Being a photographer, I have photographs as proof that I produce quality work. So, it's about what images I take that shows others the strength in a good portrait, and hopefully makes them want to get a portrait taken by me too. The strategy is to put the opinion leaders in my group of friends, as well as people who inspire me in town on a list, get in contact with them with a phone call, email, or Facebook message, and set up dates to shoot a portrait of them. It's surely possible even if I have never met them in person. Social media plays an important role today, and most people want to present themselves professionally, and do it with depth. There's nothing better than a good portrait. This is my marketing campaign, so it's crucial to do it well.
I'm thinking of it as business cards going viral. I'm not putting watermarks on the images. The aim is to do it so well that people ask them who took the photos. This is a way to entrench your name and personal brand as photographer, especially if this opinion leader or inspiring individual mentions your name, thanking you for the portraits through their social networks.
I am fortunate to be in the fashion industry where I shoot, but I also assist and do lighting for large fashion campaigns. I get to share studios with stylists, make-up artists, and studio owners. These creative teams all promote themselves with work they produce. What will strengthen their reach is to have a great profile picture. So the stylists can style themselves for the shoot and the make-up artists can make-up themselves for the portraits.
I have shot landscapes, cityscapes, estates, and products for advertising. I've learned that the one photograph that gets the best reactions are those of a person, a character in their own right. These images also get shared most because people react mostly with images they identify with and have an emotional response to.
Portraiture doesn't need to be the photography genre you want to pursue, but it's a great way to build a personal brand and get yourself known by people. If you can take great portraits, people notice. Everyone wants to be portrayed in a certain way. Give them portraits that, when they look at them, will feel great about for having and sharing. Portraits are empowering, both for the person being photographed, and for the people seeing these photos of the person. It creates an impression of that person and can elevate them psychologically and professionally, and for this reason it's the best way to learn interaction with your model, client, or talent.
The best bet for creating an impression in your city or town is to get out a pen and paper, write down your list, and connect with the people. Get shooting, and share these images with them in a professional way. Email at best. And once they use it in their social media, only then share it on your own feeds, and only then tag them. That way, they give you a thumbs up, meaning they like your work and they are willing to share it.