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Using Emotion In Your Photography Branding


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Using Emotion In Your Photography Branding

Does your brand evoke an emotion for your client?  The Coca Cola symbol does and so does McDonald’s golden arches–just show those arches to your kids and see what happens.  When a brand’s experience emotionally charges someone, they are now buying with an element of emotion instead of just logic and so they are often willing to spend more.  So, how do you take advantage of this as a photographer?

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First, it is important that you realize the many different types of emotions that you can tie into a brand.  Most likely no one gets choked up when they see the Donald Trump brand, but it evokes other emotions; the Trump brand exudes power, dominance, and wealth.  What emotions do you want your brand to evoke? You might want your brand to say: fun, classy, down-to-earth, slick, modern, close, clean, eclectic, tough, professional, edgy, flashy, etc.  And although these might seem like only descriptor words, people do feel an emotion when they see a website or marketing material that reflects these words and attitudes.

And while a brand is a symbol that represents not only your style of photography but the whole experience your client will receive with you–from your personality, to your marketing materials, to your delivery time–new clients coming to your site will not be able to completely grasp your entire brand’s concept until they have been through the entire experience with you.  You need to be able to showcase your brand through your storefront, which for many of us is our website, blog and social media.

The most compelling part of your site is your images; be sure that when you are selecting the images for your site you are choosing not only high quality images, but images that bring the emotion that you want to connect to your brand.   If you’re a family photographer it might be fun family moments—so use a lot of images with laughter and connections.  But if you’re a senior photographer, you might show images that are high fashion, or cutting edge and forward, if that is what that reflects your brand and who you are.

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In addition to your images, your logo and marketing materials need to match your style.  Your logo may not evoke an emotion for a brand new client who has never met you, but once they have gone through the entire photo session and buying process with you, that logo now represents everything that they’ve experienced.  For example, when we see the Coca Cola symbol, it’s not the font and the specific color of red that bring emotion.  Instead, it’s what the brand stands for.

Your branding can continue through your site design with colors, layout, flow, music and any movement that you might have going on.  The style that you choose for all of these will determine how people feel about your brand.  If they see bright colors and hear light and cheery music, then they might feel a happy emotion.  If they see darker and deeper tones, and hear heavier rock music, they might interpret it as cool, dirty, or hip.  But then again, someone that is not your target audience might think scary!  Just be sure the emotion that you’re trying to project with your branding aligns with your target market.

And lastly, be sure that your clients’ experience in contacting and working with you flows with your brand.  Be certain that you are communicating and delivering to your client effectively.  Poor communication and missed deadlines can drag down an otherwise great brand.  Analyze yourself and see if you have room for improvement with your customer service and the way that you handle and treat your clients.

And eventually as you continue to create amazing images and build your marketing materials and web design around a common emotion or theme, your brand will become a statement to others and you’ll watch your sales soar!

What emotion are you trying to capture with your branding, and what type of photography do you offer?

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Amy Fraughton and Amy Swaner are the founders of Photo Business Tools, an online site offering business resources for photographers through blog posts, podcasts and downloadable forms.


No Comments

  1. Danielle Bright on March 28, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I lucked out that I have an awesome last name.

  2. Jamie on March 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I completely agree that we need to be always conscious of our branding. I believe that one of the most common mistakes made by photographers is to “show too much” for the sake of showing skill, but because of that fail to ever develop a true “brand” through their images. We show lots of diverse types of images but never hone it down to our specialty, whatever that is. We’re in the process of a re-brand right now, and I’m currently going through our portfolio and blog to identify the images we want to showcase, and not just put every awesome image out there that we take. We want emotion and story. If it doesn’t fit that, we’re hoping to ditch it from view. It’s difficult, because we love our work more than anyone else does, but eventually I hope it will bring us more business and better perceived value.

  3. Dragos Iatan on March 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I’m a big believer of what Amy said. I think photographers would benefit from understanding a bit of branding. Learning to show emotions and values in your images will give you a big push forward. Not because you can push your own values but more so by pushing your clients’ values. Companies with a strong identity are looking for photographers who can capture their vision more than just their products. Most campaigns today are driven by emotion. That’s because emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions. Look at the new Nikon face: I am… They are trying to connect their audience through their beliefs.This applies also if you are more of a people’s photographer. Being able to connect with your clients on an emotional level will always help you towards becoming the obvious/only choice, the goal of branding :). But for that you need to be consistent in your portfolio and marketing materials, pushing forward a certain set of values and emotions, ones that are relevant to your targeted clients.I believe a bit of knowledge on branding would help your business and the value of your work. Thank you, “î We create a voice for your vision

  4. This is such great information and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. I wonder how I can use this with my photography blog. I have some thinking to do!!! Thanks for that. I love opportunities to improve my brand.

  5. Amy F on March 30, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Danielle, you did luck out!Jamie, your right, hitting just those 2 elements (emotion and story) will strengthen your campaign, stay with it!Dragos, yes, people buy on emotion, not logic…I’m glad I’m selling pictures, not accounting! Way more fun!Kim, follow Jamie’s lead. Choose 2 elements that you want to sell as part of your brand and stick with them. Then choose images that reflect those elements when posting to your blog. Also include descriptions that say the same thing, over and over.

  6. Corry-Lyn on March 31, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I am currently working on my first website and blog and have really been struggling with what images I want to showcase to tell potential clients what I’m all about. This article really gives me lot’s to think about as well as going through the comments of others. Thanks for posting!

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