Branding Your Photography Business

Branding Your Photography Business


Branding-Your-Photography-BusinessToday Christina N Dickson explores the topic of branding a photography business.

The photography business world is cut throat competitive. There’s a great deal of talent out there that goes unnoticed by the world. And there are many photographers who “make it” for reasons other than photographic ability.

Without a doubt, getting an edge in the photographic market can be a lot harder than it sounds.

But there is hope. You just need a little bit of creativity and a lot of innovation and business smarts. With these two things, you will be able to build your business in a way few others do: Branding with emotion.

Branding plays an enormous role in the life of a successful business. After you have built your skills, completed your business filing, and identified your target market, there’s one more thing that needs to be done. Sit down with your favorite cup of coffee or tea, put yourself in your future client’s shoes, and consider these three branding ideas.

1. Do you build your business on emotions?

Every individual goes through life with tears, joys, pains, drama, fears, hopes and dreams. Every person has a desire for gain and a fear for loss. Use these emotions to relate to customers and clients.

In my senior portrait business I relate to the fact that many young people don’t like pictures of themselves because they believe they aren’t photogenic. Rejection, self-acceptance, and desire for personal beauty are all ideas that I too have dealt with. Thus, I can honestly take these emotions and create a marketing idea for high school senior portraits around it.

How can you relate to fine arts collectors? What emotions would they have? Desire for capital investment perhaps? How about parents in sports? Great pride in their son or daughters sports accomplishments? Find the emotion of your market, and then move on.

2. Build the emotional connection with your audience:

If emotions are common between all people, why not use them in business? If I use strong emotional ties in my marketing to draw clients I can easily create a bridge that connects me to my market base.

In my business, I take a positive spin on self-acceptance and personal beauty. “Celebrate Who You Are” is my campaign to break high school seniors free from the pressure of being one of the status quo, and encourage them to embrace their individuality.

Whatever emotional connection you may choose to use in your photography business, this will be largely determined by your audience. Will a retired art collector feel the same intense emotions as a high school senior? Not when relating to your business. Once you have found the emotional connection with your market, craft your business and it’s brand around it.

3. Build your business on relational experiences:

We all know that word of mouth can be the most powerful tool in marketing. This is the reason why a high school senior would choose my senior portraits services and not the business with the “portrait special” poster in the hall of their school. As I exude genuine care and concern for the seniors that I shoot, I will build strong emotional ties with future clients who will want the same experience their friends had.

Regardless of your photographic expertise, this principle remains the same across the board. Think about Starbucks or Nike, both are companies that create a brand from an “experience”. Whatever your price point, treat your clients as though they are more important than anything else. This experience will draw them to you time and again. Furthermore, it is the difference between simply hanging your picture on their wall, and referring all their friends to your business.

As I have applied these branding principles to my business, I’ve had extremely satisfied clients who refer business to me with great enthusiasm and excitement. But when I encourage my high school seniors to be themselves, not only do I get to build a strong business, I also get to be a part of something deeply rewarding.

It will be the same for you: Create a dynamic product through an unmatched emotional experience and you will never be out of jobs or clients.

If you want to read more about branding, check out the titles that helped me build my brand:

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Christina N Dickson is a visionary artist and philanthropist in Portland Oregon. Her work includes wedding photography and leadership with

Some Older Comments

  • Mitchel February 6, 2012 04:50 am

    It's hard to brand for a wide variety like that

  • St Louis Wedding Photographer November 13, 2010 12:49 pm

    Here's a question for you. Do you notice a difference in the way your brand is perceived by senior girls and senior boys? Do you mainly work on building the connection with the senior boys mom or do you try to establish a good relationship with the boys too?

  • Christopher September 4, 2010 01:51 am

    Fantastic post. I do a lot of education on brand development and it is challenging to get businesses to grasp the necessity of creating an emotional connection rather than relying on facts and figures. You're real world example is a gem.

  • Pradeep January 26, 2010 07:33 pm

    One of the best posts I have read on branding for photographers. Thanks!

  • Cindy June 3, 2008 09:30 pm

    WOW! I've spent the whole day reading through your posts. Incredible information and advice - exactly what I've been needing to kick off my photography business and all in one place. Thank you for such a wonderfully informative & valuable site and making it accessible to everyone.

  • Dave May 30, 2008 11:36 pm

    amazing! learned a lot from reading those 3 points. Just what I needed to know.
    Thanks (y)

  • Mandy May 30, 2008 06:46 am

    This is great information and really clever. There is so much to think about with business branding, looking at your market and identifying your unique selling position etc... That it can be easy to forget that your prospective clients are human!


  • Dizzle May 30, 2008 12:44 am

    Awesome read! I work for a strategic marketing company and this is almost word for word what we sell our clients on doing to get their brand out there. It's also how we conduct our business. Every client is given an experience created specifically for them. We did a website for a trucking company and at their launch party we had a truck stop theme set up for them...things like that go a long way to clients recommending you to others.