A new framework for success in your photography business

Written on April 28, 2011 by in Business savvy, For photographers only

Courtesy of MommyandMePhotography.com

This post is the fourth in a series sharing my thoughts about the state of the wedding and portrait photography industry and how we can all work together to make it better.

The wedding and portrait photography industry is in crisis. Commoditization is threatening our ability to make a living wage, and many once successful photographers are struggling or closing their doors. The old ways of distinguishing ourselves — experience, technical skills and client service — are no longer enough. The latest buzz on differentiating yourself via your brand is too little, too late. So, what now?

If you want to create a business with staying power — one that serves you as well as it serves your community — you must infuse yourself into every element of your business.

The graphic below presents my simple, but powerful framework to capture and distill key elements of you into a unique and meaningful brand and public image. Each component is discrete and considered independently, but works together as an integral part of the whole:

Art Aligned Framework


From the complicated, nuanced essence of you, your brand and public image are distilled by:

  1. First, identifying and acknowledging your personal motivations. Because your lifetime experiences are utterly unique from every other person on this planet, your reasons for choosing your art form, business structure and subject matter will be like no other.
  2. Next, you develop and articulate your vision, so that prospective clients will understand what you stand for.
  3. From a solid understanding of your vision, you explore and choose appropriate stylistic elements to reflect it. Style includes your artistic medium and approach, your use of light and other technical considerations.
  4. And last, you craft a clear, consistent brand based on your personal motivations, vision and style.

Each step of the discovery process has an associated question-word to help guide your thinking. For example:

  • Why did you choose photography as an artistic medium? (Motivation)
  • What do you want people to think and feel when they see your work? (Vision)
  • How do you bring your vision to life, through choices of equipment, lighting, composition and post-processing? (Style)
  • And finally, who are you, as an artist and business owner? (Brand)

Although the Art Aligned framework is a simple concept, implementation can be challenging. It requires soul searching and often some external input from a trusted friend or advisor. We are so close to our own strengths and motivations that we may not even recognize them for what they are: one-of-a-kind gifts that no one else on earth possesses. Yet your individuality is your greatest advantage in a crowded marketplace; it is what you must hone and utilize to your best ability in order to stand out and to get your ideal clients to notice you.

Understanding the outline for the Art Aligned framework is a solid first step in uniquely differentiating your art or photography business. Distilling your motivations and strengths into a one-of-a-kind brand can be done alone if you’re committed to the process, but if you find you need help, drop me a line or consider joining my next Art Aligned Workshop. The next workshop begins in just 10 days, on May 10th.


This post is the fourth in a series about the wedding and portrait photography industry. You may also be interested in:

  1. State of the industry: Portrait and wedding photography
  2. Differentiating your business, part 1: Why the old ways no longer work
  3. Differentiating your business, part 2: It’s about more than branding
  4. A new framework for business success
  5. How to differentiate authentically + consciously
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. […] in the article has similarities to the one I’ve been developing on my own since last fall, the Art Aligned framework. First, she suggests that you look for trends in your life, which is what I help people to do in […]

  2. […] A new framework for business success […]

  3. […] A new framework for business success […]

Trackback URL

Provocative philosophies on passion and profit, plus my latest mentoring and workshop offerings for visual arts and photographers.

The Inspired Way
Need a little inspiration to find your ideal life? Check out a new, free guide by 22 creative women (including me):