Friday, October 25, 2013

How My Photography Brand Has Evolved Over the Past Two Years

Tonight, I'm sitting out on the back porch eating salad and writing some Q&A blog posts. One reader asked about rebranding their business and it got me thinking about how my own photography business & brand identity has evolved over the past 2 years. I searched back through my old website designs, logos and business cards. So far, my business has had three distinct brand identities:

Brand Identity 1) 
Loveducks Photography  - back in the day when I incorporated company colors and little ducks, haha. I still can't believe there was a time when I thought this was amazing branding. I included all the colors of the rainbow because 1) I love them all and 2) I'm a bright happy person and I thought using lots of colors would show this to clients. I had 10 portfolio images to work with and I designed a fancy postcard. I ordered 5,000 postcards. It was a sad day when I dumped the whole stack of them in the recycling bin. I only ever handed out like 100 of them (if that). This brand identity stuck around for about 6 months.

Brand Identity 2) I made the leap and renamed my business to my own name :) I was still afraid of using my full long name so I put an emphasis on my first name. I tried to keep things compact by squeezing everything into a box. haha I thought that using all the rainbow colors was too chaotic so I forced myself (painfully) to narrow it down. I rocked the chalkboard black & embraced the color turquoise that was the perfect medium between happy energetic yellow and calm trustworthy blue (yes, I researched color psychology....for hours). I ordered 5,000 postcards, stickers and business cards to get the show on the road. 4,950 of these are still buried in my in-law's house. haha This brand identity stuck around for about 6 months.

Brand Identity 3) I finally woman-ed up and used my full name, all parts equal. I kept everything simple with a clean classic fonts (Century Gothic & Garamond), somehow found the guts to commit to labeling myself as a 'Women's Portrait Photographer', and like any true artist I signed my name by hand! This is my current logo and I love it because it's delicate and feminine but as a whole unit it's quite packed full of substance. It's a logo that I think looks more like a painter's stamp rather than a photographer's, and I like that. In one glance, people can easily read my name, know what I do, and identify me as an artist. My current brand identity is more clean and simple with less emphasis on a "brand" and more emphasis on showing off my pictures. I'm such a lover of ALL the colors, I struggled to pick I used none. The only color that would appear on my website would be the color in my images. This brand identity has been around for almost 1.5 years and I'm still loving it. I've fined tuned it here and there but the simplicity of it has made it kinda timeless.

Before moving to Hawaii, I started questioning whether or not my brand was accurately representing who I am. Sure it's pretty and simple but is it trying too hard, looking more glamorous than I actually am, lacking personality all together? 

My goal was to have a brand identity that was so simple, all the attention would be on the images but I think this nice idea was slowly corrupted as I tried to emulate other photographers' styles, maybe trying to be something I'm not? 

I'm still unsure about all of this so I'm on a 2 year sabbatical in Hawaii working it out, sorting out the messy thoughts in my over-worked head. I'm doing a little soul searching, challenging my photography technique & style, and putting on blinders to what everyone else is doing. I'm hoping that this time in Hawaii will be a period of growth and I'll emerge with a clearer idea of who I am, what I have to offer and how I can best package it up and present it to the world. Stay tuned ;)

How has your brand evolved? 
What have you learned along the way?
How far have you come?
Any advice for me?