Brought to you by the photographers at SmugMug

How to Get Paid for Being the Real You

"My style is very interactive. I am talkative, funny, interested, silly, loud at times, and from the instant I meet a new client I treat them like an old friend. There is no awkwardness, no breaking the ice. I jump right in and start playing peek-a-boo with their kids and asking them about their childbirth stories. I love people. I love hearing about them, their family, their job, their life. I want them to be comfortable enough to relax and show me who they are in the course of our shoot.”

Meghan MacAskill Photography

What's your style?

We don’t mean those blingy jeans you wear. We’re talking your photographic style. Customers have a certain style in mind when searching for a photographer, so it's important to make sure you are expressing a style that's true to you.

When describing your style, think about:

•What makes you unique? What is your signature? What about your photography will attract clientele?

• What are you passionate about conveying with your photography? What inspires you?

• Do you capture moments? Tell a story? Make time stand still? Freeze the action? Are your photographs edgy? timeless? fine art? modern? grungy?

• Do you make heirloom portraits, or gorgeous landscapes? Are you a photojournalist? Do you travel far and wide in search of exotic wildlife?

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Photo courtesy of

The one word common to each of those questions is YOU. People hire you for you: your personality, your expertise, your demeanor, your creative vision. Identifying your style will help you to establish your brand and your business model. It will help you understand who your customers will be, or who you want them to be, and will help you to establish your place in the market. Your style leads to creating your brand.

Admirers have called Grant’s work "traditional," a label that used to amuse her until she began to grasp the implicit compliment. "It’s interesting because I don’t come from a classical photography background," she says. "Now I want to be considered timeless. My images are very clear—sharp, well-exposed images that are not over-manipulated. Very organic. People see that and like it."Andi and Zoe Photography

What can you do to find your style?

You’ll find inspiration in all kinds of places - in art, from other photographers, in magazines and books, in the way that you decorate your home and office. What speaks to you the most, what inspires you to try something new?

Look at the work of others, try to understand how they achieved the result, think about situations that the technique would be appropriate, and if it is something that you would like to be able to emulate.

Search out other photographers on forums, at workshops, in local meet up groups.

Use the powerful SmugMug Search tool to find photos you love.

Pinterest can help you collect ideas for setting up, posing, lighting and more.

Shoot, shoot and shoot some more.

Try new things, expand your horizons, and you will come to understand what you enjoy creating and what you don't.

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Photo courtesy of

Think about your business like a customer.

What kind of customer do you enjoy working with? Are you more comfortable with the formal family portrait, or a play day in the park? Do you prefer dramatically lit studio portraits, or edgy outdoor backlighting? Are you the master of the speedlight? Make sure prospective customers understand what you offer. You can’t be everything for everyone, and that’s alright. Hone in on your style, attract the customers that dig your style, and create the best experience possible for them, and for YOU!


Make sure that your style is clearly reflected in your portfolio, in your website and in your messaging so the prospective customer can get a good sense of you, your work and whether or not you are a good fit for their needs.

Whatever your style 

SmugMug provides a beautiful platform for the display of your beautiful photographs.

• Advertising free, super fast image loading,

• a variety of display styles to choose from,

• tools to help share with fans easily and quickly,

• privacy controls for client galleries and

•  eCommerce tools to help you sell your work.

Identifying your Style will help you to Build Your Brand