When you decided to turn your love of photography into a business, building a brand was likely not at the top of your list of things to consider.
However, to take your photography business to the next level you do need to spend time on branding.
But what is even branding? What do you need to do when building a brand? How is this even relevant for a small photography business? What are the benefits of building a brand?
That is exactly what I aim to answer here for you. Let’s start with what is branding, or even better, what it is not.
Building a brand is NOT about colors, logos, or business cards.
When I first decided that I was going to start a photography business I spent hours and hours (and hours and hours…) on trying to pick out the perfect brand colors, and logo. I designed and redesigned my business card.
What I was doing was not building a brand.
Okay, maybe that is part of a brand. However, unless your business is like Coke or Starbucks your brand logo and colors are not what is going to make you stand out.
Branding is about attracting clients to your business based on several factors.
Branding tells people what your business stands for, what you provide beyond the obvious (you’re not just a photographer). It also gives people a feeling of what they can come to expect.
Do you provide a fun and laid back experience? Or are you more hands on? Are you about poses, fun locations, including pets? Maybe you are super high end?
Your brand will communicate this to clients searching for a photographer. It will help people know if you will be a good fit for them.
Good branding also will repel people.
This is a good thing. Your work is not for everyone, and everyone will not be great for you to work with. With your branding you can help weed out those people who you will not best serve.
Let me paint a picture for you. As a Seattle family photographer, I focus on the joy of family. I emphasize that family is loud and chaotic but so beautiful. I aim to capture the beauty and joy of families in a more natural sense. I am not after the perfectly posed photo, with everyone smiling their biggest cheesy grin at me. Now some people want that posed photo. And that is okay. My branding will repel them as they see I am not after that.
A strong brand can help set you apart from other photographers.
It can be easy to worry that the photography market it too saturated. You would be right to think there are lots of photographers out there.
However, as cheesy as it may sound, there is only ONE photographer who has to offer what you do. When you build a brand around you, your passion, your core values, the way you see the world, it is no longer about the competition.
Building a brand leads to client loyalty.
When people start booking sessions with you because of your brand, they are choosing you. This creates more loyalty.
People are not choosing you because of your price but because of you and your brand. Thus, they are less likely to go to another photographer. They truly believe in what you have to offer, so they better connect with you and your work, and you are better able to serve them.
Another benefit is that branding can help you book your dream, or ideal clients, without feeling like you’re screaming to the masses.
Again, you are not the photographer for everyone. It may feel like business is business. But trust me when I say that you don’t want to work with just anyone. You want clients who want exactly what you have to offer and who trust in you to provide that.
When you have a solid brand, you attract those types of people. Picture a family, or couple, you have worked with that it did not feel like work. The session felt smooth, you loved their gallery of images and they were thrilled with their end result.
Branding will help you to get to a place where most of your clients will be those dream clients. To reach those people you won’t have to feel like you’re screaming “book me, book me” to everyone. Instead you’re sharing your message and those who resinate with that message will book you.
Building a brand will help you run your business more efficiently and effectively.
Your brand will help you set boundaries in business. Your brand can help guide your business decisions, copywriting and marketing.
How? When you are faced with a decision, like taking on a particular type of session, or thinking about what to share in your marketing, you can look to your brand. If it isn’t aligned with your brand then it’s an easy no.
Building a brand does take some time, and requires you to dig in to figure out what exactly your business is all about. However, the benefits of building a brand are so great it is time well spent.
As you are working to grow your business you can use my free photographer resources to help you on your way. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter just for photographers and grab my blog template while you’re at it.