6 Tips for Branding your photography business

Brand Identity can seriously improve the success rate of your business efforts across the board, if it’s harnessed correctly.

It’s true, photography itself speaks volumes, but your branding will provide prospective clients with an indication of your price point, the experience you offer… and ultimately whether you are the right fit for them or not!

Having worked at a photography studio & agency for many years before focusing on his own Graphic & Web Design career – London based Graphic and Web designer Jason Miller has a unique perspective, as he’s been able to experience both sides of the process.

Jason has prepared the 6 tips below to help you; whether you’re looking to work with a professional and would like to get the most out of the process, or you’d like advice on making some DIY adjustments.

Tip 1: Perceived value & Positioning

Brand identity can completely change the perceived value of the service you offer.

Is your approach is to offer clients a great deal of personal attention, perhaps spending hours just getting to know each of them?

More hours spent attentively editing each image after a shoot?

MORE hours hosting a viewing session in person? (Or, via video these days!)

If so, what a mistake it could be to create branding that indicates a different approach.

Try to ensure your brand reflects creates the correct expectation; whether that’s for an attentive, high end experience – or no-thrills with unbeatable value – and everything in between. When this aligns correctly, clients will be delighted to have their expectations met; meaning more bookings.

DIY 🛠

If you’re struggling with this, try looking at brands from other industries. Does your brand fit in with other luxury brands? Boutiques? Or value brands?

When hiring a professional 👩‍💻

Try to provide your designer with examples of brands from different industries who are positioned as you would like to be. Be as clear as possible about your goals.

Tip 2: Who are you attracting?

Are YOU your own ideal client? That’s not always the case… A common mistake, especially for small business owners, is to create a brand they really like, when really, they needed to create a brand their ideal clients would really like!

The easiest way to identify this, is to look at the brands your ideal clients have already brought into emotionally. The clothes they wear, the restaurants or coffee shops they visit, all provide strong indications.

DIY 🛠

If clients love your images, but would never ‘wear’ your brand on an item of clothing; you need to change it! Create a brand your clients could proudly wear without feeling uncomfortable.

When hiring a professional 👩‍💻

Ensure the brand identity designer you hire can assist you in identifying and attracting the correct audience; not simply go by your personal preferences.

Tip 3: Personality

A photographer is often hired on the basis of their personality, as much as their work.

Hinting at your style or personality within your brand identity can be a powerful way to attract clients you’re likely to get along with.

However, don’t forget; the about page on your website, story shares on social media, and short behind the scenes videos are all technically part of your collective brand identity. These can be far more effective ways to express your personality than trying to ‘shoe-horn’ weird and wonderful pop-culture references (or dare I say hobbies) into your logo!

Tip 4: Keep it professional

It is 100 times better to have a simple, but professional logo – than a complex one that hasn’t come together properly. In this day and age, that’s the equivalent of bad photoshop.

If your brand looks unprofessional, it will raise alarm bells and prospective clients might assume that it reflects the quality of your work… even if the photography is great!

Keeping it simple can be a great way to do this. Don’t try to create something unique at the expense of creating something uniquely bad!

That said, it’s a skill to create simple, effective design. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, try to find a professional that fits your budget. The time (and therefore money) you save hiring them could free you up to focus on other areas of your business.

Tip 5: Don’t detract from your images!

It should go without saying, but overuse of bright, bold colours or patterns that detract from your images, could defeat the whole purpose of branding your photography business.

Try to create elements that compliment and enhance your work, rather than compete with it for attention.

Would you like someone to hire you because they spot a bright splash of their favorite colour across your branding? Or because they spot their new, favorite image – alongside a reassuringly professional logo?

If you just have to use a bright colour – try to employ it as an accent rather than background, especially alongside images.

Tip 6: Reflect your USP

Sometimes we panic when we hear the word USP (Unique Selling Point), because we wonder, how can I offer something unique among 1000s of other photographers?

Well, think of it instead as your Key Selling Point… What is it about your photography, style or personality that clients rave about most?

At times, it’s possible, and appropriate to hint at this within your brand identity – as was the case for this brand I created for Rivka Singer Photography. (Shown below.) She is renowned for creating beautiful, ornate floral backgrounds in her studio images, and so we tastefully decorated her logo in a floral wreath to reflect this key selling point:

Are your images clean and crisp? Do they tend to feature lots of negative space? Or are they ornate and elaborate? If appropriate, try to reflect this in the style of your logo.

About Jason

Jason is a London based Graphic and Web designer who spent many years at a photography studio and agency before starting his own design studio – design being his true passion, having studied it at college. He now loves working with photographers among other business, to help them unlock the power of effective branding and web design. Be sure to check out his page just for photographers here.

www.jmgraphicdesign.com

020 7993 4375

Continuing help for subscribers affected by COVID-19

Since March 2020, we’ve been offering to reduce the cost of Light Blue subscriptions by 50% for six months for any of our customers who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. That help is still open to anyone who needs it: if you need assistance but haven’t applied for our offer yet, you can do so by clicking here to log into your account.

We’re still here to help

This is a challenging time for all of us in the photography industry, so we wanted to remind you that we’re here to help you make the most out of Light Blue so that it can support and aid your business.

We’ve been helping business owners to make the most of the opportunities that come along, whether that’s nurturing your existing clients with automated messages, helping postponed shoots to reschedule with our online contract signing service, working out which clients you want to market to when things get back to normal, or using our contact forms and workflows to handle new enquiries. If there’s anything that we can do to help you use Light Blue to its full potential, please get in touch to let us know.

Extended discounts

We hope that the photography industry is going to be able to recover as we get closer to Spring, but if you’re not yet able to afford your full Light Blue subscription then send us an email and we’ll extend your 50% discount for another three months. We want you to be able to use our tools to bounce back from this!

Spreading the word

We’re a tiny company, so we always appreciate it when customers ask us whether there’s anything that they can do to help us, too.

Telling other photographers about Light Blue and how we’ve helped your business always means a lot to us! If you know anyone who would benefit from using Light Blue, you can use our referral scheme to give them a discount and earn credit towards your own subscription too.

Merry Christmas from the Light Blue team

Although we’re still hard at work here in the Light Blue bunker, we thought we should take some time out to let you know when we’ll be available to help anyone who’s going to be busy over the Christmas and New Year period.

We’re here to help over the festive season, but we’re going to be taking a bit of a break and won’t be answering emails quite as quickly as normal between Christmas and New Year:

  • We’ll be offering our normal email support hours until Wednesday 23 December.
  • We’ll be offering limited email support on Thursday 24 December.
  • There’ll be no email support available on the UK holiday of 25 December.
  • We’ll be offering limited email support 28-31 December.
  • There will be no email support available on the bank holiday of Friday 1 January.
  • Normal email support will resume on Monday 4 January.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of our customers a restful and enjoyable Christmas. 2020 has been a tough year and we hope next year will be much better for all of us. We’re here to help you make the most of the opportunities that 2021 will bring!

Black Friday 2020

We’re here to help you get more organised, for less this Black Friday!

⬇️ Check out the special offer below. ⬇️

Bring all of your business admin together into one powerful and easy to use platform.

Work smarter

✓ Everything you need to know about all of your jobs is in one place.
✓ All of your client information and communications are linked together.
✓ Use clever templates for emails and text messages.
✓ Workflows keep you organised so that nothing gets forgotten.
✓ Email and text messages can be scheduled automatically so routine messages get sent at the right time.
✓ Never forget to send an invoice again with our automated payment reminders.

Easier to work with clients

✓ Online contract signing automatically confirms a session when your client signs, plus take a booking fee at the same time.
✓ Questionnaires and forms allow your clients to do your admin for you.
✓ Break large invoices up into manageable instalments using payment schedules.

Here to help you

✓ Light Blue can give you the big picture, which helps with making smarter decisions.
✓ Desktop and mobile apps allow you to work even when offline.
✓ Dedicated support team for easy set up and migration.

➡️ Use BF50 to get 50% off your first 6 months. ⬅️
Buy before end of 30th November 2020
30-day money back guarantee.

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Existing customer?

We’re here to help. In case you haven’t heard about it yet, we’ve been offering a cheaper subscription to anyone who’s been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read here for more information.

Light Blue 2020.1.4

We’ve just released Light Blue 2020.1.4, which adds more new features and some bug fixes.

You can update to Light Blue 2020.1.4 by using the “Check For Updates” command from within Light Blue. You’ll find that in the Light Blue menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the Help menu if you’re using Windows. You can also download the installer for the latest version of Light Blue by logging into your account on our website.

Here’s a list of the changes that we’ve made in this update:

  • The macOS auto-updater no longer includes an “automatically download and install updates” option and will always display the release notes. This applies to checking for updates from this version onwards: you need to install this update before you’ll see the change.
  • Removed currency symbols from CSV exports for our predefined reports.
  • The “Export Email Addreses” command now includes the contact’s company name in the export.
  • Shoot session descriptions that contain ampersands now display properly in their collapsed state.
  • Fixed a bug where using the “Export Email Addresses” command from the Shoots section could fail to use the shoot’s primary contact and instead use a different contact from the same shoot.
  • Fixed a database error that could occur when using “shoot next appointment X” fields for linked shoots in the query dialog.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur on Macs running versions of macOS older than macOS 10.12 Sierra.

macOS Big Sur

Apple is currently beta testing their next big macOS update, macOS Big Sur, and is likely to release it in the next few weeks. Big Sur is one of the biggest updates to macOS in recent years and includes lots of user interface changes as well as big changes to some of the key technologies behind the scenes.

We’ve been testing Light Blue 2020.1 with the macOS Big Sur betas and Light Blue appears to work well with it. However, please read on for our usual health warning about the dangers of installing a major operating system update as soon as it’s available!

Health warning

As with all major operating system updates, it is a very sensible idea to be cautious about updating your computers until Apple have had a chance to fix some of the bugs that will inevitably be present in the first version of macOS Big Sur. Although our testing of Light Blue 2020.1 on macOS Big Sur has been positive so far, there is every chance that Apple could change something that breaks compatibility or that we’ve missed something because we can’t test every conceivable combination of devices and settings.

If you rely on Light Blue to run your business, we would therefore recommend holding off from updating your operating system as soon as macOS Big Sur is available. At the very least, if you really really want to update on day one, make sure that you have at least one computer on the ‘old’ operating system until you’ve had a chance to test that all of the features that you depend on are fully functional.

Also, please note that our testing has been has been focussed on the latest version of our desktop app. The vast majority of our customers are already using Light Blue 2020.1, and if you’re using older version of our desktop then please update to the latest version to ensure that you’re able to take advantage of all of the new features and bug fixes that we’ve been adding. You can update the desktop app by using the ‘Check for updates’ command (in the ‘Light Blue’ menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the ‘Help’ menu if you’re using it on Windows).

Light Blue 2020.1.3

We’ve just released Light Blue 2020.1.3, which adds more new features and some bug fixes.

You can update to Light Blue 2020.1.3 by using the “Check For Updates” command from within Light Blue. You’ll find that in the Light Blue menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the Help menu if you’re using Windows. You can also download the installer for the latest version of Light Blue by logging into your account on our website.

Here’s a list of the changes that we’ve made in this update:

  • Fixed a runtime error that could occur on Windows when opening a window containing an HTML editor.
  • On Windows, reports are now opened in Light Blue’s reports viewer instead of in your default web browser.
  • Viewing an invoice that was created in a version of Light Blue before 2020.1 in the desktop app will make that invoice available online if it has an unpaid amount greater than zero and has payment reminders set up.
  • A warning is now displayed when you’re composing or viewing an email sent via your own SMTP server when you have Light Blue’s email tracking features enabled, because our email tracking features only apply to emails sent via our own email servers.
  • Added SaleNextPaymentDueDate and SaleFinalPaymentDueDate mail-merge tags, and made the old SalePaymentDueDate tag work as SaleNextPaymentDueDate.
  • Added support for ‘NextAppointment’ and ‘NextConfirmedAppointment’ address mail-merge tags in workflow emails.
  • Changed localisation of form address headings so that the notification email you receive when a client fills in a form will use your localised headings.
  • Wedding roles are now translated in the shoot linked contacts role menu.
  • Translated the “Are you sure you want to sign this contract?” confirmation dialog into French and German
  • Improved the automatic linking of Contact records by company name when importing Purchase records from a CSV file.
  • The “Ask Every Time” print branding option is now only applied for “real” printing: PDFs will always include branding.
  • The “Received Today” filter in the Inbox no longer shows items received yesterday and today if your current timezone is UTC+something.
  • When adding new contacts to a shoot on Windows, the Role field for additional linked contacts now includes a popup menu.
  • Fixed a bug where the bounding box for a selected image in an HTML editor wouldn’t move if you use the mouse wheel or trackpad to scroll the HTML editor.
  • Fixed a bug where a payment reminder email that crosses the daylight savings time boundary would be scheduled an hour earlier or later than intended.
  • Fixed a bug where the HTML editor text size menu would always show “12”, even when you’ve selected text that’s a different size.
  • Fixed a problem on Windows where changes made in an HTML editor could be lost if you click into it after making changes in a different control.
  • Fixed a bug where the “Mark As Paid” button was shown on instalments that have been overpaid.
  • Fixed a problem where Google Calendar publishing could stop working after several months.
  • Fixed an obscure bug where editing a record and saving it by clicking a quick query that the edit moves it into selects that record in the records list but not in the detail panel.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented contact photos from being included on the shoot detail printout.
  • Fixed a bug where loading a long list of items, scrolling to the bottom of the list and selecting an item would scroll the list back to the top.

Light Blue 2020.1.2

We’ve just released Light Blue 2020.1.2, which adds more new features and some bug fixes.

You can update to Light Blue 2020.1.2 by using the “Check For Updates” command from within Light Blue. You’ll find that in the Light Blue menu if you’re on a Mac, or in the Help menu if you’re using Windows. You can also download the installer for the latest version of Light Blue by logging into your account on our website.

Here’s a list of the changes that we’ve made in this update:

  • The Outbox search now includes linked shoot titles and contact names in its search criteria.
  • Changed knowledgebase links to point to our new knowledgebase.
  • Added an option to display VAT-exclusive unit prices on a VAT-inclusive invoice.
  • Our tax report now includes tax-exempt items from invoices.
  • Added extra logging to help track down a problem that could prevent a few users from being able to set up Google Calendar publishing.
  • Fixed a problem where using the “Create Enquiry” button from an email or text message in the Inbox wouldn’t automatically set the enquiry date for the shoot that’s created.
  • Fixed a glitch where using the date picker popup in the query dialog would not position the date picker correctly, and cancelling the query dialog while the date picker was open wouldn’t automatically close it.
  • Fixed a problem where using the “Next” and “Previous” buttons in the task dialog wouldn’t load the completed status of the task.
  • Fixed a problem where custom fields that are no longer used could show up as blank items in the export records dialog.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented the status of online bookings from being displayed in the Inbox.
  • Fixed rare crashes that could occur when updating quick query result counts, selecting a custom colour, accepting a payment, or editing automated payment reminders.

Measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your business

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us in a variety of ways. We’re a small company and the whole Light Blue team is either currently or previously a professional photographer, so we understand the difficulties that you are going through at the moment.

Being able to measure the impact that the pandemic has had on your business certainly isn’t something that you will want to do, however it is helpful if you are applying for some sort of financial assistance for your business.

This guide walks through how to get the details that could help you.

Using charts to get an overview

The benefit of managing your business with Light Blue is that your data’s all in one place, so the information that you need is already here. So you won’t need to spend ages analysing complicated spreadsheets to get an idea of where you stand.

The charts view is your friend, and here are a few different charts that you could load with a couple of clicks and then present as necessary evidence if required.

Note that I’ve got “cumulative totals” turned on and I’m comparing this year to previous years (feel free to go as far back as you feel is appropriate).

To change the data that your chart is displaying, just tweak the options at the top of the screen.

Income,

Enquiries by enquiry date,

Bookings

Planning ahead

As well as taking a look at how things have changed for your business this year, it could be useful for you to take a look at the road ahead so you can take appropriate action.

Identifying bookings at risk of postponement due to the latest restrictions

The lockdown restrictions and rules keep on changing, and in the UK we’ve recently been told that the current restrictions are likely to be in place for six months.

If you’re taking payments for sessions that haven’t happened yet but are at risk of cancelling, there’s a possibility that you may find ourself in a position whereby you need to return some of what’s been paid. We’re not in a position to offer legal advice so if you’re ever in doubt about what you should be doing with regards to cancellations, we recommend consulting an independent legal professional.

Creating custom reports in Light Blue can help to provide the necessary figures in order to manage the potential financial exposure to cancelations of future bookings. That’s a three step process:

1) Find the right records

Use the query tool to search for all of your shoots that are booked over the next 6 months (for example, you can choose another period if you wish).

2) View the list

Then view the results in the List View and customise that view (Window > Customise List View) to show the information that you’re most interested in.

3) Save a custom report

Finally, save the query and list view settings as a custom report so you can view the most up to date information again in the future with a few clicks.

Forecasting your potential income

Getting a clear picture of when you’re going to receive income is very important and helpful at the best of times, but during this unprecedented period of uncertainty your businesses ability to forecast its income is essential.

No forecasting model is going to be iron clad, but the ability for you to look ahead will allow you to remove some of the guesswork from this situation and help you to make some informed decisions.

We’ve got an in-depth guide on how to use Light Blue’s quoting tools to forecast your income, which you can read here.

Keeping an eye on your fixed outgoings

The money coming in to your business is just one part of the equation and even with a reduction in work you will still encounter a certain amount of fixed costs necessary for keeping the business going.

We’re doing what we can to help reduce those costs for our customers and we know that many other suppliers to the trade are as well.

If you’ve been recording your businesses expenditure within Light Blue then it’s fairly quick to get a picture of the fixed costs that you’ve incurred this year. It may also be helpful to look at the figures for last year in order to establish a trend.

Using the query tool, search for purchases that haven’t been linked to shoots and also haven’t been categorised in a way that indicates that they’re a cost of sales. The advanced options allow you to be more precise in your search.

Then you can customise the list view to show the columns that are most relevant to you, and group the purchases by year so that you can compare this years fixed costs to those of previous years.

Need more help?

We’re always ready and willing to support our customers if they need help with things like this. Send an email to support@lightbluesoftware.com or schedule a free 1:1 call via the help page.

Continuing our help for subscribers affected by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns are continuing to affect professional photographers in many countries. We’re a small company and the whole Light Blue team is either currently or previously a professional photographer, so we understand the difficulties that you are going through at the moment.

Since March 2020, we’ve been offering to reduce the cost of Light Blue subscriptions by 50% for six months for any of our customers who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. That help is still open to anyone who needs it: if you need assistance but haven’t applied for our offer yet, you can do so by clicking here to log into your account.

We’re still here to help

This is a challenging time for all of us in the photography industry, so we wanted to remind you that we’re here to help you make the most out of Light Blue so that it can support and aid your business.

We’ve been helping business owners to make the most of the opportunities that come along, whether that’s nurturing your existing clients with automated messages, helping postponed shoots to reschedule with our online contract signing service, working out which clients you want to market to when things get back to normal, or using our contact forms and workflows to handle new enquiries. If there’s anything that we can do to help you use Light Blue to its full potential, please get in touch to let us know.

Extended discounts

We hope that your business is starting to recover from the pandemic, but if you’re not yet able to afford your full Light Blue subscription then send us an email and we’ll extend your 50% discount for another three months. We want you to be able to use our tools to bounce back from this!

Spreading the word

We’re a tiny company, so we always appreciate it when customers ask us whether there’s anything that they can do to help us, too.

Telling other photographers about Light Blue and how we’ve helped your business always means a lot to us! If you know anyone who would benefit from using Light Blue, you can use our referral scheme to give them a discount and earn credit towards your own subscription too.