The Story Behind My Photography Branding
My photography branding has landed me a lot of compliments as well as a few questions, so I thought I’d take 5 minutes to tell you the story of how an old Olympus film photography lens inspired the logo you see on my marketing materials…
Photography Branding – Important Considerations
Photography branding is an important part of setting up a new business. It’s the logo that goes on all of your marketing materials, as well as the design of those materials themselves. And photographers need to have a lot of marketing materials across both digital and print platforms. We have websites, social media profiles, blogs, printed portfolios, business cards, postcards, mailer packs, and letterheads. Not to mention needing photography branding for all our client records – quotes, licences, invoices, and so on. I partner with Moo for the production of a lot of my print marketing – from the Luxe business cards you see at the start of this post, to my postcards, notecards, and letterheads. They’re excellent quality and always help me be remembered when I give them to potential clients. They start conversations, as clients ask how I got them made. And when we get on to the story behind my logo, it becomes really clear just how much I love photography and value the highest quality in print.
The Problem With Photography Logos
Let’s be honest here, a lot of photography branding logos look the same. That isn’t great if you want to stand out. Also, it looks uncreative when everyone is running around with “photography” in their business name and a picture of a camera for their logo. It’s like – come on, we get the picture already (pun intended)! I mean, all you need to do is type “photography logos” into Google Images to get a selection something like this:
Spot the recurrent themes?
Yep, that’s a lot of photography businesses using the shape of a camera or the aperture leaves inside the lens as the most prominent visual component of their photography branding! I knew I wanted to avoid getting lost among a crowd of photographers with very similar business logos.
There’s a reason why so many photography companies opt to use these themes for their photography branding – it makes it really clear what you do. But look again at those logos and you’ll see that a lot of the companies also have “photography” as part of their business name. Overkill? Possibly. Either way, I knew my logo would benefit from being connected to photography but would need to stand out as distinctive. So camera shapes and aperture leaves were definitely not options I’d be considering.
My Photography Logo Design
For my photography business branding logo I wanted something that related to photography or to my personality. But I didn’t want it to look like a million other photography branding logos I’d seen. I had a few ideas, but I knew converting them into a final design required special skills. So I hooked up with the excellent team of graphic designers at Kudu Deign who specialise in creative branding to develop my ideas into a professional logo.
My ideas were based around wanting the logo to relate to photography enough to make sense, without being really obvious. I love working with film photography despite learning in the digital photography age. So I took inspiration from the lens markings that were ubiquitous in the film photography age, but are becoming less common with the rise of digital photography. I figured this would make sense to other photographers and creatives, without being really common. I also thought it could work well as a graphic design incorporated into my logo. But, beyond that, I didn’t have too many ideas about how to actually make it work.
One thing I was certain about was that the lens marking had to come from a camera company I used, or planned to use. So part of my collaboration with Ben from Kudu involved sending him images of lens markings from the various cameras I worked with. He developed these into sketch logos for me, and we came to the conclusion that the Olympus lens markings made for the best fit. It was rather serendipitous, really. The Olympus lenses have markings for the numbers 8 and 4, which both feature in my business name. This wasn’t planned but it was great for helping tell my story – the first film camera I owned was an Olympus OM2. I was really engaged by the idea that the lens marking we referenced would come from Leica, Nikon, or Olympus, as these were the companies whose cameras helped me learn photography.
As you can see, my logo modifies the Olympus lens markings, to better fit with my business name. But the influence is still there. It tells the story of my history in photography in an authentic way. Many creatives make the connection about my logo being inspired by lens markings, but they don’t guess the connection with Olympus specifically.
However, when they ask about the logo we get into the story of how I began photographing and my passion for photography naturally comes out. I was unemployed and broke, and a friend sent me a spare old Olympus OM2 he had lying around along with some film for it. That camera taught me the basics of exposure, composition, and processing images. And it helped me to cope during a very dark time in my life. From there, I progressed to working with Olympus, Nikon, and Leica digital cameras, but I still go back to film whenever I can. I even built a small pinhole camera for fun!
Kudu Design also searched for distinctive fonts that would fit with my photography branding ideas, and we settled on the one you see in my logo. There’s an example of the lower case lettering below the logos. I use that in my photography branding when I’m producing business cards, promotional packages, and for my printed portfolio.
Are there any downsides to this photography branding? Yes. My logo isn’t the easiest thing to transpose to a square format. And, with social media being an important channel for all businesses today, this is a problem. Most social media platforms use a square format for profile pictures. We’re working on that one.