Ben Lowy is an award-winning conflict and feature photographer based in New York City. He’s covered major stories worldwide, including the Iraq and Afghan wars. Hipstamatic also created the “Ben Lowy” lens after he used the app to document life in Afghanistan and was featured by The New York Times.
But alongside his award-winning photography is a distinct business brand that helps him reach more clients. So as part of our 2013 Photo Business Plan Workbook, we interviewed Ben to get his advice on creating a real, lasting brand for your photo business.
Branding is a concept that can be elusive to many, but it’s a key element that touches every aspect of your business. A brand is more than your logo or the color scheme you choose for your website. Your brand is evident through your niche, your technical style, your website, the way you interact with your clients, and much more. The good news is that, as an artist, you already have a distinct style and point of view – which are essentially what make up your brand. You just need to consciously identify the characteristics of that style and make sure they are apparent throughout your marketing.
Here are three tips to build your photo brand in 2013:
1. Focus on a niche.
When you develop your brand, you develop the identity of your business. Are you a high-end fashion photographer known for your impeccable client service? Are you an edgy wedding photographer who shoots only alternative couples? “The more focused your specialty is, the more effectively you can communicate your product, services, and values – in essence, your brand – to potential clients,” Ben points out.
2. Dedicate time to social media.
With over 20,000 followers on Instagram and a Tumblr blog he updates daily, Ben realized very early on that as he grew a steady following, he would need to think about how to present his work. This meant he would have to think carefully about the tone of his posts, the photos he chose, the frequency he would share content, and more. Consistency in these areas can often help define and strengthen a brand.
When sharing his work through social media, Ben makes an important distinction between his social media followers and potential clients: “The interesting thing about social media is that many of your followers are not future clients or even in the industry, they’re just fans. This means the work you should feature should be interesting, not necessarily always a photo that is technically your best shot.”
3. Your logo isn’t everything, but it does matter.
A well-designed logo is only part of your brand, but it can make an impact on potential clients. When visiting your website, it can be one of the first creative pieces someone sees. As the symbol of your brand, your logo will also touch all aspects of your business including your website, your Facebook page, your newsletter, your blog, and even your final invoice.
For example, Ben’s logo is bold and modern and creatively joins the first letters of his first and last name. The design combines grey and orange in a standard Helvetica font that appears consistently across different browsers. The logo is sleek and clean, which complements his mobile-friendly workflow and forward-thinking photo business. Ben told us that his logo, which his wife helped design, came as inspiration from one of his favorite comic book series characters, Tony Stark from Iron Man.
Want more tips from seasoned photographers on everything from blogging to SEO to managing your finances? Check out our latest free guide, the 2013 Photo Business Plan Workbook.
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