In just three years, Ivan Wong has professionally photographed for several billion-dollar companies including monarchs like Google, Sony, Audi, MVMT and other big-name companies.
Wong has reached a level of success that he has renewed his contract with Sony Alpha Imaging Collective ambassadorship program and the Google Team Pixel Ambassador program for the third consecutive year since their inauguration.
How can a photographer thrive in such a competitive market with millions of photographers and still manage to reach big-name players in the industry?
In an ocean of photographers, how can the tides turn in your favor?
The key elements to standing out from the crowd are to create feelings and ideas, creating a distinctly unique product while creating feelings that are linked to the brand’s identity. We asked photographer Ivan Wong to share his three key steps to stand out.
Evoke Feelings Through Imagery
Our minds can elicit emotions through images and as a photographer you can manifest the emotions you want your audience to feel. By creating a feeling, you are indirectly asking the audience to have a conversation with you..
The reaction of the audience is what draws attention to your work. Quality, craftsmanship, and delivery are all essential to positive responses.
Without proper delivery, all the emotions you were trying to elicit could completely be lost due to the lack of context. Context can be provided through an idea, through branding, and symbolism.
Context allows emotions to surface and every successful market is driven by creating traffic by connecting with their customers. It can turn an otherwise static or common product to one that draws eyes.
Learning how to influence emotions through photography is the first step in creating a distinguishable work of art. This ability to connect with your audience in a unique manner creates opportunity and value for yourself in the market.
Manifest Your Digital DNA
Every company has a unique identity that separates itself from the rest of the industry. Companies with far too similar identities find themselves failing in a competitive industry. They become too generic and oversaturated, often accidentally running over each other. Customers have difficulty distinguishing their unique features and branding.
It comes as no surprise that photography is a highly competitive industry, therefore establishing an identity is the only way to separate yourself from every other photographer in the business.
The idea behind this is what that your work cannot be replicated, and if you can be, you are the first to create the ‘style’ or ‘fashion’ of choice through your work.
Many artists create in a manner that is so unique, that they reaffirm their distinction by further separating their work from the rest of the market. DJ Mustard has coined his voice tag on all his productions, Picasso embodied cubism, Michael Jackson his moonwalk, and Michael Jordan with his dunking capabilities. Each belonged to a market and created a distinction from it, creating an icon. Building this fundamental DNA won’t be easy. It may start out being the black sheep of photography, but through consistency, you establish branding and that’s what companies will look towards you for when they want to express the same shared vision or emotion.
The ability to manifest an idea and identity can give birth to iconic imagery that will create a legacy in your business endeavors.
Connect to the Company’s Brand Identity
Just the way these legends created a distinction from the market, they specifically elicited unique emotions that the audience resonated with. Companies aspire to achieve this as a fundamental of marketing.
Every company is trying to make itself unique because people want to be unique.
How do companies make themselves unique? By selling the idea that is associated with their brand.
How do they achieve this? Commercials, and advertisements through photography.
Creating a new image, creating a new feeling, and connecting with the audience in a way that serves the company’s’ identity is the best way to sell the company’s products.
This in itself is so valuable that companies as large as Google, Sony and Audi simply cannot resist.
This is how icons are born.
Nobody has ever succeeded by blending in with the rest of the crowd. People don’t remember words or actions as much as they remember the feeling that they felt. These experiences carry longer when the feeling lasts.
To succeed in an industry like this, understanding your identity as a photographer shall be established and your reputation shall be built around this.
Once you have created a signature style, you can fit your skills to match the identity of the company or the brand that is associated with your craft.
This is how you make a place in the market, and this is how you create opportunities to define yourself from the crowd.