Why Branding Your Photography is Important

The post Why Branding Your Photography is Important appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

branding-your-photography

Being a photographer is awesome. You get to play with amazing equipment, capturing smiles and beauty. But if you want to do this for a living, your title of “photographer” gets hyphenated to become “Photographer-Business Owner.” No matter which way you spin it, if you want to be a photographer who doesn’t work under someone else, you become a small businessperson.  Businesses are made up of a variety of moving components, such as a business license, insurance, equipment, marketing, and… branding. It’s likely one of the most overlooked and forgotten-about aspects of a successful business. In this tutorial, you’ll learn why branding your photography is important to a successful photography business.

Business sense in photography

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As much as I wish that photographers only had to worry about the picture-taking process, the reality is they need to develop a strong business sense to be successful. When it comes to the general running, management, and marketing of your business, it needs to be run a lot of the same ways you would run a clothing store, plumbing company, or any business.

You can think of your branding as your business’s DNA. It expresses your personality and who you are, and perfectly infuses it into your business. This helps attract the right customers and ward off the wrong ones.

As with any business, you will need to go with the flow and adapt to the tide of how society is expecting your small business to function. In the modern age of internet prevalence, society is looking towards businesses that have their aesthetics on-point.

Pleasing and striking imagery is reigning supreme when it concerns advertising your business and attracting new customers. You need to be recognizable to stand out from the sea of competition. This is where having a good brand is super important.

What is Branding? 

So, what is branding? I’ve heard so many people have different definitions for this one simple little word. 

In business, a brand is a name, term, design, symbol and/or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. As such, branding is a practice in which a company creates these features that identify their brand. Branding is what sets you apart from the other photographers in your area, in the nation, maybe even the world! 

Branding doesn’t even hold exclusive to just your name, logo, and slogan. Branding is prevalent in all facets of the business experience, from customer acquisition, customer correspondence, and advertising. Even just creating a custom business header for all paper documents that your client receives (such as the contract and invoice) is a form of branding for your business. 

Why is branding your photography important? 

I’d argue that branding is extremely critical for businesses, despite being something that not all business owners concern themselves with. The legalities of running a business are very important to get squared right away, but branding should come pretty close after that. Without branding, your business won’t have a distinct voice, and that can cost you a lot in the end.

Branding your photography is important for these reasons:

Branding helps you gain recognition

Think of a brand as the face of your business. What do people recognize first when they see someone? Their face! Your brand – the combination of your business name, logo, and other identifying features – will ensure people recognize you, and your business stands out from the rest of the photography business tide. People tend to differentiate businesses by their logo first and foremost, and an appealing logo is a great way to garner attention.

Image: Deliquesce Flux Photography Facebook Page

Deliquesce Flux Photography Facebook Page

Increases your value

Did you know that branding can increase the value of your business? Branding can give a business more leverage in the industry and significantly improve client acquisition. The more clients you are able to acquire, the more valuable your photography becomes. As branding aids in recognition, which in turn leads to an establishment in the industry, your photography service becomes a more appealing investment for a client.

Can help you charge more for your services

I don’t think anyone has ever complained about making a little more money. Have you? Branding can help you when setting your prices. Having a beautifully tailored and professional brand can help vouch for your prices because you give a very professional impression. The amount you invest in your business can also justify the pricing set by you, and branding is a big part of that investment.

Creates trust

If customers see that you’ve invested the time, effort, and finances in making your business well branded and beautiful, they’re more likely to be convinced by the confidence you have in your own work. This generates deeper trust.

People are more likely to do business with a company that has aesthetically pleasing and well-polished branding. This gives an immediate impression of professionalism versus a lack of branding, which screams “amateur.”

Can create customer loyalty

Branding also helps with customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is the likelihood that the customer will keep coming back to you, referring you, and vouching for you versus going to someone else. 

Think of your own habits. How often do you go to either Coffee Bean, Starbucks, Joe’s Coffee, or some other coffee shop with a strong brand rather than going to a different coffee shop? This has to do with more than just the taste of the coffee and convenient proximity. It’s familiarity, and the familiarity is established with unique and recognizable branding the speaks very loudly.

Supports advertising efforts

Image: Deliquesce Flux Photography Voucher

Deliquesce Flux Photography Voucher

A big part of the business equation is advertising. If clients can’t find you or don’t know about you, how can they book you? Marketing is extremely important, especially in the social media age. Marketing is the act of spreading awareness about your business, whether it be through digital advertising, partnering with local businesses, or launching billboards!

Branding goes hand in hand with advertising, as your advertisements will portray your brand. Adding your business logo to all of your advertising material is fundamental, and that’s a part of branding!

Your brand can help you stay focused

Most of us have a crux of comparing ourselves to others within the industry. I know I’m guilty of looking at other photographers and wanting to do work similarly. Whether you’re a sunshine and rainbows photographer who is loving the moody, gothic look of another photography business and vice versa, sometimes we shift our work to match that of someone we like. However, this can sometimes be a bit bad from a business perspective. Having a brand helps you stay focused on the business you’ve created, and not stray to a business that really isn’t yours. 

Final thoughts

Now that we’ve established that branding your photography is important, what now?

Review the brand you have and see what may need some improvement. Or, start thinking about creating your brand from scratch. A good place to start is your business name, logo, and slogan. Work with a professional designer to help you realize your vision for your brand. They will work with you to implement your logo across all of you print and digital collateral. This is their area of expertise, so utilize that.

It’s not a great idea to do your branding yourself, but if you have to do so, pick a font you love and then a color scheme. Be sure your font translates well across different mediums and reads well in both large and small formats as well as in print and on-screen. Don’t use too many fonts in your design either – this can look messy.

Your design should also translate in both color and black and white too because there will be times when your logo may be printed or used in black and white.

Then continue on to your website, marketing materials, price sheets, contracts, invoices, even email signature, and watermark!

It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you get going, you’ll find that branding your photography becomes quite easy!

Do you have any other tips for branding your photography that you’d like to share with us? Do so in the comments!

 

The post Why Branding Your Photography is Important appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

The post Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

Price tends to be one of the biggest points of contention with photographers. What is too low? What is too high? What’s just right? Running a profitable business is never easy. Whatever price you set, someone will likely have an opinion or two about it (solicited or not). Which leads to the biggest elephant in the room… do cheap photographers who price low take business away from those that price higher?

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

My answer?

No.

And here are 6 reasons why:

1. There is a client for everyone

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

This is business 101 that we often forget (and I am guilty of forgetting sometimes too!). Artists tend to be very emotionally tied to the work and the service provided, and photographers are certainly not exempt from this fact. As such, losing or not obtaining a client can feel like a personal jab even when it has nothing to do with us at all. You have to remember, there is a client for everyone!

This rings especially true in the tumultuous price debate. A client who is focusing on the price will not be looking for an expensive photographer. Likewise, a client who is focusing on high quality will often assume that cheap photographers cannot provide the quality that they seek. A Lamborghini is not concerned over the lower price of a Honda Civic because the Honda Civic buyers are not looking for a Lamborghini.

Alongside this, often price equates to years of experience. Photographers who are brand new may be absolutely fantastic and have beautiful quality images but aren’t able to charge the same as those that are seasoned professionals. Likewise, some clients do value quality work but simply cannot afford a seasoned professional. These two tend to find each other and work together well.

2. Client priorities are not always the same as yours

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As photographers, we naturally (and rightfully) value professional photographs highly. From capturing memories to creating beautiful new stories, photographs are essential. However, the priorities we hold as photographers may not always ring true for the subjects in front of our lenses.

Some clients would rather invest their money into something else – something that holds more importance to them. Whether you agree or not, that’s not your decision to make. Some clients look for less expensive photographers because their finances are tied into something that they find to hold more worth to them (and thus receive what they have paid for). And that’s okay – let them.

3. Some clients will eventually understand the price versus value point

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This is something that tends to happen to me often. A client will go to a very low-priced photographer, end up unsatisfied with the experience or the end result, and quickly learn the general value of the price. They then come to me and ask to shoot their concept once more. This does happen quite a bit. This is why staying firm on your policies and pricing is important (and tends to command respect).

Wait, wait.

This is assuming that the low-priced photographer has a quality that doesn’t match that of the higher-priced ones. What if a great quality photographer prices low? Doesn’t that cut into my jobs? 

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Some photographers have a different business model than the rest – known as the “low price and high turnover model.” This model works on the idea that you charge low, service many, and turn over a profit much like a photographer that charges high and services one.

However, what many don’t see behind the scenes, is the reason this model works is much of the process is automated or simplified. It allows the photographer to have a lower output of effort that matches their price. This service is not individualized, and generally not specifically tailored for the individual. It’s the difference that is similar to “ready-made” versus “custom-made” clothing. But this doesn’t work for all clients. The clients this does work for are likely not your clients if you have a traditional photographic business model.

Many major brands have a high-end and a low-end to their business. Take the car company Toyota, for example. Their high-end line is called Lexus – a luxury brand of car. Their consumer-grade line is just good ol’ Toyota. Both cars are great, hardy, and will get you where you need to go in comfort. A Toyota is not worse than a Lexus. The Lexus is just intended for a different kind of buyer.

Well, now that’s said…how do I justify my price? 

4. Express your value and stand by your worth

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First and foremost, confidence speaks volumes. If you set a price and are confident about it, stand by your worth and be firm.

That being said, every price needs something to justify it. Show the client what the value in investing in your work is versus someone else’s. Do you do something unique and different? Is your client experience above and beyond what the rest do? What do your years of experience or high-quality gear bring to the table? Do you have any awards or honorable mentions? These are all important topics to cover with your client when explaining what you offer and how much you charge for your offering.

5. Find your demographic and market to them!

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Marketing is what makes or breaks a business. If people don’t know about you, how can they book you? Marketing is extremely important, especially in the social media age. Marketing is the act of spreading awareness about your business, whether it be through digital advertising, partnering with local businesses, or launching billboards!

If you’re finding that the clients you are marketing to keep choosing a photographer that prices lower than you, that is a big sign that this client base is not the right demographic for you. Demographics are particular sectors of a population that are divided by factors. For marketing purposes, factors tend to be interest, age, location, income, and more.

As a business owner, you need to find the demographic that relates to the service you are offering. Look at income levels that tend to align with your price point, and for clients with interests that may be more aligned with your offering (e.g., pet photographers will look for clients with interest in animals), and age group can also be a big factor. If you’re a family photographer, look for moms and dads, or youth sports – keywords like that!

Remember, you must segment your population based on more than one factor to find the right demographic. Filling out location and interests in the minimum is a good starting point.

6. Stop worrying about what others are doing and charging

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

Everyone has a different ideology when it concerns their business. They use the business model that suits them, dependent on variables you likely do not know about. As such, the running of their service (and what they charge for it) does not apply to you. It’s best to stop concerning yourself with what others are doing and focus on what you are doing for you!

The industry is changing, and society has changed its view on the value of art.

Conclusion

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

You’re not losing jobs because your competitors are cheap photographers, you’re losing jobs because you either haven’t found your right client base or you need to get better at expressing your value.

Focus on your business and what you can improve in your work, and the right clients will come! The world is not as small as it seems; there are thousands of potential clients out there for you.

Do you agree with this or do you think cheap photographers do take work away from us? Or perhaps you have some other valuable points to share? Share them with us in the comments section.

 

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The post Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

How to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Photo Business (Step-By-Step Guide)

The post How to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Photo Business (Step-By-Step Guide) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

Do you use Pinterest to market your photography services?

You should.

Because here’s the thing: Millions of potential clients use Pinterest. In fact, 250 million people around the world use Pinterest every month, and this number continues to grow. 

Most people think of Pinterest as a social media platform, but it’s actually a search engine that’s driven by search and discovery. Statistics show that nearly half of online users search in Pinterest before turning to Google. It has an incredible power to drive traffic to your site and grow brand awareness. Visitors from Pinterest convert into leads or sales faster than those from social media networks.

Why?

One reason is that Pinterest has a much longer shelf life than social media. Once an image is uploaded to an Instagram or Facebook feed, it gets buried quickly. With Pinterest, your pins will have staying power and benefit you more the longer they’re around. 

Now that you know why Pinterest is so great…

…let me tell you how you can gain traction on Pinterest, fast.


pinterest photography business profile page

Step 1: Get a business account 

In order to use Pinterest effectively for your photography business, you’ll need to sign up for a free Business account. A Business account will allow you to monitor your analytics from within Pinterest. This will give you important information about the boards and pins that are most popular with your audience.

These insights can help you increase your engagement and pin more effectively.

pinterest statistics

Step 2: Create a succinct Pinterest profile

Your Pinterest profile needs to be short and to the point. It needs to let people know what you do. Are you a wedding shooter? Do you specialize in personal branding portraits? Include it in your profile.

For example, my main income comes from commercial and still-life photography, but I’m also a photography mentor. This third aspect of my business is the focus of my Pinterest account. Therefore, it’s the focus of my profile biography.

Step 3: Organize your board for your viewers

If you want to promote yourself as a photographer, you must always keep your target audience in mind. Your boards are not for you; they’re for your viewers, and so you need to speak to what they might be looking for when they log onto Pinterest.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have boards on crafting and cooking. It just means that you need to hide these non-business boards from public view.

Just remember, all of your visible boards must be relevant to potential clients.

Since I’m a food photographer, most of my boards feature beautiful images of food, organized into topical boards such as Salads, Desserts, Main Dishes, etc., as well as themes such as food photography lighting and styling.

And since I mentor food bloggers and emerging photographers, I also have boards such as Learn Food Photography as well as Blogging Tips. Use basic names for your boards that will be searchable and easy to find. 

Your boards should be organized from most relevant to least relevant, not by alphabetical order. Have your first board feature your own photography only; you want to show potential clients what you can do. Clean up your own boards and create new ones.

You’ll quickly see a big difference in your Pinterest traffic.

pinterest business boards

Step 4: Use keywords in your descriptions

Pinterest works similarly to Google – users search for specific content they’re interested in by using keywords.

In fact, keywords are the number-one tool for content discovery.

That’s why each of your boards should have a description using keywords or using hashtags created from keywords. Also, use as many keywords as possible in your pin descriptions. General keywords make your content easier to discover.

You can also use keywords to attract potential clients in your region. If you live in Portland and want to attract brides in your area, use keywords like “Portland Bride” or “Portland Weddings.” Add them to all of your descriptions and alt tags. Local keywords are underused and undervalued, especially in small markets, so they can make a big difference.

pinterest keywording
Step 5: Brand your pins

When creating pins, you may want to add text (depending on your niche and your reason for pinning posts).

If you’re just trying to share your stunning images, then this may not be relevant. But if you can think of a way to add text that will advertise your services, it’ll work in your favor. Surprisingly, pins with text get more attention than those without text.

For example, the purpose of my Pinterest account is to attract people to my photography coaching services and products. I do this by driving traffic from Pinterest to my blog.

How?

I create pins for each blog post I write. The pins are simply designed, but they’re consistent. I use the same font and style for each pin, which creates a “brand” for my pin that is consistent and that viewers will easily recognize.

Consider creating some pins with text in Photoshop or using an easy app like Canva. Canva offers a variety of free templates already sized for use on Pinterest. Test a few different styles and fonts and see how they perform. You may see that one style of pin gets repinned more than another. If so, then stick with that style.

branded pins

Examples of branded pins created on Canva.

The bottom line is that you should try to keep a strong brand identity, one that highlights specific services and remains visually consistent. It might be a bit of extra work at first, but it’ll pay off in the end.

Step 6: Join group boards selectively

Group boards are like regular boards, except that the board owner can invite collaborators to add pins of their own.

Group boards used to be a great way to generate traffic. Until Pinterest introduced the “Smart Feed,” which prioritizes and ranks pins based on their quality and engagement.

This led to a big decline in the value of group boards. You see, group board collaborators often rarely look at the board, and therefore rarely repin other members’ content. Because no one interacts with the boards, Pinterest assumes the pins are not popular. So they don’t show up in the Smart Feed.

How do you avoid this problem and use group boards to your advantage?

Choose active, niche boards that focus on one topic and have less than 100 contributors. Too many contributors can mean low-quality content.

The important thing to remember is that quality is much more important than quantity.

A board that encourages mutual sharing is also crucial. For example, a policy stating that you need to repin two pins for every post you make can make a big difference.

If you choose to join group boards, then keep these points in mind.

Step 7: Use boards to collaborate with clients

Visuals are a part of the communication that should take place between you and your clients before you start a job, especially if you’re in the commercial world. Pinterest can help you share images that serve as inspiration or a guideline for an upcoming shoot. If you work with commercial or editorial clients, you can collaborate on a mood board using Pinterest. This ensures that everyone involved in the shoot understands what the final results should be.

If you work in a retail niche like weddings or portraiture, you can use Pinterest to get a sense of the mood and color your client is drawn to. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Light green might mean one thing to you and another to your customer, so images that demonstrate the feel and color treatment that is sought can go a long way in helping you get the right look.

You can also use Pinterest boards to educate clients. If you do glamour or boudoir portraits, you can send your client a What to Wear board. This will provide inspiration and examples for choosing outfits for their shoot.

chef portraits board

Step 8: Schedule pins with the Tailwind app

Tailwind is a Pinterest-approved scheduling tool. It’s a fantastic app to help you grow your audience like crazy.

You see, pinning consistently is important growth strategy, but most people don’t have time to be pinning throughout the day. With Tailwind, you can sit down once a week to schedule your pins. They’ll automatically upload throughout the week at optimal times. Or, if you prefer, you can customize your pin schedule.

Tailwind also offers powerful tools that analyze your pins and boards, as well as your Pinterest profile. You can see which pins are getting the most engagement and reschedule them right from the interface.

Tailwind analytics

Conclusion

Pinterest is a great tool for generating visitors and leads.

And if you follow the steps I’ve given above, your Pinterest account will start expanding, fast.

So go set up your Pinterest account and start pinning!

Do you have any other tips for using Pinterest? Share with us in the comments section!

How-to-Use-Pinterest-to-grow-your-photography-business

 

The post How to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Photo Business (Step-By-Step Guide) appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

How to Form a Band of Cheerleaders for Your Photography Business

Let’s take a walk down memory lane with the song “One” written by Harry Nilsson. It was made famous by Three Dog Night in the late 1960’s. The song is particularly renowned for it’s opening line :

“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.
Two can be as bad as one.
It’s the loneliest number since the number one.”


I believe there is a lot to be learned from this song. The core message being, don’t go through your life without any social interaction. I am not taking about your Facebook fans or your Instagram followers, but of the actual social connections you make among the people you interact with on a daily and weekly basis. As humans we all crave connections and contact with others. Sad as it may seem, we photographers, in general, are introverts. For the most part, we love to hide behind the camera – one eye looking through the viewfinder and the other closed to the outside world. It can certainly get very lonely and depressing.

We all know and understand the value of friends and co-workers. However, often times we tend to only gravitate towards like-minded people or those in the same profession. I am not undervaluing the importance of having friends in the industry. Personally, I have a select group of fellow photographers whose opinion I really value, appreciate, and am honored to call my friends. Some are local to me while others are through an online community – we not only talk shop but also talk about our families, our kids, and even send holiday cards to each other . But I find it mentally stimulating when I interact with people from many other professions – either related to my genre of photography (weddings and family portraits) or of a completely different field. Trust me, they all are invaluable in your growth as an artist and as a professional.

Here are some tips on how to form your own sphere of influencers and well-wishers for your own personal and professional growth. Some of these tips may seems very technical or business-school like, but are actually very simple to follow and implement for your photography business.

#1 Conduct a social network analysis

As per Wikipedia, Social Network Analysis is the study of network theory in a social analysis. Quite simply, network theory is the study of connectivity among different entities. In a social scenario, it is the mapping of “Who do you know?” also known as, “Who are your friends?” and “Who are your friends’ friends?”. Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn actually have the underlining structure built already. When you friend someone, you can immediately see if you have any common friends or business acquaintances. Use your social media accounts as a starting point and map out who you know, and who those people know. Go as deep and wide as you can without getting confused or lost!

Kenneth Freeman

By Kenneth Freeman

#2 Narrow down your sphere of influencers

Once you have documented your social network analysis, narrowing your sphere of influencers is fairly easy to do. Look to your key friends, well-wishers and family as a starting point. Are there some people who are more invested in you than others? Distinguish those in some way. Are there people who are in the same field as you? What about completely different areas of expertise?

As a photographer, I love colors. A tip that works for me is to color coordinate the different groups. Warm colors like red/orange are people who are in my immediate circle (my core circle of trust). Cool colors like blue/green are people who are important but not as much as my sphere of direct influencers. Neutral colors like brown/peach are acquaintances. Also find a way to distinguish between local connections and online connections. Another tip is to keep your photography and business goals in mind while analyzing your network. This could help you focus on connections and contacts that could help you achieve your specific goals.

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#3 Invest in meaningful engagement

Now that you have completed the technical part, take the time to engage on an emotional level. Connect with people with genuine intent. Take time to get to know the people you want to connect with. Find commonalities – either common interests, or common friends. Ask your friends to provide an introduction.

I cannot tell you the amount of times I have gotten a random friend request from someone – with or without mutual friends. If I don’t know you at all, chances are I am not going to respond. However if you send me an email, introduce yourself and let me know a bit about you and what exactly you want from the reach out, I am more likely to send a response back. Give me a reason to want to connect with you.

Memorable Jaunts DPS Article How to form your band of wellwishers

#4 Work out a mutually beneficial arrangement

Among the connections you make, some will be social, while others will be purely business and professional. That’s perfectly okay. You cannot be friends with the whole world, but you can certainly be cordial and pleasant with everyone you meet. When you are interacting with a vendor or a business peer, keep it professional and ensure that it is a mutually beneficial agreement. If you are reaching out to a small clothing boutique to do a styled shoot, ensure that you provide them with images from the shoot that they can use to promote their work. If you are asking acquaintances to model for you, provide them with images that they can use however they see fit. My personal rule is to provide watermark-free images, but to ask for image credit when they post the images online.

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Invest in a core group of friends and wellwishers

 #5 Give more than you receive

This one ties in with #4. Don’t forget to thank people for their time and effort – either for promoting you or for helping you in some way. Just because the job is done, does not mean you forget about them and move on. Keep in touch and keep the connection strong. You never know when you may need to reach out to them again. Make sure that your cheerleaders remain your advocates for a long time.

I know what you are thinking. Shouldn’t something like friendships and relationships come from the heart? Does it really need to be plotted and mapped like a cross-country road trip? There really are a lot of benefits to doing just that. We all know that time is limited, and often time is more valuable than money itself. So, why not use that time wisely? When you are strapped for time, engage in relationships that bring the most value. I am not equating value with money or business. Value is a very personal choice and decision, and can mean whatever you choose to matter most to you – true connections, selfless relationships and/or business transactions.

How do you build your team of cheerleaders? Please share in the comments below.

The post How to Form a Band of Cheerleaders for Your Photography Business by Karthika Gupta appeared first on Digital Photography School.