Day 16: What Makes You Stand Out

I’m a dedicated reader of photography blogs and educational sites. I am all over Fstoppers, Creative Live, and don’t even get me started on Jasmine Star (Can I get an AMEN?). Time and time again I read articles on setting yourself apart from the competition. For a long time I would try to make lists on what set me apart and I always came to the same conclusion: Everything I do, someone else can do too.

It’s true. I can give gifts in my business, but so can anyone. I can be quick to follow up on emails, but so can anyone. I can produce beautiful images, have a lighting fast turnaround time, send handwritten notes… and so can you. So what is the REAL thing that will set you apart?

Well, as we discovered yesterday, not everyone is putting their best foot forward on client experiences, but just for the sake of this post, let’s assume we are ALL running a business with a very polished experience. Our website is amazing, our portfolio is gorgeous, our workflow is baller… everything lines up and is just as it should be. What ACTUALLY sets you apart?

There was a day a couple of years ago that I was determined to think of the answer and write it down. Truth be told, I was terrified of freezing if the question was ever posed to me point blank. What would I even say?? I had to be prepared.

It was very late that night and I was staring at an empty notepad. There wasn’t one thing I could think of that someone else couldn’t replicate. My friend, exasperated, finally told me. He said:

“I’ve been waiting for you to get it all day. The answer is YOU.”

I blinked at him… what? ME? And indeed, it clicked. That’s the ONLY exclusive thing that you have. Taking beautiful photos, creating a client experience, posting great content on Instagram, those are all givens. Everyone should be doing that. What comes next, what is going to set you apart is you. It’s the only thing no one else can replicate so we have no choice but to USE that to our advantage.

So how can you use yourself to set yourself apart? (What a weird sentence…)

  1. Share photos of yourself on social media. People want a face to put with a name. Social media isn’t meant to be faceless… let people get to know you.
  2. Go to networking events. Look up WEN or WIPA in your area and attend a meeting. The more you go to these events, the more familiar faces you will see and the more familiar your face will become among vendors.
  3. Find five things about yourself and post about them often. I love my son, Harry Potter, house plants, vintage cameras, and birds. What do you love? Post about it once a week or even every other week and as people get to know who you are and what fills your life, they will naturally be more drawn to you.
  4. Market with video. It doesn’t have to be fancy… a cell phone video is just fine. Post on Instagram stories or Snapchat so people can see and hear you talk. The best thing when a client shows up for a consult is when they say “I feel like I know you.” Trust me, I know it’s awkward, but keep putting yourself out there and people will feel a connection to you.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments down below. How do you set yourself apart? What are your five favorite things that you can put out there to build a connection with people?

Tomorrow we are talking about client consultations for day 17!

Day 98 is currently reserved for any questions you have throughout the next 100 days. To submit a question, please click here!¬† If you’re interested in supporting this project, please share, PIN and comment! Any other questions, comments or ideas, please feel free to email me at denise(at)denisekaris(dot)com

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

denise karis photography blog 100 posts in 100 days for photographers