Branding for Photographers: How To Build a Killer Brand in 2022

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Branding-photographer-olya-kobruseva

If you don’t know what is branding for photographers, then your business will really benefit from this article. 

Many people think that becoming a professional photographer requires passion, talent, and the right camera. That’s true but unfortunately is not enough.  

Even if your photos are good enough to charge for them, you may not be able to turn them into a good business. To make the final step, you need branding.

Creating a brand will help you to get more clients – which means more money. Then your photography business can grow, and you can make a living out of your photographs.

What Is Branding for Photographers?

Credit: Anastasia Shuraeva

A brand in marketing is a concept that people associate with a person, product, or business.  Think about a brand – any brand that comes to mind.

Let’s say that you thought about Nike. Its logo design is recognizable in most parts of the world. Also, most people even know the slogan ‘Just Do It’ – even if they don’t own one of their products or practice any sport. That’s a strong brand

Since we’re on a photography website, let’s consider photography brands. Photographers can get very passionate about the old debate Canon vs. Nikon. It’s not about a specific product that might be superior to another for a specific task – it’s about the brand.

That’s how you want your clients to feel about

your business. You want people to recognize your photos and share your passion. This will make past clients come back when they need new work and bring in new clients. 

Now, how do you build a solid brand? Well, you’ll need to invest time, money, and effort. In the next section, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to help with your branding and photography marketing

How Do I Brand Myself as a Photographer?

So, you’re convinced that branding can help you to earn more money as a photographer. Now, you may be wondering how to build a photography brand.

If you have the budget, you can reach out to a dedicated agency and focus only on your photography. However, for most people, that won’t be appropriate, financially speaking.

So, if you want to do your own branding, follow these steps.

1. Define yourself as a professional 

Credit: Andrew Wise

When talking about branding for photographers, the first thing you want to do is be clear about what you’re going to sell. Having a well-defined profile will help you to build a strong brand.

Let’s say you want to build a portrait photography business. Great! Now, that alone is not enough to build a successful photography brand. You need to start narrowing down the field. 

Start by deciding on which subjects you want to photograph. Then think about where – in the studio or on location? Which style? And so on. At this point, you should be able to name your brand.

How do I create a photography brand name?

Many photographers choose their own names. This is a good idea because it’s unique and will grow with you even if you expand or change your specialty. 

Yet, just your name won’t tell much about your photographs. So, try including focus words after the name, such as ‘newborn photography.’

Obviously, this is only one way to go. You can think about any name as long as it’s easy to remember and has a positive association.

2. Identify your target audience

 

Next, you need to identify who is your ideal client. The best way to do this is to create a client persona or avatar. This means that you define all their interests, attributes, income, likes, dislikes, etc. 

Understanding your ideal client helps you to build a better offer appealing to them. It also tells you where to advertise your business to reach more clients. 

Keep in mind that you probably need to build more than one client persona. This depends on your photography type and whether you’re targeting different kinds of customers.

Let’s say you do newborn photography. First, create a client avatar of the new mom who wants a professional photographer for a few photos. Then, think of a business owner that needs newborn photography for advertising. Now create a new client avatar for him. 

You’ll rarely be targeting a single client. Most branding for photographers needs to consider marketing to more than one audience.

The two examples I gave you above are the starting points. I wouldn’t be able to do good branding by knowing just that. The idea of clients’ avatars is that you go deep into details. 

3. Research your competition 

Now you know what’s your product and who your client is. Then, find who else offers similar services to the same potential clients. This is known as competitor analysis. 

If you have the money to invest, there are specialized agencies that offer this service. Otherwise, you can do it yourself. 

If you’re doing it on your own, start by making a list of your direct and indirect competitors. Allow me to continue with the newborn photography example. In this case, your direct competition is other newborn portrait photographers. Your indirect competitor is another business that offers taking photos – like a daycare service. 

Then, research those businesses’. Check their websites, prices, offers, style, etc.

If it’s available, look for online reviews and take notes. Look at the positives but also the negatives. This way, you’ll learn what improvements could convince those clients to choose you.

By doing this analysis, you’ll come up with the best offer and prices for your potential clients. This may not seem like an essential step for branding for photographers, but trust me, it is.

4. Find your USP

Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko

The acronym USP stands for unique selling proposition. In other words, what separates you from the competition?
Now that you know what else is out there, you need to offer something different. This is how you attract new clients to choose you over your competition. 

The USP can be the price or packages you offer, your experience in the field, your photographic style, etc. 

5. Get yourself a logo

Adobe Express Free Logo Maker

A logo is an essential part of branding for photographers and any product or service. Think about any of the big brands in the world. Whether they are related to photography or not. The first thing that comes to mind is their logo, right? Well, that’s what you want for your photography business. 

How do I create a photography logo?

Ideally, you’d want to invest in hiring a professional designer. Yet, if this isn’t in your budget, you can use software with graphic features to do it yourself. 

If this isn’t in your skillset, there are many websites and programs where you can create a free logo. For example, Adobe Express. Otherwise, some website builders have a logo creator – such as NameCheap or Wix. 

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6. Choose a color palette

Credit: Anna Nekrashevich

Colors are another essential part of photography branding. Choose a color palette to stay consistent across multiple platforms – from your website to your business cards. 

You can use a mood board or a color wheel to design a palette. Find something that is aesthetically appealing and conveys your style. 

7. Define the font

Adobe Fonts

The font is something that we, as photographers, overlook sometimes. This is because we’re used to communicating with images and not text. Yet, the fonts say as much about your brand as the colors and the logo. 

Let’s say that your style of photography is modern and minimal. Then you shouldn’t use a cursive font that looks more baroque and elegant. It’s all about branding and the message you want to send. 

8. Build a website

Wix

Using your brand’s colors and fonts, build a website – it’s a hugely important step when considering branding for photographers. Here, you’ll be able to showcase your images and communicate your core values. This is where your potential customers get to see who you are and what you are offering them. It’s the first step in the customer experience. 

Remember that everything on your website should support your brand. In the about section, write your story and about you as a person, as well as your photography style.

In the same way, use your portfolio to showcase images that focus on the photography you sell. Don’t include other styles, regardless of how amazing they are. Always keep in mind the message that you want to send.

9. Build a consistent social media presence

Credit: Cottonbro

Your social media posts can’t be casual if you’re doing photography branding. It doesn’t need to be a replica of your portfolio – it’s where you get to tell your brand story. 

For example, on your social media platforms, you can show some BTS videos. This will show the entire client experience beyond the final photograph you deliver. This is something that helps your clients to connect on an emotional level.

Using a popular Gen Z app such as BeReal App or Vero might be a way to connect to your target audience too.

Another great branding strategy on social media is to make special sales. Also, use it to do surveys to better connect with your target audience. You can use templates with your fonts and colors to stay consistent. 

10. Design a marketing plan

 

Everything you’ve done so far to build a solid brand has cost you time, money, and effort. So, you need to turn that into more clients. To do so, you need a marketing strategy. 

Let’s say your ideal clients spend more time on TikTok than on Facebook. Then, consider investing in advertising on this platform.

Depending on the type of photography business, you might consider different strategies. For example, distributing marketing materials at local events. Maybe also partnering with small business owners.  

Photography Branding FAQs

Should I name my photography business after myself?
It’s not necessary, but it’s a good way to go. It will be unique (or almost). Plus, you don’t have to worry about changing it if you decide to expand or redirect your type of photography. Use a professional-sounding nickname if you have a homonym competitor or your name is difficult to spell.

How can I make my own photography logo for free?
There are many websites and programs you can use for free such as Adobe Express or Canva. Also, some host providers and website builders include logo creators in their services—for example, NameCheap. Of course, if you have the skills to do it, you can do it in Photoshop too.

How do I make my photography business stand out?
You need to build a strong photography brand for your business to stand out. To do so, you need to know your customers and your competition. Also, choose the proper advertising channels. Most importantly – deliver good results and a good customer experience.

How to Create a Successful Photography Brand | Final Words

I hope this article gave you some good ideas to create a photography brand for your business. Remember that successful branding for photographers takes a long time – it won’t happen overnight.

Please share with us your branding tips in the comments section. Also, feel free to post your questions and doubts – we’ll do our best to help. 

Shotkit Writer & Camera Gear Reviewer

Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.

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