Your photography brand is so much more than a logo. But what does that mean? Our expert reveals the myths and truths of successful branding! (Featuring: ANGIE WEBB)
If you’ve done any branding research, you already know: your photography brand isn’t just your logo. A brand encompasses everything – from the first email to the final photo. Your photography brand is the very essence of your business.
When you think about your brand, think beyond the logo and consider these elements:
- your visuals, from website to printed materials to – yes – your logo.
- customer experience, including emails, phone interactions, and in-person engagement.
- your photographs. Yep, that’s right! Consistency in your photography may have the biggest impact in making your photography brand memorable.
- what you wear. If you communicate an elegant, refined photography brand, but show up to your first client meeting wearing yoga pants, you’ll likely confuse your clients.
- where you meet. You don’t have to have a studio. But your meeting spots should align with your brand messaging!
- …and so much more!
“So Where Do I Even Begin?”
Angie Webb hears this questions every day in her job as an Atlanta-based brand strategist. Among her clients are numerous photographers seeking help with their photography brand. The first thing she tells them?
“If you’re in the beginning phases of creating your business, don’t spend tons of cash hiring a brand designer just yet! You don’t need a fancy, professionally-designed logo to get started. What you DO need is brand awareness.” – ANGIE WEBB
Brand visuals created by ANGIE WEBB
The 3 Myths That Are Holding You Back
What the heck is brand awareness? you’re probably asking. Or maybe you have some idea of what that means, but no clue how to implement it.
Here, we’ll break down the most common photography branding myths our industry faces, and what you should be doing instead!
Myth #1: My Business Is Too Small To Worry About Branding.
Truth: You’re defining your photography brand from day one – whether you mean to or not!
The perfect time to begin honing your photography brand is precisely when your business is small! This is when you have the flexibility and freedom to refine your style and define your target market.
“If you’re just starting out, don’t waste your time and money on a snazzy logo or a fancy custom website. Instead, use that energy to explore your craft, and make note of who and what truly ignites a fire in your heart.
“You’ll begin noticing common threads between your favorite clients, which will help you define your target market. Once you know who you’re working for, you can refine your brand to speak your ideal client’s language.” – ANGIE WEBB
Action Step #1: Evaluate Your Portfolio
Angie suggests beginning your branding process by reassessing your current portfolio (most likely on your website).
- Do all your portfolio images “speak the same visual language?” If your photographs look like they could have been taken by several different photographers, reconsider your portfolio selections. You may also need to review your post-production workflow for inconsistencies.
- Make a list of the commonalities between your favorite images and clients. What makes these photos and clients so special to you? Why did these clients book you in the first place?
“If you don’t know the answer to a question, find out! Surveying my past clients is built into my workflow. The info you receive is invaluable!” – ANGIE WEBB
Homework: Learn The Language
“Using information from your lists above and any surveys you’ve conducted, brainstorm how you can better speak your ideal client’s language!” – ANGIE WEBB
Myth #2: My Photography Brand Should Mirror My Personal Style.
Truth: When it comes to business, your photography brand is ultimately about your customer.
Before dedicating herself full time to design, Angie spent 10 years as a wedding photographer. As her business grew, she realized the clients she loved most were “hyper-intellectual grad school students who were super-in-love, with little time or interest in planning a wedding.”
Personally, Angie didn’t feel that she had much in common with these individuals. But she loved working with them. Therefore, she developed her photography brand to further appeal to these ideal clients – not merely to showcase her own personality.
Angie’s ideal clients:
- valued authenticity and fun.
- weren’t motivated by formalities and fluff.
“I built my photography brand visuals around a vibrant color palette, and showcased journalistic images that would resonate emotionally. It worked! I found myself photographing more and more of the weddings and people I loved.” – ANGIE WEBB
Homework: Dig for Data
Follow Angie’s suggestions for a deeper dive into what motivates your ideal clients. This is how you’ll find more of them:
- Make note of their clothing and accessory choices. How do they prefer to express themselves outwardly?
- As you get to know your clients, pay attention to how they invest their time and energy. Even if they vacation and volunteer differently from you, this can tell you a lot about how to reach them through your photography brand.
Myth #3: A Successful Photography Brand Needs A Trendy Logo
Truth: The most effective brands are trend-proof!
Angie recalls over a decade of visual trends, from monogram-based logos, to watercolor, to gold foil, then calligraphy…
Rather than endlessly pursuing the next big thing in photography brand visuals, Angie recommends:
“Build your photography brand around classic aesthetics, rooted in what you know will attract your target market. This will result in a trend-proof brand that will serve you for a long long time.” – ANGIE WEBB
Homework: The Photography Brand Experience
Angie knows that “every client interaction is your opportunity to provide a great brand experience.” Instead of fixating on the perfect logo, regularly check in on the finer points of your photography brand.
- Does your voicemail message support the way you want customers to feel when they call your business?
- Do the words on your website and in your social media posts align with your values?
- Is anything broken on your website that might prevent visitors from reaching you?
Focus Your Photography Brand
By focusing your photography brand on your ideal clients, you’ll free yourself up to really take care of those clients as they come along. And when your clients feel safe and secure in their photographer’s hands, they’ll feel free to focus on what matters most to them.