Finding Your Vision

Photo Credit to Michael Bonocore/Resource Magazine

In today’s world we are surrounded and stimulated by visuals everywhere. Elements of motion, menu boards when you’re going into a restaurant, billboards down the highway, magazines, the Internet and of course social media. If you’re an artist marketing yourself today, it’s so important to have your own vision that highlights your assets and attributes. This allows you to be noticed and seen with your own visual voice.

I would start by thinking about what your emotional brand is.  What are your personal attributes that make you unique? These attributes describe the core essence of who you are as a person; they help to define and make up a brand that is you. If you’re a visual learner, which I’m sure most of us are, try illustrating it. First, create a circle with the center saying emotional brand. From there, create lines extending out that describe your attributes. These will probably include areas such as your personal value structure, as well as your core ethics.

Once you understand your emotional brand, it’s important to understand how to verbally and visually communicate your physical brand. We do this by creating a strong understanding of what we are attracted to. I encourage you to look at the world around you, from magazines and the Internet, to your everyday life. You could be in Home Depot and see a color sample in the paint aisle that totally inspires you. Start collecting imagery that visually speaks to the work that you want to be doing in the next one to three years. You’re looking for the aesthetics in the work, the visual characteristics of the pictures. For example, if you find an image that has a color palette that you’re connected with, that would be a reason to save it. You’re not pulling imagery because you want to work for the clients or you want to re-create that image. You’re pulling imagery that visually speaks to you and has different creative features that you’re connecting with. After you pull a selection of images that speak to you, look at the collection to figure out that overall connection and themes that are represented in those images. What are the visual characteristics that you’re finding in this selection of images? Look at the compositions, the lighting, the relationships with the subjects, specific traits of those images that speak to you. Understanding that awareness will allow you to look at your own work and see which images possess those brand attributes. Then you’re able to understand and edit your work to build a vision-based portfolio. At this point you’re able to see the gaps in your work. It will allow you to take a step back, look at your work as a whole, and begin to shoot for the missing areas.

This gives you a strong understanding of your physical brand attributes. Again, you can do the same thing as before. Create a circle and put your physical brand in the center. Start to build outwards, extending the lines to show what those attributes are. The key here is to make sure that you’re creating a strong synergy between your physical brand and your emotional brand. If the core of who you are and the core of your work are two different worlds, it’s going to be very difficult to stay connected and produce work that feels true to you. When the brand and emotional attributes are connected, the work has a stronger genuine quality which will then come translate into your marketing, presentation and assignments.  Having a strong emotional brand helps you be remembered. It resonates with your viewers and creates a connection that is deeper more powerful and influential.

When your audience closes their eyes and hears your name, can they see and describe your style? If the answer is yes, you have a strong emotional and physical brand. Your vision is you.

Jennifer Kilberg

Jennifer Kilberg’s unique insight into the photo industry is a result of her extensive experience and understanding of all aspects of photography since joining the industry in 1996. In 2004, Jennifer started FluidVision Inc. and has worked with a diverse international client base of photographers and illustrators of all styles and specialties. As a strong communicator, Jennifer enjoys working with all types of personalities, and her loyal client base is a testament to her ability to build long-term relationships. Jennifer has worked with Agency Access clients since 2009 in both Campaign Manager programs and other types of consultations.

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  • Ivonne - 5 years ago

    Great article Jennifer! It is so true and I think that’s one of the things that I’ve been working on in the past few years. (PS I haven’t forgotten I have to get back to you! and I’m going to soon…)