Being a photographer is awesome. You get to play with amazing equipment, capturing smiles and beauty. But if you want to do this for a living, your title of “photographer” gets hyphenated to become “Photographer-Business Owner.” No matter which way you spin it, if you want to be a photographer who doesn’t work under someone else, you become a small businessperson. Businesses are made up of a variety of moving components, such as a business license, insurance, equipment, marketing, and… branding. It’s likely one of the most overlooked and forgotten-about aspects of a successful business. In this tutorial, you’ll learn why branding your photography is important to a successful photography business.
Business sense in photography
As much as I wish that photographers only had to worry about the picture-taking process, the reality is they need to develop a strong business sense to be successful. When it comes to the general running, management, and marketing of your business, it needs to be run a lot of the same ways you would run a clothing store, plumbing company, or any business.
You can think of your branding as your business’s DNA. It expresses your personality and who you are, and perfectly infuses it into your business. This helps attract the right customers and ward off the wrong ones.
As with any business, you will need to go with the flow and adapt to the tide of how society is expecting your small business to function. In the modern age of internet prevalence, society is looking towards businesses that have their aesthetics on-point.
Pleasing and striking imagery is reigning supreme when it concerns advertising your business and attracting new customers. You need to be recognizable to stand out from the sea of competition. This is where having a good brand is super important.
What is Branding?
So, what is branding? I’ve heard so many people have different definitions for this one simple little word.
In business, a brand is a name, term, design, symbol and/or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. As such, branding is a practice in which a company creates these features that identify their brand. Branding is what sets you apart from the other photographers in your area, in the nation, maybe even the world!
Branding doesn’t even hold exclusive to just your name, logo, and slogan. Branding is prevalent in all facets of the business experience, from customer acquisition, customer correspondence, and advertising. Even just creating a custom business header for all paper documents that your client receives (such as the contract and invoice) is a form of branding for your business.
Why is branding your photography important?
I’d argue that branding is extremely critical for businesses, despite being something that not all business owners concern themselves with. The legalities of running a business are very important to get squared right away, but branding should come pretty close after that. Without branding, your business won’t have a distinct voice, and that can cost you a lot in the end.
Branding your photography is important for these reasons:
Branding helps you gain recognition
Think of a brand as the face of your business. What do people recognize first when they see someone? Their face! Your brand – the combination of your business name, logo, and other identifying features – will ensure people recognize you, and your business stands out from the rest of the photography business tide. People tend to differentiate businesses by their logo first and foremost, and an appealing logo is a great way to garner attention.
Increases your value
Did you know that branding can increase the value of your business? Branding can give a business more leverage in the industry and significantly improve client acquisition. The more clients you are able to acquire, the more valuable your photography becomes. As branding aids in recognition, which in turn leads to an establishment in the industry, your photography service becomes a more appealing investment for a client.
Can help you charge more for your services
I don’t think anyone has ever complained about making a little more money. Have you? Branding can help you when setting your prices. Having a beautifully tailored and professional brand can help vouch for your prices because you give a very professional impression. The amount you invest in your business can also justify the pricing set by you, and branding is a big part of that investment.
If customers see that you’ve invested the time, effort, and finances in making your business well branded and beautiful, they’re more likely to be convinced by the confidence you have in your own work. This generates deeper trust.
People are more likely to do business with a company that has aesthetically pleasing and well-polished branding. This gives an immediate impression of professionalism versus a lack of branding, which screams “amateur.”
Can create customer loyalty
Branding also helps with customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is the likelihood that the customer will keep coming back to you, referring you, and vouching for you versus going to someone else.
Think of your own habits. How often do you go to either Coffee Bean, Starbucks, Joe’s Coffee, or some other coffee shop with a strong brand rather than going to a different coffee shop? This has to do with more than just the taste of the coffee and convenient proximity. It’s familiarity, and the familiarity is established with unique and recognizable branding the speaks very loudly.
Supports advertising efforts
A big part of the business equation is advertising. If clients can’t find you or don’t know about you, how can they book you? Marketing is extremely important, especially in the social media age. Marketing is the act of spreading awareness about your business, whether it be through digital advertising, partnering with local businesses, or launching billboards!
Branding goes hand in hand with advertising, as your advertisements will portray your brand. Adding your business logo to all of your advertising material is fundamental, and that’s a part of branding!
Your brand can help you stay focused
Most of us have a crux of comparing ourselves to others within the industry. I know I’m guilty of looking at other photographers and wanting to do work similarly. Whether you’re a sunshine and rainbows photographer who is loving the moody, gothic look of another photography business and vice versa, sometimes we shift our work to match that of someone we like. However, this can sometimes be a bit bad from a business perspective. Having a brand helps you stay focused on the business you’ve created, and not stray to a business that really isn’t yours.
Now that we’ve established that branding your photography is important, what now?
Review the brand you have and see what may need some improvement. Or, start thinking about creating your brand from scratch. A good place to start is your business name, logo, and slogan. Work with a professional designer to help you realize your vision for your brand. They will work with you to implement your logo across all of you print and digital collateral. This is their area of expertise, so utilize that.
It’s not a great idea to do your branding yourself, but if you have to do so, pick a font you love and then a color scheme. Be sure your font translates well across different mediums and reads well in both large and small formats as well as in print and on-screen. Don’t use too many fonts in your design either – this can look messy.
Your design should also translate in both color and black and white too because there will be times when your logo may be printed or used in black and white.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you get going, you’ll find that branding your photography becomes quite easy!
Do you have any other tips for branding your photography that you’d like to share with us? Do so in the comments!