You’ve filled out all the forms, gotten all your legal ducks in a row and have been working hard on building up 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 over by now 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 important things to know about what it means to brand your photography business.
What Does it Mean to “Brand” your Business?
Well as I mentioned above, branding your business isn’t just about having a completely matched set of every marketing material you could ever possibly need. It’s about developing a presence for your business that is not only memorable but true to your business vision AND that also appeals to your target market.
Think of how you personally feel about other brands you know? What feelings does the Chanel brand invoke versus, say, Target? Both legitimate businesses of course and each have their own target clientele but certainly those target markets are quite different.
So knowing what your target market is, as well as how you want your brand to make people FEEL will help immensely in going forward with selecting a brand that is right your YOUR business.
If you want to attract a high-end clientele you’re going to want your brand and all that goes with it to reflect that!
(find these gorgeous designs on galler.ee)
What Kind of Brand Materials Do I Really Need?
The answer to this question is, well, I don’t know! Your business is unique to you, 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 that really has a memorable impact, or you might be tapped into your local mom’s group and only need marketing materials that appeal to getting them in 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: it's safe to say that there are a couple simple and important photography branding materials that you absolutely should have. A logo/watermark is essential the moment you start to post images online anywhere. Not only for advertisement purposes but in order to protect your photos. And a great business card will also go a long way in your local community to get your photography brand recognition started as well!
Where to Start with Photography Branding?
Your best option is to start with a logo. This is going to be the “face” of your company so you really want this to be a reflection of both your personal style as well as a good representation of your company. This will be the cornerstone of your entire brand so getting that locked down is an important part when it comes 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)
Do I Need a Professional Designer for My Photography Brand?
So many people worry that if they can’t hire a designer right away that they are not getting started ‘right’. You will hear it said often that you should not switch logos, brand etc. but I’m here to tell you...it’s OK if you do switch.
While you definitely do not want to develop 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 out with something simple and then let your initial photography brand develop into a larger more elaborate brand when you’re ready.
(find this incredible design on jamieschultzdesigns.com)
Creating a Starter Logo for Your Brand
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 now is to find a simple, attractive font and use that to create your logo and watermark for now.
Tip: If you want to make your own logo in Photoshop here is a great 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 not sure go with something relatively neutral. It will look clean and classy and it won’t come as a huge 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. Also, this is 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 the chance to save up for it!
(find these beautiful designs on www.birdesignshop.com)
Hiring a Professional Photography Brand Designer
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 are working our own 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 both because you may not be able to create what you need yourself, but also because you are looking for outside expertise at making 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.
(find these classic designs at designaglow.com)
It is also important 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 not only reflects their own personal design style but also their clients preferences, you should still be able to get a solid sense of their style.
For instance if you want a brand that’s colorful, bold and outrageous 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 pages 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 was 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 and pretty packaging or you 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)!
About the Author: 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!