3 Things to Crafting A Photography Brand
Congratulations! You’ve decided to start your own photography business! It’s an incredibly rewarding line of work, and I can assure you that it will be a great experience, but be forewarned - it’s going to take hard work to get that business up and running. So hold on - before you print those business cards, or design those fliers advertising your photo services, it’s important to take some time to think through your brand.
“Branding” may be a bit of a buzzword in entrepreneurial circles right now, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s just a fad. Every business has a brand whether or not they realize it. Branding can also sound a bit daunting to a lot of creatives, but don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the term. Your brand is simply how you present yourself to your clients. It’s who you are as a business, and the experience that you’re selling to your clients.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, it’s important to give all of this some thought as you get started. Trust me, a few years down the road, you’ll be glad you you did!
So, with that in mind, here’s 3 things to consider as you’re launching your photography brand:
1. Know Your Audience
Before you get started, it’s important to know your audience. Kind of a no-brainer here, eh? Surprisingly, a lot of freelancers fail to really try to understand their audience and therefore fail to actually connect with their target market. Without knowing your audience, it’s like heading into a wedding shoot without ever meeting the bride and groom and knowing where the wedding is actually being held… is it local? Is it in New Zealand or maybe Paris?
Are you a wedding photographer? If so, focus on brides and wedding coordinators. Do you aspire to work as a commercial photographer? Focus on marketing agencies and business owners. Are you wanting your work to be featured in national travel magazines? The editors of those magazines will be your best friends. Are you a photo journalist? The list goes on and on...
It’s important to know more than just the demographic or market you’re targeting though. You’ll need to know some specific details. What are some of the pain points you can fix for them? What do they value? What kind of work do they appreciate?
If you do your homework now, as you build your brand you’ll be equipped to cater your brand to their needs, and dial in on the things that they value.
Know your audience. Know their pulse. They’ll thank you for it.
2. Find Your Voice
As artists we often dedicate time to finding and developing our personal artistic voice, and it’s important to do the same for our business. Every brand has it’s own unique voice; it’s that persona that you convey throughout your work, your website, even your office space and interactions with your clients. As a brand, how do you want to come across to your audience? What persona do you want to convey? Are you going for a polished and professional feel? Maybe a more personable style, incorporating humor and a personal touch?
Ultimately, this decision is yours to make. Once you know who your audience is, and know what they’re looking for, you can work to establish that voice. It’s important to be deliberate about this process, because your brand (like every brand!) will have a voice. It’s up to you to be craft that voice in a way that resonates with your audience.
Don’t forget the details either. Pay careful attention to your brand colors, fonts, logo, etc… everything plays a part into how your client will perceive you and your brand. If your current brand voice is contradicting your style, it’s time to seriously consider re-branding. Consider reading Sarah Petty’s book, Worth Every Penny, for more insights into re-branding and more photography business practices.
Find your voice and be consistent when using it in your brand.
3. Find Your Format
There are two primary types of creative business - one sells the artist, while the other sells a company that produces a specific project. Will your clients be hiring a talented individual that does great work, or are they looking for a brand that’s known for producing a certain style of work? There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but different industries will be looking for different things. Some are looking for a creative individual - an artist with that unique flare that only they can produce, while others will feel more comfortable dealing with a company that produces consistent creative content across many visual mediums. This will tie right back into question #1 - know your audience!
As you answer this question, it’s also important to think about your own personality and creative style. Are you a team player that prefers to work in a creative environment collaborating with others? Or are you a solo artist that crafts the creative vision in your own head? These questions will also help you to identify the ideal format for your business.
There you have it - we won’t pretend this is an exhaustive list, but if you work through these three questions you’ll be off to a great start! If you’re interested in digging a little deeper, head on over to freelancekit.com and check out our Basic Business Kit or Photographer Kit. They’re both packed full of resources designed to help you build your photography brand from the ground up. (The Business Plan includes some great questions designed to help you work through these questions and others that will help you build a solid creative brand!)
Know your audience. Find your voice. Establish your format.
Remember. it’s up to you to set the tone and build the brand image you want to convey to the watching world, but if you do these three things, you’ll be off to a great start!
What are some things you’ve done as you built your photography brand?