For wedding photographers, and every wedding vendor and entrepreneur ever, branding is one of the most important steps to building a thriving business. It should be consistent, and it should set you apart from the sea of other photographers – but, it’s definitely difficult to figure out how to brand yourself, especially if you’re just starting out. In this guide, we’ll talk about why branding matters, what it actually means, and some tips to help you start nailing down your brand! Read on to see my branding tips for wedding photographers:
What is Branding?
Before we talk about creating your brand or any of that stuff, you’ll need to know what branding is! A lot of folks think of branding as a logo, a colour palette, and the fonts you use on your website – and that’s definitely a big part of it. But, there’s more.
Branding refers to anything that distinguishes your business from other businesses, and anything that makes you unique as a wedding photographer.
This includes the visual components, like fonts, colours, website design, and the way you take and edit your photos. But it also includes some less tangible things, like your personality, your voice, and how you interact with your clients. All of these things work together to create your brand!
Why Branding Matters for Wedding Photographers?
Branding is important no matter what you do or what kind of business you run, and here’s why branding matters.
Branding Makes You Unique
One of the biggest reasons that branding matters is that it makes you unique. When a couple is looking for a wedding photographer, there are literally endless options for people they can inquire with – and let’s be honest, a lot of people take really good photos! So, the thing that sets you apart from the rest is your branding. Because your branding should reflect your personality (more on this later!), it’s the thing that’s going to help you connect with a couple, and it’s how you’ll find clients who you really love working with, and who really love working with you.
People Can Recognize Your Brand
You’re not like any other person in the world – sure, there are plenty of people who are similar to you, but no one has your exact life experiences, quirks, sense of humour, and all the little things that make you, you. And your brand should be the same! It should be unique to you, and eventually, staying consistent and developing your own unique style and branding will make it more recognizable. Ideally, when people see your work, they should know that it’s yours without even looking!
Branding Builds a Connection
Your brand is a reflection of who you are, and your personality. Wedding photography is really personal – there’s a lot at stake when couples decide to invest in you! It’s a big commitment financially, but you’re also the person who will be there on one of the most important days of their life, and the one who is responsible for documenting that day. That’s why making a personal connection is so important – it builds trust, and allows them to get to know you on a more personal level.
Branding Tips for Wedding Photographers
Now, let’s talk about how you can build your brand, and some tips to help you stand out!
Start With the Hard Stuff
Looking at pretty fonts and putting together colour palettes often feels a lot easier than digging deep to figure out your personality, your voice, and how it all connects to create your brand. But, the visual aspect of branding should be a reflection of who you are – so while you can make a nice website or some cute icons, you can’t accurately portray your personality without doing the work to figure out who you are, and how it relates to your brand!
It sounds overwhelming, but it just takes some time and some reflection! Sit down with a pen and paper, put your phone away to avoid distractions, and think about your why. Your why is the reason you’re a business owner, the reason you take wedding photos, and the reason it all matters to you.
Hint – the answer isn’t about money, travelling, or anything to do with what you gain from running a business. The answer is about what you’re giving to your couples, and the impact that you have with your work.
Think about memories and experiences from your own life that shaped who you are, and how they all connect. Write everything down – it’ll help you put thoughts together and find meaningful connections! Think about what you’re passionate about, what you would do if money wasn’t a thing, and what matters to you in your own life. Then, think about how you take those values and experiences into the world and your business. It’s hard, but it’s worth it – stick with it, even if it takes weeks to really put into words why you do what you do.
Incorporate Your Personality Into Your Branding
Your branding should be authentic, and it should reflect you. Everything from the fonts you choose to the way you write your Instagram captions should feel honest! As a wedding photographer, it can feel tempting to tone down your personality or to put on a veil of professionalism – but the truth is that people like to work with people, not with businesses. Especially for something as personal as wedding photography, people gravitate towards those who they relate to and connect with. Being true to yourself attracts people who like what you’ve got!
So don’t force anything! For example, if you’re outgoing and bubbly and you love bright colours, incorporate fun pops of colour in your branding. If you’re more reserved and artsy, maybe muted tones and classic fonts reflect who you are. If you drop a lot of F-bombs, don’t be afraid to sprinkle them into your website copy! If you’re the kind of person who becomes friends with everyone they meet, part of your client experience might be taking them out for coffee. If you’re more of an introvert, don’t force yourself to be everyone’s best friend – instead, it might be more “you” to send a thoughtful gift.
Throughout the whole process of finding your brand, really think about whether what you’re doing in your business reflects who you are.
Work With a Professional
The best way to create the visual parts of your brand, like a logo, a website, and finding fonts and colours that reflect you, is to work with a professional! They’ll be able to ask questions and get to know you to really capture who you are and create these things for you. DIY-ing is great, but even if you have a background in graphic design or you know how to make a website, it’s often harder to reflect and make those things for yourself than it is to design them for others – so hiring someone else is always a good idea!
A lot of wedding photographers struggle with writing about themselves, so you can also hire a professional copywriter! Make sure they’re experienced and will be able to make it sound like you. It’s amazing how a third party can put your thoughts and ideas into words or visuals – outsourcing branding is like having someone translate your personality into a brand. One of my top recommendations for copywriting is Anna Tee– she’s the bomb!
One of the biggest reasons why branding matters is that it sets you apart – so it’s important that once you figure out your branding, you stay consistent. This means using your established colours and fonts for any marketing materials, and also making sure that you’re providing the same experience for every client. Of course, people change and your business and your brand will evolve with you – so if after a few years, you feel like your branding doesn’t really reflect who you are anymore, you can always upgrade, change it up, and do some reflection to see how things have changed!
I hope these branding tips for wedding photographers have been helpful as you grow your business.
If you’d like me to give you a branding review then reach out. I’m also about to launch some Wild Ridge Presets, which will be a great stepping stone for you to tweak to find your own editing style (which is a big branding tick in the box) You can see some examples of the presets in use on my portfolio. And make sure to follow me on my Instagram page which is where the launch of the presets will be real soon!
The Person Behind The Lens
If you like unconventional, honest, friendly and real photos, I’m your person.
Sam Wildridge is a lifestyle photographer / filmmaker based in Wainwright, Alberta. Sam has been capturing wedding, family + corporate photos for 9 years and defines her style as "organic storytelling".