I am frequently asked about how to move the “Personal Brand” forward. Previously, I wrote about How to Find Retouching Work, but before you find that work, how do you stand out in the crowd?
I could easily say that the first thing you need to do is create awesome work. You need to build a solid portfolio that puts you well above everyone else. Then, once you have their attention, you need to keep it. Let’s see how you can do that.>
Define Your Passion
It’s not “To retouch images”. It needs to be more. When you are finally able to clearly define that passion, then you suddenly realize why your “to do” list rarely gets any shorter. Usually, this is because the task is not in alignment with your passion. This often means that it will not get you any closer to your end goals. "Cleaning the gutters" will not get you notice by agencies, photographers, or whatever, so you will likely just put it off.
Define Your Brand
Clearly defining your brand, makes your everyday decisions easy. There are many ideas I have for my blog, or my studio website. Most of them are never followed up with. This is because they are not in alignment with where I want to take the business. Of course, there are many ideas that I should be doing, but simply do not have time for. Why? Because I have a clear vision, and the best ideas take the longest to develop. Like my Photoshop Classes. That started as a single beginning to end 6 week course, and turned into about 24 weeks worth of material. Realistically, I will never even finish the project, but I think it would be fun to try.
Define Your Style
Focusing on your distinct style will further separate you from the crowd. For example, I do like the “dark and gritty” look that has been all the rage for some time, I am personally not afraid of color. This means I can easily that something that is trendy, and put my own spin on it.
Discover your own unique style. What attracts your eye and speaks to your soul? Just remember that for all the best artists have their own style, they usually have a solid understanding of anatomy and perspective. Crap that has style, is still crap. Be sure to understand the basics first.
Define Your Niche
Here’s a suggestion: Take your top 10 favorite images, and figure out what they have in common. Once you know, that is where you should push your brand, and your define your niche. One day I realized that a majority of my photography was “Man made structures, within a natural environment” ie: a bridge crossing a river. Once I was able to identify what i like to do, I could now look for more jobs just like it.
Alternatively, as a kid, I enjoyed drawing comic books. When I grew up, at age 24 I worked at Marvel Comics. Why? The stories sucked. They were not written for me (I was too old), but still I loved the medium. When I realized that it was bright colors, stark contrasts, and dynamic poses, then it was easy to translate that into other fields, not just figure drawing. Now, as I get older, I am quite happy working on portraits. Not the High School or Wedding kind, but other more intersting shoots. The kind where the photographer is able to capture the essense of the subject, and I can bring my own flair to the image.
Define Your Image
Which corporate brands do you admire? Dissect it, and figure out the key points. You can then incorporate those points into your own brand. Clean? Colorful? Fun? Snarky? Think about the logo, marketing, advertising, and website. How do they make you feel? Comfortable? Excited? Deviant?
Now that I have shared with you my own thoughts, try to define your own passion, style, and brand.
If you would like to learn more about Photo Enhancement from a Professional Retoucher, I offer two Photoshop Basic Courses, as well as a Photoshop Intermediate Course. Please contact me today, and I will be able to add you to the schedule too. If you would just like to watch online videos, The Art of Retouching Studio offers many Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners and Advanced users.