What is branding?
There’s a lot of mixed messaging out there about what branding truly is. I often read posts on Facebook and Instagram where I feel branding is thrown out as a buzzword without much understanding around it.
I’m a branding photographer in Dallas, TX, and I help create content for all types of businesses from restaurants to real estate agencies and bloggers, and I’m here to provide some clarity and guide you in the right direction when it comes to prepping for your branding photo shoot.
So what is branding? To start, we need to look at what a brand is.
A brand is what makes a business unique, and it’s more multifaceted than just your logo and company name. It’s a combination of visuals, voice, and values that evoke a recognizable feeling around your business. Simply put, it’s the idea that lives in the mind of those who perceive your business.
Branding, therefore is the act of shaping how a company, organization, or individual is perceived (source).
With this definition in mind, here are some tips on how to prepare for and get the most out of your branding session. These are all points I discuss with my clients prior to their branding sessions to get the creative juices flowing and brainstorm together on how we can most accurately capture their brand identity in our shoot.
The 4 Focuses:
What are your brand colors?
It’s important to have defined what your brand colors are prior to investing the time and money into overhauling your website, printing business cards, buying company t-shirts, or shooting your branding content. Why? Consistency. Making sure your brand is consistent across all platforms conveys trustworthiness and professionalism. I like to keep brand colors in mind for wardrobe choices, backdrops, props, and locations for our shoot. Tying in the right colors creates a cohesive look.
While we’re talking about color here, it’s also important to think about what tones and editing style match your brand. My editing style is vibrant, my colors are bold and true to life, and I typically shoot natural light. Keeping my editing style natural makes me a good fit for a wide variety of businesses. However, if you own a boutique that sells edgy, punk clothing for example, you may be better suited with a darker, moodier editing style.
2. PERSONALITY & VOICE
What voice does your brand have?
What is your personality type and what traits are you going to use to connect with people? For me, my business has an honest, down to earth voice with a touch of humor. As a photographer, I want people to feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera so I joke with them, cheer them on, and don’t take myself too seriously. I’m also a no-frills kind of person, so I strive to keep my tone straightforward, honest, and even-keeled. I know other wedding photographers who employ a more romantic, soft, and elegant demeanor and that represents their brand very well.
What personality do you portray? We will chat about this prior to your branding session and keep this in mind when we work through different poses and expressions.
Have you thought about a location for your branding session?
About half of my clients already have a location in mind when they come to me, and the other half look to me for advice on where to shoot. Location understandably has a big impact on the way your brand will be portrayed.
Here are a few questions I ask to lead us to the right location:
Do you have a brick and mortar storefront? (i.e. a beauty studio, a bridal boutique, an office space, etc.)
Is there a general area in which you serve your clients? (i.e. real estate agents, insurance companies, florists, jewelry designers, dog trainers, etc.)
Is there a recognizable geographic location that will resonate with your clients? (i.e. local bakery on a town common, city skyline backdrop, notable street, etc.)
What visual backdrop fits your brand? (i.e. industrial backdrop, natural landscape, neutral walls, in-home session, etc.)
4. IDEAL CLIENTELE
Ahh, the ideal clientele question. I’ll admit, this was a tough one to define for my business so I can appreciate any vagueness you’re feeling around this subject. But, it is just as important to keep your ideal clientele in mind for your branding session as it is to think of color, voice, and location. In fact, these three elements work together to speak to your ideal clientele. Ask yourself the questions below, and you’ll be surprised how the answers will help us confirm we’ve chosen the right location, we’re depicting the right voice, and we’re incorporating the right color palette for your shoot.
Where does your ideal client live?
What is your ideal client’s lifestyle?
What is your ideal client demographic?
What personality traits does your ideal client have?
What need/want are you fulfilling for your client?
I know you may be thinking that your ideal client is not just one client type at all, and that’s okay. You can have more than one “ideal” client for the various services and products you offer. I know I do. We will work together on how to best captivate the audience you wish to reach in your shoot.
Side note- If you’d like to know more about brands, branding, and why you should invest in branding for your business, there’s a great article you should check out by Ignite Branding here.
Hope you found this useful! If you’re ready to plan your branding session, let’s chat!