Personal branding guidelines for photographers
I am sure you have heard of personal branding before. It is kind of a buzzword these days and you see it peppered into pins on Pinterest, in your favorite podcast, and and quite a few Instagram Stories. You probably think that branding doesn’t apply to you but only to large companies and, well, brands. But in an online world where there is such competition, it is important that you distinguish your business and your work from other photographers. That you create a visual identity that can be recognized by your potential customers, beyond your images and photographic style. Building your brand is like building your own trademark, and it’s essential to growing your community and your reach in a saturated online world.
Getting started with branding
The logo the first thing we think of when we talk about a brand; it should be reflective of both you and your work. If you can afford it, I recommend hiring a graphic designer to create your logo and your general brand identity (fonts, colors, patterns, and icons you will use). They will do a deep dive into your business, your goals, your values and design a brand that really reflects your business.
If hiring someone is out of reach, you can try to find a designer willing to trade their work for yours. Many graphic designers also build websites and need high-quality images for client-based projects or for their templates. You may find them eager to exchange their services for your photography!
If you are just starting out, however, and want to keep things simple, you can buy affordable customizable logos on sites like CreativeMarket.com. This is one of my favorite place to find new fonts (I am a total font geek btw), templates, cute icons, etc. If you sign up for their newsletter, you get six free design assets every Monday.
Branding = more than just your logo
Once you have your logo (and it can be as simple as your name / business name in the font of your choosing), choose a couple of simple fonts. I recommend using Google fonts, they are free and all computers will recognize them. Use your chosen fonts on your website and all designs you put out there (pins, freebies, ebooks, etc.) and stick to them. If you know nothing about fonts, I recommend this site. The author has some great recommendations for free fonts and font pairing (two or three fonts that work well together). Don’t choose random fonts and hope they will work together, in my experience, they rarely do.
Creating consistency across your entire brand, using your chosen fonts, colors and icons will elevate your brand and ensure a professional client experience. Consistency should exist within every client touch point: from your website and portfolio, to your social media interactions, to your emails. To this end, make sure to include your logo when possible (and relevant), write in the same tone and font, and use a similar color scheme that fits with your photography style.
Share pictures of yourself and be personable
It is called personal branding for a reason. Unlike big companies with boards of directors and VPs and all the staff, photographers are often sole entrepreneurs. Showcasing pictures of yourself on your website and social media accounts is indispensable to building your personal brand. Although much work interaction occurs digitally, your clients (and your potential clients) want to feel like they know who you are – it can help them determine whether your style and attitude would fit their needs.
Plus, clients might want your advice on what to shoot, what to showcase, and how to do it, and they’ll want to confer with a charming, helpful individual whom they can imagine talking to – not a faceless internet stranger. You don’t even need to post have your face in the image. Just a couple of shots or you working, or a part of you surrounded with things that help define your brand. In the case of the image below, the wine and aaaall the garlic 😉 And yes, faceless portraits are a thing.
Here’s the truth: there are many talented photographers out there that offer the same services you do. That’s why it’s important to showcase your personality online to attract your ideal clients. When you work with people who share similar values, attitudes, and work styles with you, they’re more likely to keep using you down the road. One easy way to do this is to take advantage of social media stories to share more about you, your business, and your quirks. Check out this podcast with tips on how to make your personality an essential part of your brand.
I hope this post has given you some clarity on personal branding and why it is important for photographers. Let me know in the comment if you have any question! Also, if you are just starting out and want to learn more about food photography, check out my favorite online resources for food photography!