The world’s most successful businesses all have one thing in common – well-defined recognizable branding. Target, McDonald’s, Starbucks, etc. You recognize those readily identifiable signs from a mile away, and it immediately encourages you to take a detour. Imagine if your company evoked the same reactive response! Professional photographers can build a solid client base, elicit a knee-jerk positive reaction and excel their business to the next level with a cohesive brand. Maybe you’re familiar with the term branding, and you know that it involves a logo, but beyond that, the details are a little hazy. Let’s answer your burning question, “what is branding?” by telling you what goes into a great photography brand:
In today’s digital-centric environment, your online presence is more important than ever before. In turn, photographers and small businesses need to make a lasting impression and stand out in their target market. Branding is the business and marketing practice of creating a visual identity that helps your potential clients quickly and effortlessly recognize your business, service, or product quickly and easily.
A cohesive brand goes well beyond just a logo or a watermark. A logo is undoubtedly part of that visual identity, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. The essential components of photography branding include:
The brand is the puzzle that, when assembled correctly, creates the whole picture of your business. Let’s take a closer look at some of the pieces and how they come together:
Many professional photographers know that a logo is necessary to set their work apart among the sea of hobbyists. It’s true; the logo is a cornerstone for your custom branding. Having an identifiable mark to put on your photos advertises your talent while simultaneously protecting your intellectual property.
Some businesses do get by just using one logo. However, in our experience, some circumstances require minimal brand representation, and others require a prominent presence. For example, suppose a logo or watermark overwhelms the presentation or is too subtle. In either case, it has the opposite effect of what we want. Having options allows you to select the best logo for each purpose, headers, profile images, watermarks, gift tags, etc.
Font choice allows you to solidify your brand’s personality during every interaction. Fonts add another dimension to a potential client’s understanding of your brand. Are you romantic and whimsical? Maybe you can express that through a handwritten calligraphy font. Clean cut and professional? A serif font may suit you.
A single font doesn’t tell enough of a story. Not to mention, looking at an entire website featuring only calligraphy font would be hard-to-read, chasing away the clients you’re trying to attract. On the other hand, having 2-3 fonts brings visual appeal and depth to your website. As a result, your clients are more likely to stay engaged, spend more time on your website, and build a lasting connection with your brand.
Did you know that every color has a psychological impact? It’s why on Valentine’s Day, we see everything covered in the romantic hues of pink, red, and white. Although red is the color of passion and love, it also is a color that sparks hunger cues (it initiates blood flow and speeds up the digestive tract). Hence, all of that chocolate sold.
However, the colors you choose to pair it with have an impact. For example, the red you see paired with pink on this romantic holiday induces a feeling of love. Still, the same red paired with yellow induces feelings of unease and encourages quick decisions. McDonald’s branding takes advantage of red’s impact on hunger cues but strategically pairs it so the color combination will send you the message to enter, eat, and leave as fast as possible (which meets their goal to provide you with fast food).
The colors you choose for your brand have a memorable and lasting psychological impact on your clientele – good or bad. Choosing the right colors for your brand messaging portrays the photographer you are and the experience they can expect when they book a photoshoot.
The first step when it comes to building a brand is to take a deep dive into what your dream photoshoot would look like (who your ideal client is), the visual and psychological feel of the brand and the “tone” and “personality” you want for your brand (brand voice).
Understanding what you think would be visually appealing and your ideal target market allows you to speak directly to them. Recognizing your audience’s needs, likes (and dislikes) and pain points will enable you to connect with them on a deeper level, starting with a solid visual photography brand. For instance, a romantic wedding photographer in Florida won’t be looking for the same branding as a senior photographer in Washington State. Your brand should speak to your audience and connect to what they’re looking for.
An important component to consider is your brand voice. This is the persona that you portray to your target audience. Your brand voice incorporates copy and the words you say on your website. Your brand voice also includes the visual component that is achieved through your custom branding. The two elements should pair well together to be the most effective.
Most photographers strive to portray their own personality for authenticity and create brand continuity throughout the entire client experience. The personality (brand voice) on your social media should match your website, the photography experience and the in-person sales consultation. Your brand voice can be whatever you want it to be – fun, professional, edgy, calm, etc. But, no matter what it is, it should be consistent throughout all customer points of contact.
At Avenlee, we gather all the information above using detailed personality questionnaires and a private Pinterest board. Then, we combine this information with your photography niche and location to create a mood board. The mood board is a collage or a collection of images that identify the feel, mood or vibe the overall messaging should present to your target audience.
After we are sure we are on the same wavelength with the brand’s direction, we begin to create the different pieces gleaned from the look and feel of the mood board, your location and your niche. Then we wrap it all up in a concise, easy-to-use brand board and brand guide that explains all the elements and how to maximize their usage.
Is your branding attracting your dream clients? If not, we’d love to help! At Avenlee Collective, design custom brands and optimized websites to help photographers identify themselves as the professional photographers they are. Take your business to the next level and schedule a free consultation call today by emailing email@example.com. Be sure to check out our brand and website design portfolio, too!
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