5 Practical Tips When Branding Your Photography Business
So I’m going to kickstart this post by admitting that it’s my first post as a guest. I may or may not do this right…are there rules for guest blogging? There likely is…I’d venture to say there’s a blog post or two on guest blogging. I clearly did not read them. If I haven’t lost your attention with my admission then allow me to introduce myself and my topic. I’m Samantha Egan from Ontario, Canada. Born and raised. I attended university in Indiana, Florida and Virginia and somewhere in the middle of my education I married a Pennslyvania boy (he’s lovely). We settled in Canada and I began a photography and graphic design business. We have two boys that I could write countless blogs about because I’m slightly obsessed (removes mom goggles) but that’s not why you’re here so I’ll control myself. I get to talk to you about branding your photography business. Specifically I am going to walk you through why a brand is important, how to settle on a brand style and look, what to avoid and a bit about how the process with the designer might look.
Branding is the face of your business. The right branding assures others of your professionalism before you have even spoken to them and at times, before they have even seen your work. It represents your style and can tell your audience the kind of personality behind the camera, and therefore, a bit of what to expect at a session and throughout the entire process – from booking to purchasing prints. Because photography is such a personal business, the message your brand sends is an essential one. Viewing photography awakens the artist in everyone and your brand is an extension of the images you are displaying. Even the most quality image is hindered by a bad brand. When your brand compliments your images, the result is a beautiful thing. It tells your audience that you are not only talented but professional. It gives the impression that you are both and an artist and a businessperson. We’ve all seen a great product with a bad brand and instantly the product loses some of our interest. The last thing you want is for your brand or lack therefore to hinder your business’ potential. Have I convinced you that a brand is a valuable asset to your business yet? If not, stop reading. Just kidding, stay and just trust me.
Your branding matters very, very much. When working with photographers on their brand, I often find that they struggle on how to properly represent their style. They usually know what their style is and can describe it with a few words but get stuck on how that translates into a logo. My last few points (how to settle on a brand, what to avoid and what the process looks like) are going to overlap as they work together. Deciding on brand style requires some help from your designer. I give my clients a questionnaire that asks questions about their photography, the clients they hope to attract, the logos they are drawn to, whether there are specific fonts or colors to avoid, if they prefer a font stand-alone logo or one with a graphic and so on. I do some good old-fashioned creeping and make a judgment call on whether the photography the client is producing matches the way they are describing it. It is an involved process that requires some reflecting from the client on their business and some research on the designers. I take a look at the competitors in your area to be sure the client and I are remaining unique in our branding efforts.
I obviously feel pretty passionately about branding so this may be slightly dramatic, but when you and the designer come up with the right logo, you just know.
It’s a little like love.
If you are looking to brand, here’s what I suggest:
· Find the right designer. Someone who will work with you and is passionate about creating a brand that’s perfect for your business. The cheapest doesn’t always save you money in the long run (a quality brand has the ability to attract a lot of business) and the most expensive might not be the right fit either. What matters is their flexibility, capability and dependability in the designing process. Be sure you understand the cost and what rights you have to the logo, and what you receive once you’ve chosen a logo (request a variety of file types).
· Be prepared. Don’t come to your designer with no clue. I know it can be a potentially overwhelming process but take a seat and figure out a general idea of what your photography style is, what direction you’d like to take your business, and what logos attract you and why. It will be worth the extra effort. Your designer is absolutely there to work with you, but we can’t get inside your head.
· Have preferences. Know what colors, types of logos, and types of fonts (serif or sans serif….google it!) you are drawn to. Once you’ve received your first draft of logos, be specific about what you do and do not like about them.
· But, be open to suggestions. You can be both picky and open. This is your business, no one cares about its’ success as much as you, so being specific about its brand is a good thing. However, allow your designer to comfortably make suggestions. Process said suggestions without preconceived ideas; we might surprise you. If nothing else, alternative logo ideas will give you confidence that you were right all along and no other logo could represent your business better than the one you pictured from the start.
· Steer clear of trends. I love trends. You’d never know it by the way I dress, but I really do. I really don’t like branding yourself with one. It’s tough, especially when you actually love the latest one but it will pass. They always do….pretty sure that’s the definition of trends. In this ever-changing world of design, we don’t expect our logos to last for 15 plus years, but we’d like them to stand the test of time through next March so specify logo desires accordingly.
· Don’t settle. If you’re not feeling it, say so. Request to see your logo as a watermark on a few of your images, in black and white and in various color arrangements (it’s amazing what changing up the colors can do). You want to use this logo for years to come, so be sure it’s one you picture yourself still loving down the road. Once you have chosen THE logo, brand it up. Use the logo, this might seem silly, but it would surprise you how many clients pay the money for a logo and don’t upgrade their business cards, signs, and website to display their beautiful, business-attracting brand. I could go on about websites and our need for upgrades throughout the photography world but I’d be incredibly hypocritical to do so as I am still using a blog as my “website”. Don’t judge. Those two boys I barely talked about require a lot of time. If you walk away from this post, realize how important your brand is in representing your business.
If you are interested in some branding, whether it be a logo, business card, some advertising or something else, I would be happy to offer you $25.00 off your first project! Simply email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this post!