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This is the first article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your photography business. Running a profitable photography business is a bit like taking the perfect photo - you have to put strategic effort into developing your image for everything to turn out right. And when you have plenty of competition for your services it's important to project an image that says you're the right choice for your target audience. That's why branding is such an important part of photographer marketing success. The following details what you need to do to brand your photography business for success.
In business, your branded image is more than your logo, tagline, colors and other attributes that visually represent your company. It's the emotions, concepts and values that are at the core of your photography business; what shared characteristics embody your company in the minds of your customers. A branded image helps establish your expertise as a photographer and tells customers at a glance whether you're the perfect photographer for them. It is how they identify you. Without a branded image, all you have is a name. With a branded image, you have a unique selling point that sets you apart from your competitors.
To identify your branded image, consider what type of photos you take, how they are used/displayed, and who your customers are. If you take team photos of pro sports games for news publication or celebrity photos at the Oscars your brand image is likely to vary considerably from if you're primarily a local wedding and graduation photographer, and so is your target customer. Identify what your customers value and how your competition approaches your market to identify what you do either different or better than the competition. Perhaps you get the best shots at sports events, offer instant uploads, have the best wedding price or are trusted by celebrities. Compile a list of unique selling points. Next, write down everything you know about who you are in a few words and phrases. Now, consider your own passions - what unique aspects you bring to the photography world - and jot those down as well. Pore over your separate-yet-related lists to identify a unique theme common to all, and then test that concept out in your mind as a marketing campaign, as it appears when up against competitors, and as it is relevant to your target audience. The goal is to come up with a brand image that accurately portrays what you do and what benefits you offer that your competitors do not.
As a photographer you're no stranger to aesthetics and how graphic design can enhance your brand identity from a written concept to a visual motivator. This image is what the world will see, and it conveys the concepts and emotions that define your company and customers. You might already know your way around Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator; if not, hire a graphic designer or go it alone with your favorite design software. Your logo doesn't have to be complicated - only relevant and eye-catching. It should do your brand name and tagline justice, so you have a well-rounded brand image that can be deployed on all of your communications. When customers see your logo, they should instantly know who you are, what you do and how you do it best - that's the hallmark of a powerful brand identity.