Choosing how you position your photography studio can make or break your business and creating a strong brand for yourself can also be difficult. We all know it's a competitive market and an oversaturated field. So how do you stand out from the crowd? There's a lot of "what to do" for your photography business, but what about the things you shouldn't do?
We're breaking down the 5 biggest branding mistakes you can make as a photographer.
1. Your Look and Feel is Not Cohesive
When a potential client visits your website, they get a complete picture (no pun intended!) of who you are, the kind of imagery you shoot, and what your style is. All the information you present should accurately tell the story of who you are. Your logo, brand colors, and style should reflect the kind of photography work you will deliver.
If you shoot light, airy, and romantic imagery but your logo is dark, heavy, or simply unpolished, you're sending a confusing message about what kind of experience you provide. If there's a disconnect between your brand identity and your visual aesthetic, potential clients won't get an accurate representation of who you are as a photographer.
Having an amateur logo that you made yourself (or scored on fiver.com) might seem like a good idea at the time, but your logo is one of the key identifiers of your brand. You might be an amazing photographer and with a gorgeous DIY website, but that doesn't mean you're a logo designer. Having a strong logo that contributes to brand recognition is vital for a successful business. Hire an experienced pro to create a stellar logo that is cohesive to your style and really captures your essence. This will help create a total brand experience.
Not sure where to start in creating a cohesive website, logo, and marketing materials? Check out our Brand Design Themes here and then find your corresponding website theme from our friends at Go Live here. These complete brand systems will help your branding look and overall aesthetic tight and cohesive. We also have a companion style guides for each Brand Design Theme here.
2. You Don't Keep your Website and Social Media Updated
We get it. It can be difficult to take the time to blog every session after you've spent hours of culling and editing your images. Writing the perfect Instagram caption can be daunting or sometimes you just get so wrapped up in everything else you need to get done on your to-do list you keep putting it off. We feel ya.
You may be shooting new clients every week, but if you're not keeping all your channels updated, no one will know. If a client comes across your Instagram and last time you posted was over six months ago, it's going to look like you're not shooting. This might make them hesitant to reach out, thus losing a potential client.
Staying active online is important to keep yourself relevant in your field, stand out from your competition, and will show your strong brand with consistent imagery over time. If you don't want to spend a ton of time planning out your posts each day, set aside some time to plan your posts and automate them with a program like Planoly, where you can plan your grid and set them to auto-post so you don't even have to think about it!
3. Showing Quantity Over Quality
We understand you're proud of your work—and you should be! But that doesn't mean you have to share every image from each shoot. No one wants to scroll through hundreds of images on your site. You want to give clients a taste of the kind of work you'd be able to provide for them. Select only the best of the best, leave them wanting more!
Additionally, show the kind of work you want to be doing more of. Do you have a bunch of your old work on your site from when you first began? Maybe you started photographing senior portraits but moved to intimate weddings. If that's the work you really want to be doing, consolidate the work on your site to show only your best and newest.
4. You Take Too Long to Respond
Client communication should be one of your top priorities. Taking days to respond to a message from a potential client sends the wrong message. You want to seem attentive, available, and ready to answer any questions or concerns. Responding in a timely manner also shows professionalism and that you are ready for business. We suggest taking no longer than 24-48 hours to respond to a client.
When you do respond, take the time to respond with care. Make sure you are answering all the questions thoroughly, check for typos and make sure your responses aren't too relaxed. You want to sound friend, approachable, and professional. Remember—even if your clients seem like friends, you're still running a business and you should strive to sound polished at all times!
5. You Don't Stay Visually Cohesive Across Your Channels
Have you ever visited a photographer's website and tried to find them on Facebook or Instagram but you weren't sure if it was the same person because the profile avatars didn't jive?
Keep it easy to be discovered om all social channels by trying to keep the same handles (if they're available), using the same profile avatar (we suggest using your logo), and keep your personal headshots current. If people are searching for you across multiple platforms this ensures them that they've got the right person.
We also recommend using a branded email signature that contains all your contact information and links to your website and all your social channels so that you are easily discoverable. If you need help creating a custom HTML signature, read our how-to blog here.