Marketing Strategy for Lifestyle Family Photography
What is a, marketing is, I love it, I'm obsessed, actually, with marketing, but we can't get too into it, because that would be, like, a whole day class. But I do want to talk to you a little bit about strategy for this type of photography, which I've sort of already been giving to you. Right, like, what we were talking about is, before the client has even actually inquired, what is their experience with your brand when they land on your website, when they land on your social media? So what is a marketing strategy that really works for lifestyle photography? Like this, meaningful. It's telling your story, it's sharing your why. So remember, we talked about that, what is your why? What is it? Meaningful lifestyle photography isn't appealing to people visually, it's appealing to their emotions. So you really have to go there with your marketing. You really have to be willing to share that why, and you're sharing a little bit of yourself, which is a little bit of a vulnerable thing, I get...
it, it's kind of hard to do, but you gotta do that, and that attracts these people that are like, "Yeah, I want that deep human connection in my work." They don't know that's what they want, you're kind of telling them that with your why, but that's what this is. So marketing is essentially telling your story, it's telling your why, that's, remember the chicken guy, right, like he, I bought chickens from that guy because he feels passionate about what he's doing and he is sharing his why, and when you land on his website, he's doing it there too. So that's what you're gonna do with this kind of family photography, is you're going to appeal to your future clients' emotions. Okay? So when I am speaking about marketing like this, and talking, speaking your why, I do this with every line of communication that I have out there in the world. Every time I post to social media, I'm sharing my why. Now you're gonna get on there and you're gonna be like, "Oh yeah, she is, she's talking about the same thing over and over again." It's kind of true, though. Every page of my website shares my why. Every point of contact with my clients shares my why. I'm doing it constantly. And we're gonna talk about it in a second, I'm gonna give you some really specific examples. So I'm gonna read this. I know that those of you at home, it might be a little bit small, but this is just an example of me sharing my why. So this is an Instagram post, and I'm gonna read it. So I said, "Motherhood is messy. Nothing can prepare you. It brings the highest highs and the lowest lows. I always say that I never knew I had anger management problems until I had kids." It's true. "Just being real here. But I show up, just like you. I work my hardest so that the three little ones who call me Mommy know how loved and cherished they are. And I know you do too. At every session I make it my mission to show my mothers that I see the goddesses that they are. And I show them, because this is how their babies will remember them." I speak my why. And it's hard to do sometimes, sometimes you run out of words, it's fine. It doesn't have to be that long, this is an extreme example, but you can infuse that. Remember I was telling you about my why earlier. I want to celebrate these mothers, I want to show them that their crazy family, that chaos, is beautiful, that this is something to be celebrated, that I see how powerful she is as a woman. This is not a lie. That's why your why has to be genuine. I mean this with every ounce of my soul, and people know that. People can sense when something isn't authentic. So, a mom that falls on this, sees this picture, and then sees this, and if she connects to my why, we meet, we already know each other. We're already pals, and that is generally what happens. My moms show up to my session, and I'm like, we have similar parenting styles, our kids are often the same ages, some of us have the same career paths, it's actually kind of uncanny. And it's because I am infusing myself in my work and in my social media stuff. Okay. So I got ahead of myself a little bit there. So when they inquire, they're already connected to me as a person. They know me. I am putting a piece of me in every picture. I am breaking the rules, I'm doing all of this stuff that maybe isn't what we should be doing, but that's me. And so when they are inquiring, they're already like, okay, I know her work, but they know me as a person. And like I said earlier, this is a saturated market, and we are all shooting with the same cameras, and we're all doing family photography, and we're all editing with the same software, right? So what can you do to set yourself apart? You can put yourself into your photography. That's, you are unique, every one of us is, right? And I know that sometimes when you're sharing on social media, you feel like your story isn't worth sharing, but it is. It is. People will connect to that. Alright. So they don't know that they're doing it, but families are shopping for an experience. They think that they're shopping for a photographer, they're shopping for an experience. Now, I will give an example that is maybe not gonna sound that nice, but you know how sometimes you, when you're new, and you're doing the search, and you're looking around, and you see a photographer and you're like, "She's not really that good. Why does she have a thriving business?" Well, she's probably selling a kick-ass experience. So, it's a big deal. How your clients feel when they interact with your brand, and when they interact with you, and when you have your session with them, and when you deliver the images, again, we're back to that feeling thing. It's so much more important than the art that you're making, actually. So, you have to think about, what do you want your clients to feel when they are thinking about having a session with you? How do you want to make them feel during the session? Do you want them to be, you know, do you want them to feel comfortable, do you want them to feel like it's a laid-back experience? What do you want? And that's gonna be different for everyone, 'cause our personalities are all different, right? My clients, they all want a very easy and fast experience. They want it to be laid-back and fun. My clients are generally very, very down-to-earth and laid-back, because that's kind of what I attract. I have a friend who, she lives in Texas, she says I attract the women that their hair is higher, you know, the higher the hair, closer to God, and her clients are, like, super high-maintenance. And she loves them. That's her client. Her client wants her to walk them through everything. Her sessions are really long, she does all these consults, totally different. So you just have to think about, what is that feeling, that session experience, that you want to provide? I spoke ahead of myself again, but yeah, just again. And this is gonna be different for you. So I'm telling you, like I said, I would be a horrible teacher if I wanted you to be like me. I don't, and I want you to find what is you. What is it that you want to provide? This is gonna be totally different for every single person that does this exercise and thinks about it. And like we were saying, how do you want your, what do you want your work to feel like? Now you are thinking, what do you want your session and your client experience to feel like? It's kind of that same, we're coming from that same emotional place, but it's the business side of things. But it relates.
You mentioned, as we were starting to talk about creating that portfolio, and defining your style, can you say this for beats four three five? What does Elena mean by "push my portfolio to the extreme"?
That's a good question. So, what I mean is, if you, I guess I could go back to that picture, but, if you think that you want people, you're going to attract people that want those photographs that have movement and that are maybe breaking some rules, and that are using light creatively, I'm just using my portfolio as an example, then you want to put really extreme examples of that out there. Because of course, I photograph that more traditional photo and the really pretty artistic lifestyle photo, and everything in between, and I try to post on my portfolio mostly those more extreme lifestyle photographs, because I really want to make sure that the person who is coming to me is very much in line with what my vision is.
And so to that point, someone asked, it just says, "I love how you create and capture images in the way that is true to yourself. How did you find or discover your own style?"
That's a good question. So, that's kind of like what I was talking about with, in the first segment, is that you really do need to do a lot of soul-searching. You really need to think about why you're doing this, and I'm going back to that why, we're gonna talk a lot about your why. But because if you, that's where it came from for me, is I was, I had become a little bit out of alignment when I first got going with family photography. My first why was to capture my son authentically, and then I started doing it for business, started thinking I needed to fit a certain mold, and when I got back into alignment with my why, and realized that the reason I was doing this had very little to do with that perfect family photo but more to portray a romantic, beautiful version of what I think the emotion and feeling a family is, that's when my vision started to become a reality. So you have to just do that introspection and look in, and really think about why you want to do this. It takes time. Like I said, be patient with yourself. And be willing to change.