Whether or not you’ve consciously considered it, if you’re operating a photography business, you have a brand. Your brand identity is decided by your website, marketing materials, and photography style, by interactions with clients and potential clients in person and online—in short, everything about how you operate your business and the work that you do shouts your brand.
Does this mean your branding work is complete? Not at all! While you have established a brand identity as you’ve worked as a photographer, your brand may or may not be sending the right message to attract your target client.
It’s possible that your branding messages are confusing to potential clients. For example, if your target market is high school seniors, but you shy away from Instagram and choose to market only by direct mail . . . your brand doesn’t match your business goals.
Today’s tips are geared toward helping you discover your true brand identity—one that will express who you are and who you want to be and attract your ideal client!
1. Consider why you love the brands you love.
Is there a particular company whose branding you feel an emotional response to? Do their website, physical locations, marketing materials, and sales clerks all represent a cohesive brand?
Make a note of what it is that you feel connected to about this brand. Does Anthropologie represent your eclectic, earthy style in their branding? Perhaps you’ll want to borrow ideas from how they’ve expressed their brand to create a photography brand that’s true to you and what you love.
2. Keep your options open.
One of the hardest holes to climb out of in your business is the one you create for yourself when you establish an extremely specific brand identity with no room for growth.
When considering a name for your business—one of the most notable aspects of your branding—avoid specific phrases that will prevent you from growing your business into new markets.
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For example, perhaps you intend to exclusively shoot newborn portraits when you open your business. Choosing a cutesy name geared toward infants may work for now . . . but it will be difficult to expand into the wedding market under your same business name down the road. Whether or not you think you’d be interested in entering new markets, it helps to keep the options open.
This applies to much more than just a name. If you shoot high school seniors, you don’t want to use solely senior girls in your marketing materials if you’d like to shoot both guys and gals. If you would like to be hired by opposite-sex and same-sex couples for their engagement and wedding shoots, include a variety of couples on your website and in your brochures. This diversity will help you to develop your brand identity into one that keeps all options open for you to reach the clients you’d like to work with.
3. Show your personality.
Branding is all about presenting you and who you are to clients, and attracting the clients who want to work with you! Every aspect of your photography business should speak to who you are.
The most obvious opportunity for this is when working in person with clients, during consultations or their photo shoots. But you can market your personality in every encounter a client has with your business! For example, Photodoto has some great tips for branding on your “About Me” website page. Click here to read.
4. Be consistent.
As we mentioned before, if you don’t put thought into your branding, you’re likely to confuse your target clients. Once you’ve decided what sort of brand would be true to you and your personality, while keeping your business options open, put pen to paper. Consider who you want to be calling you for sessions and how to consistently speak to them in your marketing.
Your logo and colors used in marketing should be consistent between your website, print materials, emails, social media watermarks, and anything else you produce. A client or potential client should be able to recognize your branding at a glance!
Your voice should be consistent as well, between any sort of written or verbal communication. If you alternate between extremely formal and casual and lighthearted, your clients may not know which side is the true you—again, you’re confusing your brand. This part should be easy—you do you!
Your choice of marketing avenues should make sense for your target market, as discussed before. Photographers looking for business headshot clients might choose to use direct mail or email; senior photographers should be looking at Instagram and Snapchat; family photographers will likely thrive on Facebook. Know your target market and be consistent in reaching them where they are and in a way that makes them comfortable.
Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have questions about creating or further developing your photography brand identity? We want to hear from you! Hop on over to our Facebook page to join in the conversation.