For years, I thought being a photographer just meant taking pictures, delivering a final product, a little bit of advertising, and a lot of e-mailing. Little did I know how much my business suffered because of it, and how much I could have been doing right from the very start.
There was nothing personal about the interactions I had with my clients; it was all very business professional. It's not to say I didn't laugh at their jokes or smile during the father daughter dance, but I didn't make the effort to really get to know my clients. I also didn't give them the opportunity to get to know the real me, to develop trust, and to build a worthwhile photographer-client relationship.
I started looking around me to see what other photographers were doing that I wasn't. For starters, most of them had a blog and were present on social media. They also had a certain something that I didn't, and that was a consistent brand. They kept the same logo for years, stuck to a particular color palette, and developed a style all their own whether it was fun, quirky, elegant, or professional. My "brand" was a mish-mash of all four of those things that changed over time, depending on my mood or what I decided I wanted my website to look like. Even if the website looked good, there was no consistency and it was confusing to my followers.
So, I set out to find my own brand, to make my business reflect who I am as a person. It wasn't easy. I took to Pinterest and began researching brand boards and different corresponding colors. (By the way, I search for everything on Pinterest. Google has almost become obsolete in my world.) I would find things that I liked, but it still didn't bring me any closer to creating my own brand. Sure, theirs looked great, but I still didn't have any idea what sort of direction I was trying to take. I wanted it to be simple and legible, but also personal. I spent my day racking my brain for logo ideas. What was me? How could I design a logo that accurately represented my business, without being overly obvious? (Like one of my past logos, or all the others in the biz with camera or shutter graphics.)
A good place to start was with my name. I spent a good chunk of time looking through free fonts online, and it wasn't getting me anywhere. I had tried using many fonts before, and I still ended up getting tired of them. I needed something that would last a long time, something I wouldn't get sick of and want to change six months from now. Then, I stumbled upon a tutorial for importing your own signature onto your computer as a graphic. Next thing I knew, I was signing my own name on blank pieces of paper until my hand cramped. Finally, I found a signature I liked and scanned it onto my computer. Now, there was a whole different issue - what colors? I didn't want to use anyone else's palette, so, I experimented with the entire dang rainbow until I found something I thought I could stick to. I like all things simple, with just a little pop of color. In other words, nothing flashy. The gray and cream tones pretty much sums up my entire closet, and the muted blue and mustard were a subtle "pop". Long story short: once I let my creative juices flow and stopped worrying about what other people were doing, I found my brand.