Dreams of your future photography business swirl in your head. You know what lies ahead: business licenses, taxes, start-up funds, marketing plans. You're smart, focused and prepared. Still it can all be very overwhelming. Sometimes it's easy to shove all of these things to the side and focus on something more fun: branding!
Let's be honest; it's almost soothing in the midst of planning a business to sit down at your laptop during a quiet moment and start pinning fonts and logos and color palettes. But...are those things really who you are? I've mentored many photographers who find themselves enthralled with creating the “perfect” logo only to find a few months or a year later that they have fallen out of love just as quickly.
Branding your photography business goes far beyond a gorgeous logo or using your favorite colors in your packaging. I do have a logo that I adore but rarely use it consistently. I don't even have a dedicated, custom-designed font to match it (cue gasps!). I'm usually too apathetic to watermark. Yet my clients know me, and my images are easily recognized.
So what is branding then? I am my brand. I live my brand each day. From the sunrise coming over our red barn to the way my children run through our cornfields, my entire life influences my images. I wear jeans, stock my studio fridge with beer and tell everyone who comes to our farm to be prepared for either dirt or mud. A photography experience here is genuine and honest and that is reflected in my images. That consistent personal branding means that not only do my clients know what to expect when they book a session but that I'm also attracting clients who want a relaxed, natural session without pretense.
That's right... your branding is often the first step of managing client expectations! I admire many, many photographers and, like most of you, find myself gazing at their websites or styled images and my thoughts begin drifting...but I am not those photographers. One look at my well-loved farmhouse and my bare feet will tell you that I could never be happy styling a session to the hilt. My clients typically come for a session full of spontaneous moments with their children in a dirt path or a stream or running through tall grass. These are the images I capture of my own life and they are also what my clients seek when they book me.
I chose early in my photography career to incorporate my life into my business. The farm, the photography business, our family...it's all deeply intertwined and only makes sense to keep it that way on my website and on social media. On my Instagram account, you may see an image of sunlight streaming through a wheat field, a client's family splashing in our creek, or my husband working on a tractor but what I present likely has a common theme because it's from my perspective.
Whether you choose to share your personal life or to keep it private isn't the most important aspect to branding; your perspective is. Remain true to your perspective no matter your subject and always shoot with honesty. What story do you want to tell? Over time, you'll find that your story develops a consistent look no matter where you are, what you shoot, how you process, or what medium you choose. That's something that certainly transcends color palettes and fonts.
Interested in spending a peaceful, relaxing weekend with good friends and great photography talk? Jennifer hosts workshops throughout the year, and they're an absolute blast. Click here for more information!