Meet Urban Safaris Director and Brand Photographer, Kate Dyer
In a snapshot tell us about Urban Safari?
My interest in photography began while I was studying marketing at university. I participated in three Study Abroad programs and wanted to capture my travels so turned to the internet to learn all I could about using my camera. When I graduated and began working in marketing roles, photography grew alongside that as weekend income, and eventually I gave up the day job to focus solely on my business for income. I’ve transitioned from travel images, to weddings and family portraiture, then into brand and commercial work. My marketing background plays an important part in my work these days, meaning I can offer both creativity and strategy in the images I create.
How important is it that your brand’s bright ethos transcends into the experience and service you provide your clients?
Very important! When people arrive on my website, the images and copy make promises that the entire customer journey needs to fulfill. The more consistent I can make each step of that process, the greater trust I will build and the better everyone feels about the outcomes. If I want to be know as “the photographer for colour lovers”, I have to build colour into everything I do – emails, my studio space, my phone manner – it all adds up!
Tell us about one memorable event or shoot you have worked?
Back when photography was still a side hustle, my supervisor asked me to bring my camera into work one day, along with my passport. It turned out I needed White House security clearance to photograph our boss meeting US President Obama, who touched down in Air Force One to make a brief appearance at the local air force base! Talk about right place, right time.
Now that everyone has an iPhone and the ability to take their own photos, why do you think it’s still important people turn to the professionals?
Because a professional is so much more than the tools they use. We all have the equipment required to take a photo, but not everyone has the understanding of light, or composition, or the ability to make a subject feel comfortable. Unless you really know your way around these areas, opting for the DIY approach is a fast track to not being taken seriously – you can get Brian from IT to take staff headshots for the office under your fluro lights in the boardroom, but it will do more harm to your customer’s perception of your business than it will save you a few dollars.
How do you think having a marketing background has assisted you achieve your business goals?
More often than not, the product or service you offer can be easily replicated or provided by your competition. For example, a lot of people can sell candles. But what makes someone want to buy YOUR candles, vs those other candles? It’s the way you communicate with them. Understanding how to get inside a customer’s head and speak to their needs and wants is essential.
The biggest takeaway I got from studying marketing is that you need to sell what people need or want to buy. You can’t sustainably convince people to spend money on garbage. I’m constantly revising my offerings to match what I feel people are asking for, rather than trying to convince them they need what I want to create. Marketing is what will set you apart from others in your industry, and can make or break your success.
What advice do you have for other small business owners?
Take the time to work out what makes you different. Don’t be afraid of those differences, but use them to your advantage, to stand out and be memorable. Have ideas, and act on those ideas. While everyone else is busy coming up with excuses for not trying something new, be the one out there giving it a go.