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Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
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Today’s episode has been a long time in the making. I’m so excited to welcome my dear friend and first hire in my business, Molly Pierce from Mollybcreative. Molly wears many, many hats. She is a wedding videographer, brand designer and started out her business as a Virtual Assistant. I just adore her! We’ve become such great friends over the past two and a half years. I want to tell you just a little bit about her before we dive into our conversation about branding.
Molly is an enneagram 2, a brand designer and graphic designer. She lives in Montana with a love of her life and her golden retriever, Nelson. You can catch her watching reality TV sipping on an oat milk latte. And of course snuggling that beautiful golden retriever and making hilarious reels with him as well. I’m so excited to welcome Molly to the show.
Molly: My name is Molly and Brooke told me before we started that I needed to not leave anything out because I am a multi passionate entrepreneur. I tend to simplify things for people, but I’ll just tell you everything that I do. I am a graphic and brand designer at Mollybcreative. And then on top of that I am a wedding videographer in my state of Montana and am also Podcast Producer, which falls underneath Mollybcreative, so I do all the things. I love stress and hate sleep, obviously.
Brooke: Isn’t that the truth?! Today, I wanted to specially chat with Molly about what branding means for photographers. Also, by now you’ve probably already heard the spiel that I am redoing and revamping the blueprint program. We are going to be doing a 12 week walk along course going week by week through all of these lessons and doing a deep dive. One of the very first things we’re going to be tackling is branding and messaging. I was telling Molly earlier, that branding and messaging very much are like peanut butter and jelly, you can’t have one without the other, because you can’t create a brand if you don’t know who you’re speaking to.
I’m excited because Molly’s really gonna dive into why branding is important, why it’s not just a logo or the visual aspects, but really, what branding means and how you can infuse it into your business. Then, I will do a deeper dive for those of you that join us in the blueprint, where we’re going to combine that with your messaging, so you are standing out and talking to your right fit clients.
Molly, let me just start off with this: What is branding to a photographer? What does it even mean? And why should we even care about branding?
Molly: Often times when I begin working with new clients, they think they need a brand and their mind immediately goes to their logo and all the visual aspects. While those things are really, really important whenever you’re a photographer, a strong brand starts with you. It’s not about the logo or the visual elements. It’s your client process, your client experience and how you present yourself as the business owner and photographer. Your personality is going to play a very significant role in attracting your dream clients. You’re the one that’s going to be spending time with them, so you want to connect with them on like a personal level.
Your brand, as a photography business, lets your clients get to know you before they even reach out to you. Branding lets them know what it’s like to work with you. It gives you an opportunity to put a lot of information on your website and tell your story using social media to connect with them. Also, it really attracts your dream clients and allows them the opportunity to connect with you and your personal brand through your personality.
Brooke: I love it! I’m often asked what helps photographers stand out above others, especially in a social media online presence. What makes you say: “Oh, my gosh, I love that photographer. I actually wish I could hire her one day.”
Molly: As a photographer, the most obvious thing that sets you apart is your photographic style. This identifies whether you are light and moody, light and airy or warm and cozy. That aspect is going to speak a lot to your brand in itself.
The other one is my favorite example that I really think helps to separate what you like and what your ideal clients like is your studio environment. Even if you don’t have a studio, this applies to you. This is the way that you present yourself. What would your studio look like? It should be a reflection of your personality and style. How does it make them feel? If you are wanting a very high end, elevated experience, it’s going to have white couches and black and white decorations. You’re even going to be served a glass of wine. If you are more of the cozy relaxed photographer, your studio would have leather couches, a fur rug and lots of throw pillows. Think of yourself as the studio.
Your client experience is a huge, important piece of your brand that you cannot forget. It’s what gets your clients talking about you good or bad. If they have a bad experience, they’re definitely gonna talk about it, but you want to make sure that it’s a good experience. In your industry, the customer service you provide is such a huge aspect of how your business is perceived and valued. If you are sending out a style guide versus just telling them, you’re showing them that you care and that putting in those extra steps is a part of your brand, even if it has nothing to do with your logo or your colors. It also has to do with your cohesive marketing identity.
Brooke: They’re basically there are a ton of ways to help us stand out. When it comes to branding, everything works together. Your client experience, messaging and pricing are all elements of branding. A cohesive brand is what we’re going for, right?
Molly: Exactly! One of the big things to keep in mind when you’re doing all of those things is that it’s not about you. Even though you’re your brand is you unless you’re your ideal client, of course, but you are making all these things attractive to your ideal client. If your ideal client shops at Target, doesn’t mind a beer on the weekends and loves barbecues, then you are not going to sell them that elevated white couch experience. They don’t want that.
Brooke: That’s good! I just love branding. There are so many branches on this one tree. This is one of the main things I help people figure out inside of the blueprint program, so that’s another reason to go save your seat. Doors are open now.
I also want to I want to go back to some of the branding pieces that we previously talked about. What are two areas of the client journey where you feel like it would be helpful to infuse some branding and personality to give a heightened client experience?
Molly: The reason I am fully booked for 2021 is, because my investment guide has made the biggest difference. It is one of my favorite things to design for my branding clients, especially photographers. You guys have so many pictures to implement, so use them. It’s not just about words! Add pictures of people having fun or a dad laughing at a client session. Also, add the details like how much fun it is to work together and show them exactly how much fun it is to work together.
Looking at an investment guide with information on what it’s like to work with you and having that all be cohesive and attractive is going to make them not only like want to work with you, but need to work with you. They’re gonna be like, I don’t want anybody else doing my pictures, because this woman is speaking to me. That’s exactly what you want to come across in your information guide! This will help you book those higher packages.
Brooke: If you tuned in to the podcast episode where we talked about pricing tips to implement, you’ll remember that one of those was an investment guide. Why? Because that is the first time that you get to truly welcome your potential clients into your experience. Using a strategically designed investment guide is way better than a copy and pasting your prices.
I actually have two investment guides live in my shop now. They both show your images and tell a little bit about you. They show off testimonials of people that have already used you. Plus, they walk clients through the options for working with you.
I have a couple more questions for you about branding. We know the importance and we’ve walked through different elements. People either are like, yes, I’m spot on, I know who I am and I have a brand. Then you’ve got some who feel like they’re mediocre, but really want to up level their brand. Next, you’ve got those photographers that are brand new. They’re like, “What the What?! I have to spend more money? and do more effort and do what right? Where do I even start? The first question for you is, where does someone even starts? What does that look like?
Molly: There are a few levels. If you are one of those people who doesn’t want to spend any more money on top of what you already invested in the blueprint class. I know the value of branding, but I just don’t have the money. If that is you, then I would recommend going on to Canva color palette generator, finding your color palette based on your photography style, choosing a color palette, pick out some fonts and then stick to them. Do not waver from that color palette and those fonts. Make that your brand until you can afford something else.
The next thing is buying a brand kit template. These are the next best thing to a custom branding. These are going to be fully custom brand kits that I’m only selling for $10 off. It’s not quite a full branding package for custom branding package, but it will get you there. It includes a color palette, logo, alternate logos, and tutorials showing how to do it yourself.
Brooke: I love that! Y’all are going to want to run fast when Molly starts releasing these brand kits! The visual aspects and the messaging of what you’re saying how you get there, how you figure out who you’re serving, that comes through the messaging clarity workshop, and that’s what we’re going to be doing inside of the blueprint program. Like the very first lesson we do the first week of February.
Molly: It’s not just buying the brand kit, it’s how you implement it. The same is true with custom design. The good thing about a custom design, especially when you work with me, I give you like a guide on how to implement it. Whereas the brand kit, you kind of have to do it yourself. It’s so worth it. I can guarantee you that as long as you implement it right, your investment will far exceed what you put into it.
Brooke: I feel like there’s different levels to running your business. Sometimes narrowing your editing style is just as hard as narrowing your branding. I will be totally honest, the sooner that you brand, the better. That’s actually a question that I’m going to hand off to you. When someone needs to work on branding themselves at what stage in their business is branding where their focus should be?
Molly: Oh, this is hard, because my piece of advice would be to do it as soon as possible. Reap the benefits of it as soon as possible, because it has such a high payoff. As a brand designer, you always say I can do my branding myself, but I actually hired a website designer for my website. Now, it looks so good and professional. It was so much easier and stress free.
Having a cohesive brand will impact every part of your business. If you don’t have that, the sooner you do that the sooner you’re going to start showing up cohesively on everything from your website to the graphic that you’re promoting.
Brooke: Oh my gosh, I love it. Okay, well, this has been jam packed with really decent perspective and lots of visuals, which I think is so important when it comes to branding and messaging. It’s about giving a visual where a photographer can understand what you’re talking about when it’s not something we’re used to. Honestly, I don’t think we talk about branding nearly enough at all. Thank you for all of your golden tips! Where can people can find you on social media and look at your branding.
Brooke: Yay, I’m so excited. Thank you so much for sharing today! This is awesome!
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