brand Identity
If you were to take a set photograph of a particular subject and so forth with all the exposure and composition parameters already set for you... would you be able to tell your image apart from the others that participated in the same experiment?

One of my favorite challenges I give in my workshops is the task of photographing a very normal and mundane object and then comparing with all the others who participated in the experiment. As it turns out, this can be a very big eye opener to how you approach your subjects. Hopefully you will see that there are innumerable ways to photograph anything and everything.

Your Image Brand
There are several attributes of your works that you can use in achieving your brand. It is not just the subject matter or the angle of view of your images that you sets your brand identity, or what would be used to mark that as your work and not someone else's. And yet, one of the best ways to ruin your brand identity is to copy someone else's or at least try to. It won't happen over night, but through your own process of shooting, processing and reviewing, you will begin to develop a style unique to you. While you may have influences from others, it is the task of ironing out your own processing and presentation methods that will give you a clear cut brand identity.

Another very critical aspect of finding your brand is, NOT to try an produce images that you think will please people (talking of fine art images here of course) and that you look for subjects and scenes you think will be a great shot and others will love it. I call that "chasing the market" and you will only end up with a stack of unsold images. Of course if you don't seek revenue from your images, then you are probably not guilty of chasing the market.

A prime example of what I am talking about is this image "Barnaby", that I captured just for my own enjoyment, processed it, then printed a 12x18 and mounted it. Just for fun I took it with a batch of inventory to the Turning Leaf Gallery in Blue Ridge, Georgia that carries my works. And just a couple days later it was adopted out.

In fact, For me it seems that all of the "off the wall" pieces I have hung in either my own or in consignment galleries, have sold quicker than the more conventional works I offer.

Don't Confuse Having A Brand Identity With Themed Pieces
There is a difference in your brand identity and having a series of works in a theme. In my collection of works I have several subject themes as well as for different processing style themes. But amongst all my works I try to have a common attribute of their presentation, that you can associate with as my brand.

My brand identity is based on what I call "visual confusion", a technique in which I have multiple depth-of-fields going on in one image. Combined with a level of vibrancy just beyond what is normal without being super saturated HDR type images. Although there are facets of HDR involved, it is more a use of "exposure blending" than anything else.

As for my explanation on "processing styles" as a theme... I have noticed that I will process my images a certain way for a while and then migrate to another style, and so forth. As for example in my Mediterranean Collection, I kept it pretty much straight photo with only 1 depth of field. Also included is a red layer that is shifted over 2 to 3 pixels that gives it a 3D appearance. Much like in the same manner that 3D images are produce with the 3 offset layers, Red, Green & Blue.

This piece, "Kimbra & Lee", is from a selection of about 4 or 5 pieces where I also used a black line (much like one from a sharpie marker) drawn over some of the detail edges and a large square shape as the bokeh pattern.

Unfortunately, due to having too long a break between production of images, I quickly forgot the steps used in processing those images that I can no longer process them in that same style.

Thus, I have assorted themes in subjects, or in processing styles, or both. My main objective is for a visitor to the Gallery to be able to tell that all of my pieces are produced by me, as for them having a similar presentation and visual statement.

I would like for people to see my work out somewhere or a place where they would not expect it to hang, and can look at it and know it is one of mine without having to see the signature.

Carving Out Your Brand
As for the portrait, wedding, sports and advertising segments of the photography industry, you still can create your brand. May have to get a little creative and step out of the box every now and then, but in all venues of photography you can indeed have a brand identity.

For some photographers it can be a definite lighting style, certain pose styles of models, or the props used in their images. Or the angle view even, as long as the various aspects of your brand always and consistently tie together. Probably what you most DO NOT want to achieve is to have work that looks just like someone else's due to some unique aspect of your images. Although they may look fantastic, if they look like all the others in that class of photographers, then what have you accomplished?

Whatever you do, don't spend your efforts trying to copy someone else's style... spend the time developing your style.

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