Chapter 1: Logo Design
Your logo is not your brand, but it is a visual representation of your brand. And as such it should add to the general feeling you want your clients to have every time they see it, and it should be consistent throughout everything you use to communicate with them, right from your website, your social media accounts, your invoices, your packaging, the way you dress, and even down to your office or the room where you do your work on a daily basis.
Earlier you settled on your 3 Branding Words, and you should do whatever you can to surround yourself with anything that makes you feel that way, you should embody those words. If you don’t, I will go ahead and argue that you need to rethink the situation and come up with new branding words. If your brand is not authentic, it will become apparent at one point or another during your clients’ relationship with you.
Have a look at these logos below from six very different but all very succesful photographers. In all four cases you get an instant and clear impression of who they are and what kind of experience you can expect from them. All six photography brands are extremely professional and high quality but they attract very different clients.
KT and her second shooter husband, Chad, shoots film. Her overall aesthetic is elegant, romantic, and fine art with a clear infusion of her background in fashion photography. Her photographs are full of light, and neutral colour tones. Her logo is simple and modern. I had the pleasure of meeting the couple in person a few years ago, over the course of three days, and they embody their brand completely: well-mannered and helpful, professional and confident, and impeccably dressed in every situation.
Isabelle also shoots film but her logo clearly communicates her bohemian spirit with its soft grey watercolour texture. A few years ago my family and I had the immense pleasure of being in front of her camera ourselves, and she too personified her brand with both personality and style/attire. The transition from her online world/her website to being with her in real life was seamless and natural.
Nordica’s logo has a distinctly masculine feel which makes sense since Nordica consists of two extremely talented guys. All in all, these guys speak to a very modern no-fuss client whose main focus photography-wise is nature, connection and story-telling, not earrings or table decor. They knew from the beginning how to stand out by going in the completely opposite direction when the rest of the wedding industry got pre-occupied with the soft dreaminess of film photography, designer shoes and all things "pretty". Instead they spoke directly to a different kind of couple with their old front page line "Not just another pretty dress. Your wedding is a personal story that we are there to document". One of the things I admire most about Jakob and Cole is how they figured out from the very beginning how their name Nordica could tap into a broader trend just emerging: the world's growing fascination with the Nordic countries; especially, but not limited to, us being the happiest people in the world, Nordic Noir tv shows being hugely popular abroad, Scandinavian design, Nordic cuisine and the rise of Noma. And they were among a select few photographers who put first Iceland and later Lofoten islands in Norway on the map as top elopement destinations. But it is not just a marketing trick. Since Jakob is Swedish and the guys met while studying in Sweden, the name is just as personal as it was trending.
There is alot to learn from these two photographers who have seemed unwavering in their approach, style and ideal client type from day one.
Also a very simple logo, but with a lovely naive ’feel’ with the uneven organic handlettered text. Rylee’s brand is all about beauty, innocence, purity, simplicity and a very muted colour scheme. She attracts a very sensitive client, who values art and wants an intimate peaceful wedding day. And when you actually see her, hear her talk, watch her move, you realise that her website is the perfect online extension of her.
Nirav's photography is held in high esteem by every photographer I know, myself included. It is SO beautiful and has an enticing mystical feel that makes you feel like you've stepped into a unique parallel universe, all of which is perfectly reflected in his logo illustration.
India's logo reflects both the prevailing colours of her images as well as the landscape in which she works the most, the deserts and mountains of Utah. The style of the botanical illustrations also underlines both her own down-to-earth free-spirited modern "hippie" look and personality as well as her typical clients'. You instantly know that you can relax in her company and in front of her camera, that there is no need for pretense.
I have changed my logo several times over the years. But if you are at all able to choose one that both feels like you and also has a certain timeless quality so you won't have to change it too often, that will be very helpful to the familiarity of your brand. Brand recognition is huge in building trust with your clients. If you change your logo or the visual appearance of your brand every season there is a big risk of you confusing your past clients and the people they refer to you. And as we have been through before: A confused mind almost always says no.
There are several ways to get a good logo, and I think I have tried them all by now.
This beautiful elegant one was handmade for me by the lovely Brittany Watson Jepson for my first big re-branding. Up until this point I had just used a regular font (and changed it 10 times) and it was the first time I invested in a custom logo. This hand drawn gold logo did wonders for my ability to appeal to the high-end, elegant, detail oriented bride I was pursuing at the time.
After my big break down where I decided it was time for a completely different direction and I felt compelled to finally embrace the fact that I was a nature loving, boot wearing country girl, my dear friend and designer, Anne Løvenskjold, made this beautiful modern logo for me inspired by my favourite plant, the fern. And we added a by-line to emphasise what I was all about, which also worked as a constant reminder to myself to keep moving as far away as possible from the high end Copenhagen wedding industry.
Eventually I felt like I needed something a little softer for my wedding site but that still conveyed my love for the natural world, so I changed that to this customised logo from Etsy designer Stylish Creative:
When you're first starting out there are easy and affordable ways to get a beautiful logo quickly. Pre-made customisable logos on Etsy or Creative Market are an excellent option. I would suggest that you wait to pay a designer for a personal logo until you have a good sense of who you are as a photographer. But once you do, I also wouldn't hesitate to invest in the process of working with a pro designer who can bring it to life.
If you don't have a logo yet or feel that your current one is not accurately reflecting you, pull out your work sheet from the Know Yourself chapter and take note of anything in what you scribbled down that can be translated visually, especially the parts about colours, objects, and attractions.
Decide whether to look for a customisable pre-made logo to save money or whether it is time to buckle down and invest in a creative collaboration with a pro designer to create an entirely one-of-a-kind logo for yourself.
If the former, hop on to Etsy, Pinterest, or Creative Market and get searching.
If the latter, start searching for designers online to find someone who can bring your vision to life.
You can find resources and links for both scenarios in the Resources chapter at the end of this module.