Your Visual Brand = Your Business Identity
When it comes to branding, many people focus solely on creating a logo and maybe some key colours. But in my opinion, the logo should be one of the last things you do.
Creating a strong and consistent visual brand presence will help you attract the right clients from the very start. This includes having stellar images that showcase your products and/or services.
Before you determine your visual brand, you need to get very clear on your offer, who it serves, and what problem it solves.
Understand Your Customer
When it comes to branding, the first thing we must do is identify your “Customer Avatar” - your ideal client. Once we know who we are trying to attract, we can then map out the themes, colours and images that will attract them to our brand.
Most people are visual creatures, so we need to create a suite of visual elements that speak to our brand. This goes beyond a great headshot (although those help too).
For example, if you want to attract 6-figure earners, then you’ll want to ensure the photography you use in your marketing has a high-end look and feel and speaks to those people. Or if you’re speaking to the stay-at-home mom, you’ll want to show that you understand her daily struggles and lifestyle. Your customer wants to feel like you “get” them.
By understanding your customer avatar first, you could potentially save hundreds if not thousands of dollars down the line in a costly “rebrand.” Aim to get it right the first time!
What to Look for in a Branding Photographer
Finding the right photographer with the right skillset is the key to your success. You need someone that is not only knowledgeable in the technical side of photography but also an understanding of marketing and branding.
Even within the professional world, there are many different types of photographers; wedding photographers, family photographers, editorial and commercial photographers. Some are very technical while some are more artistic. It’s important to look for a photographer whose work has the look and feel that speaks to your brand. It’s also important that your personalities connect well as you’ll be working with them in-person.
Here are 4 things to look for in a branding photographer:
- Look at their portfolio and figure out if he/she can execute your vision. If you have a hard time deciding, then show inspiration images to the photographer and ask them if they can execute the type of images you are looking for.
- Ask them what their knowledge of marketing and if they have experience in creating visuals for marketing purposes. This is the key question, a branding photographer should have a strong understanding of how to attract your ideal client visually.
- Know if you plan to use the images in print. Most basic branding images do not include print quality. This means the images are generally only good for usage on screens (such as the internet).
- If you do want print-quality, ask if they can provide CMYK images as well as RGB images. Print qualities should be a minimal of 240 dpi, so if you are not sure, spell this out, as some photographers may not know this themselves.
What to Expect in a Branding Package
The process for branding images should begin shortly after your booking. The ideal scenario should include:
- Consultation: be prepared to talk about your business, your brand, your ideal clients, your vision etc.
- Moodboard: Some photographers will provide you with a moodboard so you can have a visual representation of the look and feel the photographer thinks will work for the shoot. Ensure this moodboard is in fact what you are trying to capture.
- Agreement: All photographers should send you a contract or agreement to review, sign and return. You may need to go back and forth a few times to ensure everyone’s expectations are being met.
- The Shoot: This should be fun and seamless. If your photographer has not sent you information on what to expect and anything you need to bring, you should ask!
- Image Delivery: Most photographers will deliver your images within 2 weeks of the shoot. Make sure you ask about this before signing your contract in case you have a deadline you need to meet.
Having a strong visual brand is one of the most important elements in running a business. It will help you attract more of your ideal clients and in turn enjoy more success!
Learn more from Elaine in our Digital Marketing Panel at Business Bootcamp on Sat. April 14th in Toronto! Tickets on sale now!
Elaine Chan-Dow is an established artist, photographer and educator. She holds a BA, BFA and MFA, certificate in Post Secondary teaching and Digital Marketing Strategy. As a commercial photographer, she aims to elevate her clients’ brand presence by capturing the essence of each unique vision brought to her, and bringing each story to life. Her editorial works have graced covers of magazines and on billboards across Canada and the United States. She also teaches Photoshop and Photography.