Your Brand Doesn’t Have to be Boring (And it Probably Shouldn’t Be)

by | Aug 29, 2023 | Brand Photography, Business, Sessions

Brand Photography for your Business is based on your… well, your brand.

So you need UNIQUE business branding as a baseline.

Which means that when we approach getting photos to use to promote your business, we’re going to need a few things outlined first. If you’ve worked with a brand designer and you’ve already got those things (we’re talking logo, color palette, fonts – that sort of thing!) then maybe stop reading. Or don’t, because honestly this might change your perspective on the branding you’re using for your business right now! Not that I’m trying to open a can of worms or anything, but… *please imagine the sound of a can opening.*

Anything customer facing involves your branding.

Hot take, anything customer facing involves your branding. Whether that’s written, or visual, or you made it in Canva, or you took a picture on your phone and uploaded it to a story on Instagram really quickly because you didn’t have a ton of time and you’re working on doing things messy. (If the latter is the case: hell yeah, you go make cool things happen!!) But no matter what, those customer-facing things? They’re your brand. Whether you’re consistent in implementing them, or not. 

Even if the thing doesn’t specifically have your logo on it. Whether you HAVE a logo or not. If you have a business, you have a brand.

Now that that’s out of the way: we can talk about what we’re REALLY here for today.

Neutral branding is trendy, sure.

And I get how difficult it can be to choose unique branding for your business.

When you chose the branding you were going to use for your business, you had a ton of options. Or maybe you haven’t done that yet, and you’re currently in the “wading through a million designer’s portfolios” stage (been there, I don’t envy you.) But the point is, you had choices. One of those choices is DIY – and there’s everything between that and hiring an agency available to you. At your fingertips.

That’s ALSO the case when it comes to the actual colors and cool shit that make up your brand. You have choices. An endless, open sea of choices. So you know what’s super tempting? Going and looking at trends, and picking a few trendy matching colors, and trendy matching fonts, throwing them into Canva, and calling it a day.

And depending on your industry, when you did that, you probably found a LOT of neutral tones. Like. A LOT of them. Beige, and brown, and tan… EVERYwhere. And yeah, it’s trendy. Yes, sometimes it does look and feel classic. And if that’s what you’re going for, then kudos to you! You’ve found your vibe. But… if you’re still in formulation stages with your branding and you’re looking at these neutral trendy tones and thinking “I guess I will if I have to” – pause. Breathe. And keep reading.

Not everyone’s style is neutral though!

Neutrals are trendy. But they’re only going to work for your business if they line up with YOU. If you own a yoga studio and you want the vibes to be calm, and you yourself are someone who brings relaxing energy to sessions, then sure, go for some neutral tones. But if that’s NOT the style you’re going to bring to your studio?

Neutral tones aren’t going to jive with your space. It’ll seem super weird if you’ve got a neutral AF brand, and actually your approach to yoga is energetic with tons of movement and actually you want people to break a sweat. (I’m really stretching my knowledge of yoga here, but you get my point, right?) And if you’re a fellow photographer (hi there!) and your work is vibrant and bright, then it’s going to straight up clash with a neutral brand. It is a MYTH that neutrals go with everything. They DON’T, and no one will change my mind!

You’re going to build a stronger business if you lean into who YOU are

Your brand helps you get in front of the people who care about who you are, and what you do. Whether you have a fashion line, own a handmade soap shop, or train dogs. And if you plan on working within your business directly with people (like I do) then you want your brand to set the stage. Mine is fun, and energetic, and vibrant – because so am I. I’m a little chaotic, in a good way. I don’t expect perfection out of myself, because that’s an unreasonable expectation.

And when I’m working with families, I don’t expect perfection out of them either. I’m here to capture imperfect moments. Messy ones. Chaotic ones. Chaotic perfectly imperfect connection between perfectly imperfect people just being who they are. And I like to think that those vibes are encapsulated in my brand.

There’s a reason that mine is colorful. Because I personally am a colorful creature.

And leaning into that as a strength? It’s HUGE. It helps to create a cohesive experience for my clients

Jessica Strobel having fun at her branding photoshoot in Minneapolis

You’re going to build a stronger business if you lean into who YOU are

Your brand helps you get in front of the people who care about who you are, and what you do. Whether you have a fashion line, own a handmade soap shop, or train dogs. And if you plan on working within your business directly with people (like I do) then you want your brand to set the stage. Mine is fun, and energetic, and vibrant – because so am I. I’m a little chaotic, in a good way. I don’t expect perfection out of myself, because that’s an unreasonable expectation.

And when I’m working with families, I don’t expect perfection out of them either. I’m here to capture imperfect moments. Messy ones. Chaotic ones. Chaotic perfectly imperfect connection between perfectly imperfect people just being who they are. And I like to think that those vibes are encapsulated in my brand.

There’s a reason that mine is colorful. Because I personally am a colorful creature.

And leaning into that as a strength? It’s HUGE. It helps to create a cohesive experience for my clients.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, this logic ALWAYS applies.

I don’t care what you do. Well, that’s kind of a lie. I do care what you do, but it doesn’t make any difference in this advice. Leaning into who you are to represent your brand matters whether you’re a chef or a spin class instructor. Whether you own a gym or a law firm. (And yes, there ARE ways to use bright colors and warmth for a law firm without seeming too casual for the industry.)

How does this apply to your photos?

Here’s the thing about branding images for your business. When we capture them, you’re gonna be IN them. You. And if you’re not a neutral person, but your branding is neutral, that’s absolutely going to show. Can you say “cognitive dissonance”? Because I can. And we definitely don’t want THAT kind of a vibe in your photos. We want your branding images to feel cohesive, and communicative, and real. We want them to create connection between you, and your potential customers. Whether you’re using them on social media, in your physical marketing, or on your website.

And if you’re not a neutral-style person but you’ve stuck yourself into a neutral brand because it was trendy… square peg, meet round hole.

a brightly dressed woman smiling, posed in front of a colorful mural in Minneapolis MN

Trends are short-lived, but who you are? That’s forever.

Basing the branding for your business on what’s trending now is tempting. And while every trend does eventually come back around (which we’ve ALL seen with bell bottom jeans… I’m sorry, we all know what “flare leg” means, guys) you want your brand to be forever. You don’t want to base it on a trend that’s going to change in six months or a year – or less.

And basing your branding on the energy that you bring to your work? That’s not going to change. It might evolve, but the core of it will still be there. And that makes for branding (and brand photography) that you can use consistently long term, instead of having to shake things up. We don’t want your branding to go the way of bell-bottom denim (even if they ARE back again, for the time being!)

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