I read an article last night in Shutter magazine that really made me stop and think about how I have approached the photography industry and how I represent myself. The article was talking about your “tribe” and how to brand yourself, vs what so many do. You can read it here.
Upon reading the article, I realized I fell into the trap so many photographers do- rather than focus on what I enjoy shooting and what makes photography such a joy instead of a job for me- I was grasping at everything that would come my way, just for some semblance of income. Don’t get me wrong- photography as an income supplement is important to me, it helps me pay my bills and keep a roof over my head- but my passion for photography is above that. It’s my art that drives me, not the dollar signs.
People don’t go to photographers just for the pictures they’ll receive (though that is a pretty large reason), they go for the experience. When you’re trying to appease everyone and shoot everything– what kind of experience can you really offer your client? A harried, impersonal session? No set of photos that gleam over the others? Lackluster work, at best? It does nothing for you, your brand, or your work to go about trying to do all the things.
(This isn’t to say you can’t offer to shoot a wide variety of things- many of us are able to cover a good selection of genres easily. But there is always one or two style types that stand out above the rest in our portfolios- and those should be our main focus.)
In this day and age of social media, people- your potential clients- want to know about you. Who are you? Why are you shooting? What makes you photograph what you do? What is your passion? They don’t just want to see your work on social media, they also want to see bits and pieces of you. Behind the scenes images. Feedback from clients. Snapshots of your pets, your kids, your other hobbies, your home life. By making them feel like they’re a part of your life, you gain members of your “tribe”. (Ah, hip words. How out of touch I feel with them sometimes.) This isn’t to say you should post all your personal laundry online- but don’t be distant, either. Having a great day at the beach, just relaxing? Why not take a quick cell-phone shot of your view and upload it, letting your fans know? About to go on a vacation you’ve been dreaming of? Ask your fans for some input on the best food places to go while at your destination! It’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
We all have that line of “photographer of blah blah years, blah blah area, blah blah blah”. But get deeper. What’s your passion? (Noticing a trend yet? I hope so.)
Well, what about Kat Lucille Photo? What’s my passion?
For myself, I’ve been re-directing my website and work to reflect who I am, as oppose to continually grabbing at straws. I started a few months ago when I did determine that my primary photography focus is conceptual, emotive imagery, easily on par with my nature photography. I love being able to tell stories, send a message, or just make you think with my photographs, and I absolutely adore working with other creative individuals who want to show off that side of themselves as well.
I have several book projects going on right now that reflect just that- my Let Me Cover You in Flowers, What Lurks in the Deep and In the Hidden Places are all conceptual works. After all, no standard beauty shoot is really going to include a siren crawling out of the ocean with webbed hands, is it? I have plans for glitter baths and models in pools filled with sprinkles. Not things you see every day.
On the other side of the coin, I also have my #LoveisLove project going on- where I am showcasing all kinds of love. In this world of so much pain, sometimes people find it hard to look for the silver linings. I want to show them that there are bright spots, no matter where you look. Friend love, pet love, relationship love, parental love- you name it, I want it shown.
As a fierce believer in women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, mental health, and animal rights- I have drift towards imagery that showcases these feelings as well.
I want to empower women, particularly those who have been bad places, like I have. I want women to be comfortable in their skin an not ashamed of how they look- we are ALL beautiful. (Hey, guys- YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL TOO!) Just because society and media shame you if you don’t fit into your mold, doesn’t mean we have to believe them.
I want to see my LGBTQ friends celebrate their lives and relationships proudly and out. I want them to not be ashamed of their sexuality, their choices, their lives. I want them to be happy, and I want to be able to capture those moments and celebrate with them.
For those with mental health and disabilities, I want to end the stigma. I’m not ashamed to say I have depression- I don’t know many people who don’t suffer from some kind of invisible or visible illness. Let us be seen.
Oh, and how can anyone forget my love of nature? As a nature child, I can’t not be passionate about the world surrounding us and the animals who we share this planet with. Nature was and is my first love, and has always been my place to return to when I need to recharge and be away from the havoc of people. A very large chunk of my portfolio and work is based in nature and animals. A day without animals- whether my cats, or a day at Howling Woods- is a day wasted. (Kind of like a day without music. I need that daily, as well.)
In a very tiny view- that is me, that is what makes up Kat Lucille Photo.
Who are you?