Why it has to be you
It’s not often that sole proprietors such as photographers and creatives are exposed to branding stories, so I’m going to write based on what I’ve experienced.
I don’t remember ever hearing the word “branding” back in the year 2000 when I started freelancing, but I feel like I’m hearing it more and more these days. Branding may sound like a bit of a daunting concept, but it may be easier to understand if you rephrase it as “the reason for getting people to choose you”. When I hear about branding myself, I’m a little intimidated.
I started thinking about my branding because I had to, and in 2005 or so, when I started filming my current theme, “Japanese scenes,” one of my clients told me this. We’ve never given permission for filming before. If I give you permission, you’ll be less likely to turn down others, so tell me why I have to give permission only to you.
Why it has to be you.
This really bothered me. At that time, I gathered all the results I had at hand and managed to get approval from the company, but I was really worried about what I had to do to get the customer to choose me and to convince them that I was right. As a result, I thought about the following, but after many years, I realized that this is what we call self-branding.
The road to brand establishment
Here’s a list of the methods I’ve practiced
Establishment of the activity concept
A concept is a basic policy. Having this set up and articulated will make it easier to explain what you want to do, and it will be more consistent with what you’re saying and the actual photos you’ve taken. If the concept changes, it will blur, so the concept has been the same since 2005. The good thing about the concept is that you can change the subject at will. As long as it is within the scope of the concept, it may be advantageous to shoot rather a lot of subjects when thinking about a photo book or an exhibition. If you have the same picture several times in a row, you’ll get bored. On the other hand, if you keep chasing a specific subject without setting a concept, when you change the subject, the continuity will be broken and you will be back to square one in building your brand. This is a very wasteful thing to do. Also, from the perspective of continuity, when setting up a concept, I think it’s better to set a big, rough goal rather than a very detailed one. In my case, I would like to “support the Japanese scene through photography. This is the first time that I’ve been able to do this. When I decided on the concept, I wanted to shoot rockets, and I saw it as something I needed to do to make it happen, but shooting rockets was accomplished eight years after I decided on the concept. At that time, if we had only set up small areas like science and rockets, it might have been difficult to develop the story afterwards. I don’t think I can set such a high target. Or, “Are you sure you’re okay with me saying such a big thing? Even things that seem impossible, if you work a little harder, will come true unexpectedly, so something so big that you think it’s impossible is just right. If you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to even find your own subject, but if you always think about it while shooting, I’m sure you’ll think, “This is it! I think you can see the concept of “I’m going to do this.
Become a leader in a specific field
Whether it’s a commissioned job or a photo shoot, the other party’s internal reaction is, “Why this guy? I’m sure there’s a lot of talk about this. This is because you have to get a lot of people to approve it. At such a time, “If I was the subject, it would be that guy, right? It’s a lot easier for the teller when everyone is in a position to think, “I’m going to do this. In other words, you have to provide your own reasons for your choice. How could it be this guy? I think it’s important for the photographer to be prepared and make suggestions, rather than asking the other party to find the answer. Well, in the case of commissioned work, I think it’s more important to have a good network of contacts than to be a competent person, but when an advertising agency is presenting to a client, or when they are looking for you online and making an inquiry, you have to ask yourself, “What do you do? I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have the answer to the question, “What’s the difference between the two?
Build up a track record of third-party evaluations
When I started thinking about the reasons for getting people to choose me, I didn’t have a social network, so I was thinking about publishing a photo book and increasing my magazine coverage. In other words, it is a track record that has been evaluated by a third party and put out into the world. In the past, the number of followers on a social network was an indicator to some extent, but nowadays, followers can be bought with money, so it’s only a reference.
As for the presentation of the results, I put them on my website, but I also put them together as output data so that I can give them to you whenever I need them. Creating materials is a hassle, but if I don’t do it regularly, I can’t get them out right away, so I try to do it when I have time.
Doing your own branding is good for you, but it’s also very helpful in understanding what your customers need when they’re building their brand. I think it’s important to not only read books, but to think in your own head and actually move your hands.
Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more difficult to get a job just by being able to take pictures, but I think this is true not only for photographers, but also for the B to B companies that I work with and in various other fields. I still need to figure out how to communicate my work.
That’s all for photographer Joe Nishizawa’s hard-fought struggle!