It’s not easy to read a business book that is 250 pages long within a couple of weeks, much less read it twice.
But that’s what I did with Maurice Jager’s book, “Personal Branding For Photographers.”
While there are webinars and courses for photographers to learn all about “personal branding”, Jager’s book is the first and most comprehensive book I’ve read on the topic.
According to Jager, “Branding is the process of giving people the opportunity to create a perception of who you are and what you offer; the creation of a brand experience.”
TL;DR – If being seen by your audience means anything at all for you, you can skip the review below and just buy the book and read it. It is required reading, which you will reference again and again as you change your personal branding strategy.
Reading “Personal Branding For Photographers”
The book is hefty, not just because of its length but also because of the content. Jager begins by walking the reader through the importance of taking stock in one’s own story and background. If you buy the electronic version of the book and print it, I am going to guess you will have copious notes on the margins of this section because Jager nudges all kinds of interesting questions I had never considered before.
This first section of the book really got me thinking about how I present myself to the world and why I have held back so much. I can shore it up to being shy or introverted, but to Jager’s point, I just need to get over that and do the work.
The questions Jager suggests come at a rapid-fire and if there is one thing I do wish for is a set of worksheets that could have accompanied the book that one could download. As I said, I would and could easily fill the pages I had printed but having something fresh to use would be helpful.
Once you have answered those questions, you can then embark on your “visual strategy”, which allows you to share “authentic and powerful content which reflects your personality, work, and process.” This process of repeatedly showing up online or in-person has a way of communicating to those interested in your work that you are an expert in the field.
Getting To The Heart Of Telling Your Story
Jager offers an in-depth framework for visual storytelling, making the six chapters the bulk of the book.
Here are the six chapters:
1. Who are you?
2. What’s your background?
3. How do people see you?
4. What do you want to achieve?
5. What are the details?
6. What do you sell?
These overarching questions are subsequently broken down with even more questions for us to consider. The amount of content you are going to generate from this exercise alone is massive and is going to take you some time, but Jager confirms that it will be all worthwhile in the end.
The responses to these important questions lead us to create our story and Jager provides a social media matrix where we can use the content we have created in a very methodical, yet creative manner.
Interviews That Bring It All Together
In addition to the many examples in the book, Jager deftly segues into lengthy but informative interviews with a variety of successful photographers. You’ll read perspectives from Andrew Sommeling, Clay Cook, Dani Diamond, Glyn Dewis, Emily Teague, Pratik Naik, Humberto Tan, Tony Taafe, John DeMato, and Peter Hurley. My advice: don’t skip these parts of the book. There is gold in there too.
Part of owning your own domain is to have an active blog. Given how lousy I have been on my commercial websites with blogging, I found this section particularly useful. My advice is to print Jager’s eight guidelines for publishing a blog and having it within arm’s reach when you are looking to publish a blog post. In fact, I used it to create this post!
There is a lot to read and do in “Personal Branding For Photographers.” It’s not a passive book. It’s only in your action that you will see results from this book. For folks like me who often get overwhelmed with ideas and not knowing which action to take first, second, or third, Jager’s book gives me structure and a sense of satisfaction when portions of it are done and I can move on to the next task. In some respect, it’s a workshop in a book form.
After I read the book all the way through the first time, I wanted to see if some of the strategies mentioned in the book would work for me. I had almost never posted a selfie online, though I am warming up to the idea of having my photographs being seen online. So, on two recent photoshoots, I had someone photograph me working. I posted both to Instagram and was floored by the number of people liking the post.
Here are the Instagram links for you to check out!
There is a lot more to “Personal Branding For Photographers” and I wish I could mention it all, but I hope I have whet your appetite a bit for it so that you can buy and read it. In addition to the book, Maurice Jager runs an active Facebook group, an annual conference, and a podcast.
Like anything he does, Jager’s heart and soul are in every venture, so, again if being seen and eventually hired to work with your audience is important for you, I highly recommend you read “Personal Branding For Photographers,” and also sign for the conference (coming July 2021) and subscribe to the podcast. I was honored to be on Episode #19.
Lastly, I love this quote in the book because ultimately this is what personal branding is all about:
When people already trust you, prospective clients have no reason not to trust you, too.
Why Should You Buy ‘Personal Branding For Photographers' Now?
So, why do you need to read Maurice Jager's book now? Two big reasons: As a photographer, you are looking for a way to stand out authentically within your community and what you will have is a playbook that walks you through the exact steps to present your brand in your own way. Do the work prescribed in the book, and success will find you. This is $30 investment is a no-brainer in my opinion.
Still on the fence? Watch this video to learn more from the author –