming if you’re just starting it out. In this episode of Chase Jarvis RAW, Chase Jarvis meets Ben Von Wong. They share some tips and thoughts that could help any photographer who wants to build a brand and grow their business.
Ben started off as a self-taught photographer. As you probably know, so far he has created plenty of projects that gained significant popularity. He has collaborated with some famous brands such as Nike, and his ideas often make him push his limits. When he and Chase chatted about the techniques for building a brand these were the three main tips Ben gave.
1. Put work into the portfolio you want to get hired to do
Think of the work you’d like to be hired to do. Now, take the best examples of that type of work and put it in your portfolio. This works for all kinds of creatives, and the same goes for photographers.
Whatever you want to shoot, don’t lament over the lack of resources. Do your best to achieve the professional results even on a low budget (you can always consult our DIY section to get some ideas). For example, if you want to do automotive photography and don’t have access to luxury cars – shoot model cars. And create some killer shots to attract the clients.
Have a vision of what you want to do and where you want to be, and go one step at a time towards reaching this goal. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t wander from this route. If, for example, you shoot weddings to survive, create a separate portfolio for that and don’t mix it with the one related to cars.
2. Create projects with a headline in mind
Another tip from Ben is that you need to create a project that you can describe to people. If you want them to talk about what you do the concept needs to be concise and “shareable.” You want your headline to show exactly what the project is about.
It’s also important to be different. According to Ben, today it’s more important to do something that’s different than something that’s good. And when you do create something different, it must be possible to describe how it is different from other projects out there.
3. Design the life you want to have
The third tip sounds very simple, but it’s essential (and sometimes difficult to achieve): focus on what you want and design your life around that. If you love traveling, you can focus on that and build your career on travel photography. If you like being on social media, you can create the social media content. If you hate it, don’t try to become a social media influencer.
Chase adds that you need to think and build your brand with the end in mind: where would you like to be in one, five or ten years if everything turns out okay? Build the portfolio and your career around it. Of course, it’s okay to change, we all do. Ben says he also changes his life from time to time – but his ultimate goal remains the same and I’d say he’s moving towards it.
When you are creating, you need to be aware of the world we live in and create content with the audience in mind. After all, you are creating for a specific audience, so you have to pay attention to it.
Although it sounds simple when Ben Von Wong and Chase Jarvis talk about branding, it’s a long and painstaking process. No one is immune to twists and turns, but persistence, consistency, determination and constant learning will get you there. And I think talks like these are a good place to start and pick up some tips and tricks.