Ever have trouble wrapping your head around photography branding? Here’s a quick explanation of why you should make it a priority!
What exactly is photography branding? You stumble across a website or Instagram that just looks…so…put together. The photos are all different, yet they all send the same message, have a consistent color palette, and just an overall “feel” that draws you in. It sends a message. It is distinct to that business. It’s just looks, PERFECT. The next feeling is one of, “how the heck do I do that?!” Well, when you break it down piece by piece, it’s not quite as complicated as you think!
Branding is styling your business in a way that creates a mood, feeling, consistency, with the intention of conveying a particular message! When people think of your business, you want them to be able to describe it in a positive way that is unique to YOU. Photography branding in simple terms, sets you apart from the competition with a distinct style. Don’t try to be like everyone else in the industry!
Create a mood board!
Ok, I know, you’re probably thinking that “mood boards” are a new trend, and to a certain extent, you’re right. The thing is, they are on trend because they are a great tool for finding your style and business “mood.” Mood boards come in the brain storming stage of branding (or rebranding) your business. This is the time you can choose what your brand represents visually. Pinterest is a great (and free) place to start looking around and finding what images match your personality! Some people also create a physical mood board by cutting out images from magazines or that they find online. It’s great to reference when you are unsure of something matches your brand. Canva is a great place to start!
Colors and fonts create the beginning of consistency!
Consistency in a brand is key, and it starts with the little things. People want to know what they are getting when they spend their hard earned money. This consistency creates feelings of loyalty and trust, unique to you and your business. Colors and fonts on your website seem like minor details, but it’s in those details that people begin to get a “feel” for your brand. A little insight into the human brain; people feel safe when they know what to expect.
Check out this awesome tool from Canva to start playing around with color palattes!
It’s not just about a logo, but it starts there!
Having a logo is a great start in your photography branding journey! A logo is the face of your photography brand that will ultimately follow you throughout your business. It will be on your website, social media, appear on invoices, and marketing materials (like your business cards and advertising). If you’re like most photographers, you won’t just have ONE logo for the next ten years of your business. Actually, in four years of business, I think I’ve had four (and boy, some were pretty bad). As your style evolves, so will your logo…so don’t be afraid to change it up.
For how to add your logo to Lightroom, read this great tutorial!
All of these logo designs came up when I typed “photography branding package.”
A logo is a great first start because it signifies the start of your business, and THAT is amazing. Most people start with a design idea and then find someone to make it come to life. Etsy is a great place to hire professional logo designers (in all budgets), or you can design one of your own with Cole’s logo templates. Ask yourself what you want your brand and logo to say! Who am I marketing to? Do I want it to be classic or more unique to your personality? What do you want people to think when they see it?
Remember that consistency happens gradually!
Do you remember that time between your 20s and 30s? If you were anything like me, I was wondering around without a clue, trying to find my place in the world. If you’re there right now, that’s awesome, enjoy the uncertainty! Just as our lives evolve, so does the style and intention of our businesses. What are you most drawn to in images? This is unique to everyone, so there is no one right answer.
The biggest compliment I’ve received in my business (after four years) came from something so minor. My friend Jen was chatting with her colleague at work about his son’s Bar Mitzvah. Jen didn’t know that I had photographed the event, but she said as soon as she saw the pictures, it was clear to her that I had taken them. That blew me away! What this means is that she had seen a consistent style in my work, and immediately recognized “my brand.”
Be ok with not everyone loving your style!
Trying to please everyone is going to get really old, really fast (like it does in life). Some photographers love dark, moody, intense images, while others love a more joyful, bright and light feel. There are clients and markets for ALL moods. When you are trying to be everything at once, people get confused. When clients hire you, it’s because they have the faith that you will deliver images they love.
Nail down a “message” in your photography branding.
What do you want your overall brand to say about you and your business? Think of 3, 6, or 10 words that you want your images and style to mimic. Here are some examples:
Classic, clean, minimalistic, colorful, joyful, fun, emotional, dark, moody, vintage, elegant, creative, funny, caring, professional…
You get the idea. Now, every time you want to showcase a photo on your website, Facebook or Instagram, ask yourself if the image you are going to post meets those adjectives. If not, maybe consider posting something else. When you start operating from this framework, everything will come together in time.
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” -E.E. Cummings
Branding in your business is a great opportunity to be yourself. The thing is, most people are simply trying to “fit in,” which makes you just like everyone else…and that’s not very exciting or marketable. What can you offer to your clients that no one else can? YOU. Your style, your vision, your art and most importantly, your personality. So go for it! Don’t be afraid to try something new! Express what is inside versus what you think others expect. This is your chance to show the world what YOU have to offer! Go big, or go home!