Yesterday, I received something in the mail that made me say, “huh?” I found it astounding that the company that created the marketing piece I got has one of the biggest budgets in the world yet I had no idea what they were trying to sell me. I not only couldn’t understand it; I couldn’t connect with it.

This proves that money is not what buys brand clarity.

I’m not here to talk to you about having a high impact logo or a color scheme that’s really beautiful. Nope. I’m here to talk to you about something much bigger than that. Something much more emotional than that. Something much more foundational than that.

What do you do?

As photographers, we have a bad habit of saying “I’m a photographer.” People get it, but they don’t connect with you in any way shape or form. And sometimes we’ll be a little more specific, right? We’ll give them a little more information about us, thinking that this adds clarity, such as “I’m a wedding photographer.” Or “I shoot families.”

But what do you really do?

Because when you talk to your potential customers or to me about what you REALLY do and what you’re here on this earth to prove, then I can connect with you. Then I can understand your brand. Then I can understand what you contribute to the world.

A few examples.

Do you give a mother the time capsule she needs to remember how small her 8 lb baby boy once was on the very day she helps him unpack his size 13 sneakers and place them into his dorm room closet for the first time?

Instantly I can envision what this photograph might look like. How tiny and beautiful that little baby’s feet were 18 years ago. And I even connect emotionally with the woman who paid that photographer X dollars to take the photo. Because when my son goes to college, I know I’ll need a reminder of how small he once was, too. That photo, by the way isn’t worth X dollars. THAT photo is worth more. Much more.

Or do you freeze the exact moment when fate is proven? When two distant star-crossed lovers who met serendipitously by sitting next to one another on a business flight went from wishers to believers? They sit together in their new home and every time they pass that photo they think: anything. Anything is possible.

And I can instantly envision what this photograph might look like. Those two people standing tall against a vast landscape. How that couple might view the world a little differently. How I view the world a little differently, too. How capturing their proof of fate not being just a romantic concept, but true. That very moment captured by you is further proof that together…they’ll be able to conquer anything.

wedding photography
*image © 2012 Morrissey Photo

Give it some thought.

What do you have the potential to give your clients in the days, months, years that pass after the photographs are taken?

What do you want to prove to the world of doubters and non-believers?

What yearning, what desire do your photographs satisfy for all humanity?