the secret connection to making a photographer’s brand successful

the secret connection to making a photographer’s brand successful

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?

About the Author:

Angela Pointon studied photography, but had a love affair with business and marketing in graduate school. She decided to combine all of it together when she started Steel Toe Images. She inspires photographers and artists to kick major butt through her consulting. Visit Angela Pointon online.


  1. Debbie Nov 20 2012 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Amazing~ Thank your for your clarity and vision.

  2. Angela Nov 20 2012 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    You are so welcome, Debbie! Thank you so much for the very kind comments!


  3. Taryn Boyd Nov 20 2012 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    Loved reading this. Thank you!!

  4. Sonja Nov 20 2012 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Very deep, loved it!! Thank you for the great perspective and giving more ‘meaning’ to what we do.

  5. yael ilan Nov 20 2012 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    thank you so much. really made me think.
    actually what we are doing is proving that true love exists on this earth and that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder ♥

  6. Cary Nov 20 2012 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Thanks for pointing this out! Very well said and thought provoking 🙂

  7. Angela Nov 20 2012 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Taryn, Sonja, Yael Ilan and Cary:

    Your comments warm my heart and make me smile. Thank you so much for taking the time to share YOUR thoughts.

    Yes, what you do is truly amazing and has unbelievable meaning. I whole heartedly agree.


  8. Jess Nov 20 2012 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Very thought provoking with such concrete examples. Even though I’m just an artist who shoots for myself, with no plans to go into business, I enjoyed this article very much. Thank you!

  9. Angela Nov 20 2012 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Jess, you are sooo welcome! Best of luck to you 🙂


  10. Heather Nov 20 2012 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    I think about this often but have a hard time expressing in words what it means. Only time will tell and the pictures that once were…

  11. Jeanie Nov 20 2012 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    Oh I love this!! I guess I’ve always tried to do this…

    I blog about fashion. I don’t say I’m a fashion blogger. I say “I’m an inspiration fashion blogger with a side order of body confidence”. I usually follow that up with “I’m a photographer enthusiasts and love the creative side of my blog”. …from that I assume people get a vision of what I might do and what my blog might look like. If nothing else there is plenty to talk about leading on from that. LOL.

  12. Colleen Nov 21 2012 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Thank you for so much for this article. Oh I wish I had a beautiful baby photo of my 17 year old son’s feet. This is why I want to make good photos and share that ability and make those connections with others.

  13. Angela Nov 24 2012 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Heather, Jeanie, Colleen:

    I hope the article inspired you even more! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!


  14. Crysti POtter Nov 25 2012 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    THis is so true and incredibly wonderful article. I am off right now from my business and I am trying to think of ways to connect to my clients more when I return, I don’t just want to give them some pictures, I want to give them memories and an experience from start to finish.

  15. McKenzie Nov 29 2012 at 10:24 am - Reply

    WOW! This was really deep, and gave me an all new perspective on photography! I loved it! Thank you for posting this wonderful article!!:)

  16. Angela Nov 29 2012 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Crysti – when you decide to come back to photography, it sounds like you’ll have given a lot of thought to what you’re giving those clients beyond just images. Photography is so meaningful to people… wishing you the best!

    McKenzie – thank you so much for the lovely comments… LOVE!


  17. Marian Mar 25 2013 at 3:29 am - Reply

    I read your descriptions of the feelings the shots should invoke and I started tearing up. You completely described exactly what we should be aiming for as photographers, either professionally or personally. Thank you for such a descriptive article.

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