We’ve worked with a lot of photographers, and we’ve noticed something: A lot of them don’t consider themselves “writers.” That’s ok! Not taking naturally to writing doesn’t have to stop photographers from creating effective marketing materials. These copywriting tips can serve as building blocks for photographers to create on-brand, ethical copy.
5 Copywriting Tips for Photographers
Tip #1: Know your brand voice.
Your brand voice is how you communicate your brand identity through your copy. People sometimes don’t realize that they’re producing copy every day. Whether it’s website copy, blog posts, ads, or social media captions. The language you use should be consistent across platforms. Ideally, people would read an Instagram caption and a blog post from the same photographer and know it was the same brand without looking at the handle or URL.
If that sounds intimidating, start small. No one gets there overnight. Consider what words you want associated with your brand. What attitudes do you want to convey with your words? Just as you consider how your images make people feel, think about the same for your copywriting.
Tip #2: Make a brand voice cheat sheet.
One of my favorite copywriting tips for consistently implementing your brand voice is to make a brand voice cheat sheet. Keep it handy so that you can glance at it any time you’re feeling stuck or unsure about a blog post or caption. In addition to ensuring consistency, it can help shake the writer’s block loose.
At Brandcendent, we make brand voice cheat sheets for our website copywriting and blogging clients. Here are a few things we include:
- Sentence structure
- Word choice (Try making yourself a brand word bank!)
Tip #3: Keep it positive.
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t mean that you should pretend that some things aren’t hard. Your clients may be getting married or caring for a newborn. Those momentous life events can trigger all sorts of hard emotions for folks. Pretending these times are only happy doesn’t help anyone.
What I mean by “keep it positive” is this: Rather than harp on pain points, help people see the great experience they could have with you. You don’t have to over promise. (No photographer can guarantee a stress-free wedding day, for example.) What you can do is say things like “I have a low-stress approach to portraits.” When they’re backed up with details and testimonials, statements like this show potential clients the benefits of working with you without you dwelling on their fears.
This advice runs contrary to traditional marketing advice, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t feel natural at first. It takes time and a lot of practice to unlearn the “pain points” approach to marketing.
Tip #4: Allow room for nuance.
Conventional marketing doesn’t leave much room for nuance. We’re trained to tell people what they need, and what they need is our service. Photographers document people in vulnerable moments, so it’s important that they don’t assume everything about their audience. After all, the human experience is so diverse! It’s hard to say that there’s one right way of doing something, especially weddings.
What does this copywriting tip look like in practice? Reframe statements about what your clients “need” as suggestions about what might lead them towards the experience they want to have. The blog title “5 Reasons You Need a Wedding Party” can be rephrased as “5 Reasons You Might Love a Wedding Party.” You’re not necessarily throwing out the heart of your content. Instead you’re making space for people who straight up love wedding parties and people for whom they may be a little more complicated.
Tip #5: Write for your dream clients.
At the end of the day, the vast majority of your copy is marketing material. Make the most of it by creating it with your dream clients in mind. I’ve seen a lot of photographers write blog posts as if they were for the clients whose wedding they’re detailing. This is understandable but also misses the mark. Your blog posts are about providing value to and making connections with the people who haven’t booked you yet.
Does this mean you need to create a client avatar to write copy for your business? Conventional copywriting tips will tell you, yes. At Brandcendent, we take another path. We lead with our values. In our experience, that attracts clients who are aligned with our clients. It also makes space for people you may not expect to be attracted to your photography.
Did you find these copywriting tips helpful? At Brandcendent, we specialize in ethical, SEO-driven website copywriting and blogging services for photographers. Check out our packages to see how we can help connect you with your dream clients.