The photography business world is cut throat competitive. There’s a great deal of talent out there that goes unnoticed by the world. And there are many photographers who “make it” for reasons other than photographic ability. Without a doubt, getting an edge in the photographic market can be a lot harder than it sounds.
But there is hope. You just need a little bit of creativity and a lot of innovation and business smarts. With these two things, you will be able to build your business in a way few others do: Branding with emotion.
Your brand is your touchpoint. Everything from how you answer your phones to the auto-responder on your email. Yes, it’s the big picture items; your website, your business card, your space, but it is the cohesiveness, that glue that gives a clear picture to your potential clients. There are some companies, (Starbuck’s anyone?) They do this very, very well. Talk about the Starbucks cup, how it fits perfect in your hand. Not a waxy exterior, not styrofoam, a little thinner than a regular takeout coffee. How much planning do you think went into just the coffee cup? Now let’s talk interior, advertising, their charities, the music, the Wifi.
“That’s great for Starbucks”, you say, but how can I create a killer brand for my photography business? Here are 5 steps to not only get you started, and make sure you stay on track.
1. Do you build your business on emotions?
Every individual goes through life with tears, joys, pains, drama, fears, hopes and dreams. Every person has a desire for gain and a fear for loss. Use these emotions to relate to customers and clients. If emotions are common between all people, why not use them in business? If you use strong emotional ties in your marketing to draw clients you can easily create a bridge that connects you to you market base.
Whatever emotional connection you may choose to use in your photography business, this will be largely determined by your audience. Will a retired art collector feel the same intense emotions as a high school senior? Not when relating to your business. Once you have found the emotional connection with your market, craft your business and it’s brand around it.
2. Know who you are + what you are trying to achieve!
Photography is a very personal business and often a studio’s brand is a reflection of the owner’s personal style and character. Get to know yourself and who you want to be. Are you classic, witty, playful, or down to earth? Is your style modern or traditional? Knowing answers to questions like these can help you move forward in creating consistency in your brand.
Not only do you need to know yourself, but also the goals of your business. What do you want your marketing efforts to achieve? Do you want it to create recognition, make people schedule a session, or do you simply want to start a conversation?
3. Create your image!
Take the answers to your questions and create a design that will help you achieve your goals and a design that will become an extension of your personality! Don’t know how? Hire a professional designer. The money you spend on your logo and marketing materials will pay for itself as your business grows. Your logo will become the face of your business. Make sure it’s a good representation of who you are.
4. Get Inspired!
Now that you know who you are, what makes you/your studio different, who your competition is and who you are talking to… it’s time to get inspired, and really push that creative envelope. Look to places outside the photography industry for inspiration. Fashion, architecture, music, fine art, even food. Wherever your muse lies, don’t be afraid to interpret. Pinterest is a fantastic place to create style boards and have a sneak peek into other creative formulas.
5. Be Unique!
If you have followed these steps you should arrive at a brand that is unique, because it is you. If it is true to who you are as an artist, it is right. One of our favorite sayings when it comes to finding your true voice in life and in branding is by Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.”
See, it’s not that scary! Give these things a try, and don’t be afraid to ask others for their help! There is always someone that will give you an honest opinion or to help you build your idea into something greater.