By Kristina Brewer on | No Comments
You’ve filled out all the forms, gotten all your legal ducks in a row, and worked hard to build a rockin’ portfolio. Now you’re looking around and thinking, “What’s the next step?” Branding! Yep, I’m sure you’ve heard this term a million times, but what does photography branding actually mean?
Well, it’s not quite as simple as choosing a spiffy new logo and a few matching marketing materials. So here are a few essential things to know about what it means to brand your photography business.
As mentioned above, branding your business isn’t just about having a completely matched set of every marketing material you could ever need. It’s about developing a presence for your business that is memorable and true to your business vision AND also appeals to your target market.
Think of how you feel about other brands you know. What feelings does the Chanel brand invoke versus, say, WalMart? Both are legitimate businesses, of course, and each has its own target clientele, but those target markets are quite different.
So knowing what your target market is and how you want your brand to make people FEEL will help immensely in selecting a brand that is right for YOUR BUSINESS.
If you want to attract a high-end clientele, you will want your brand and all that goes with it to reflect that!
(find these gorgeous designs on galler.ee)
The answer to this question is, well, I don’t know! Your business is unique, so your branding needs will follow suit.
You may be catering to an exclusively high-end clientele and want to create an extensive and cohesive brand with a memorable impact. Alternatively, you might be tapped into your local mom’s group and only need marketing materials that appeal to getting them in the door.
Let’s face it; we’re all in a highly creative and individual profession, so just as there are a million ways to personalize the artistic side of your business, you can also individualize your branding needs.
I will say this: there are a couple of simple and important photography branding materials that you absolutely should have:
A great place to start your branding is with a logo. This will be the “face” of your company, so you really want it to reflect your style and be a good representation of your company. It will be the cornerstone of your entire brand, so getting that locked down is essential to building a brand. Don’t panic; there are a lot of options out there, and I promise there is an option to fit every budget.
(find these lovely logo designs on creativemarket.com)
So many people worry that they are not getting started "right" if they can’t hire a designer immediately. You will often hear that you should not switch logos, brands, etc., but I’m here to tell you...it’s OK if you do change.
While you definitely want to avoid developing an elaborate brand and marketing set, matching site and blog, let your clients get used to everything and THEN change it up completely. It’s OK to start with something simple and let your initial photography brand develop into something larger and more elaborate when you are ready.
(find this incredible design on jamieschultzdesigns.com)
My advice for creating a preliminary logo is to keep it simple! Do NOT go crazy with graphics and fancy elements. If you know that down the road, you will want to hire a designer to help you develop your brand, then your best bet, for now, is to find a simple, attractive font and use that to create your logo and watermark.
Tip: If you want to make your own logo in Photoshop, here is an excellent tutorial on how to make a logo in Photoshop.
If you know what colors you will be using, then definitely incorporate them, but if you are unsure, go with something relatively neutral. It will look clean and classy and won’t be a massive shock to anyone when your brand gets a makeover down the line.
The other benefit to using a neutral font-based logo is that, until you are ready to get a custom-designed marketing set, you can find great deals on pre-made kits that you can work your simple logo into for a cohesive look!
There are also a ton of pre-made logos out there, so do some research on those as well. But again, remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE. This is also a great time to start researching designers and getting a feel for the investment you may want to make in Branding design down the road and giving you a chance to save up for it!
(find these beautiful designs on www.birdesignshop.com)
Hiring a designer to create your photography brand is a lot like buying a pair of shoes. If you shop strictly by price, you will often get a pair that will work, but they never fit quite right, and you will eventually grow dissatisfied and look for a new pair.
The same can be said when hiring a designer. Let’s be honest; time is valuable in a world where so many of us work our businesses around relationships, kids, other jobs, etc. Creating a brand and all that entails is a lot of work.
You are probably hiring a designer because you may not be able to create what you need yourself and are looking for outside expertise to make your vision come to life. So try to remember that when researching designers - you are investing in them the way you hope your clients will invest in you.
It is also essential to select a designer that not only knows what they are doing technically but also offers designs that fit your style. Keeping in mind that a designer’s body of work reflects their own personal design style and their client's preferences, you should still be able to get a solid sense of their style.
For instance, if you want a colorful, bold, and outrageous brand, you probably would not want to select a designer that primarily designs clean, simple brands.
Ask around and get referrals from others on the forums you follow or Facebook groups you like. Check out the advertising sections on the sites and forums you frequent...you can usually find some great options that way too!
(find these amazing designs at ohsnapboutique.com)
Ultimately we all know that custom photography is a luxury service, so your clients will come to you expecting a luxury experience (you wouldn’t buy a Louis Vuitton purse if it were presented like the purses at Wal-Mart)! But how you develop your brand is up to you!
Whether you go all out with a perfectly matched marketing set with pretty packaging or keep it simple with only a few dynamic branding items, developing a brand that is right for you and your clients is one of the best things you can do for your business!
Do you have any questions or comments about Branding Your Photography Business? Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Kristina Brewer is the face behind Kristina Kathrynn Photography and Design and she specializes in custom Brand design for Photographers and small businesses. When she’s not out shooting or working away on brand creations she spends all her time chasing around her two crazy little boys. And on rare occasions, she gets a date night with her handsome husband!