The market for photography in this day and age is packed full of aspiring photographers. I’m one of them. The majority of photographers choose to name their company after themselves. i.e. “John Doe Photography” When I started my photography business though, I didn’t think anyone would remember my company name if I only named it after myself. “Richard Nagle Photography” or “Night Owl Photography”? I was convinced that the latter would be more memorable. I was right. I was convinced that having a recognizable logo would help people remember me, and my work. I think this is true for most businesses, but I’m just a small business owner, and not an expert, so I could be wrong? I encourage you to ponder it though.
Why Night Owl Photography? When I was a kid growing up in my godfathers darkroom, with he, my dad, and my other godfather on occasion, it was always late at night into the wee hours of the early morning. That’s where and when I learned my craft. Of course I’d take pictures during the day, but late at night is when we developed them. I was just they’re helper most nights, but still, that name was engrained in my psyche from the git-go. When I got my first DSLR, all of my image processing happened late at night and into the early morning hours as well. Plus my love of raptors and astronomy just kinda all fit.
So this logo that you see plastered all over everything I do, took me a while to create. I looked for that owl you see for many months online before I finally found the absolutely perfect owl I wanted. It was like fate wanted me to find it. It was found on a site called “The Nest of the Snow Owl”, which is a native american site. I asked the owner for permission to use it, and she granted me that permission. Then I played around in photoshop for a while and came up with the logo you see.
Now it’s one thing to have a good logo, but if you don’t USE IT, what good is it? Once you have a good logo, you have to get it in front of everyone. EVERYONE! It needs to go on your business cards of course, and your website, but that’s not enough. It needs to be the main profile picture of every social networking site you’re a member of. Every forum you post to. Every advertisement you create. Everywhere and anywhere you can think of. You need to put it on merchandise (Cafepress makes this easy to do. Check out my merchandise link in the right column for examples.), things like hats, shirts, buttons, magnets, mugs, pens, everything. Then either sell them, or give them away to people who will actually use them. Yes it’s a business cost, but you write it off anyway, right? You need to put it in comment replies, perhaps in your signature file, and anytime you have an opportunity to upload an avatar, use your logo!
What should your logo be? Well only you can answer that. It should be something that you find passionate or interesting though. Something you love. If you’re not creative, you can hire someone to create a logo for you, but don’t let them do it without an interview. It should be a teamwork thing if it’s going to mean anything. If they create your logo on their own, without interviewing you, it will mean nothing to you, or to your clientbase. Your logo should have a connection to you, and it should have a connection to your business. It should be more than text with a fancy font, well . . . , in most cases at least.
Now this isn’t going to happen overnight, but eventually, people will see your logo on your business card, or on your hat, or your shirt, and they’ll say something like “Ohhhhh, you’re the Night Owl! I love your pictures!” It happens to me all the time now, after 3 years of hard work. It’s really kinda cool every single time it happens too, because it means it’s working. 🙂 It happens to me at ren faires, bodybuilding shows, belly dance shows, birding outings, and basically all the events that I frequent. It seems that everywhere I go, someone knows and loves my work. That’s a good feeling, and it’s because of my “branding” that they remember me. I really don’t think they’d remember “Richard Nagle Photography”.
But what about all the famous photographers out there who’s photography is self named? In my humble opinion, they don’t need branding, because they’re just that good. I’m not. I need branding to make me stand out from the bazillion (yes, that’s “my” word) other photographers who are competing in my target market. I’m not trying to say that “everyone” needs branding, but it sure does help when you want to rise above the crowd of the masses, stand out, and be remembered.
Once you’ve got your logo everywhere, you need next need to get your images and logo in front of people, but I think there’s enough info there for another separate post. So look for that one soon . . . . .