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Start and Grow Your Photography Business

Lesson 10 of 27

How to Leverage Design to Communicate your Brand.

Kevin Kubota

Start and Grow Your Photography Business

Kevin Kubota

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Lesson Info

10. How to Leverage Design to Communicate your Brand.

Lesson Info

How to Leverage Design to Communicate your Brand.

So let's talk about design. Where does design fit in? Design is really the key. We talked about this a little bit earlier, about the top companies and about how important design is. And if you really, really think about it, we always pay more for products that are designed well, no matter how well they work, we pay more, we expect to pay more, when we see beautiful design. Design is something that holds inherent value. And this is really hard because a lot of start up photographers don't wanna spend money on designing good stuff. They don't wanna hire a designer. They think they can do it themselves. Eeek (laughs). Unless you're a great designer, that probably won't do you any good. Because you're gonna have to change it eventually anyway. Alright? There are ways to do it a little cheaper, but, do hire a professional in some fashion. Okay? So, D.I.Y. is not a good look. D.I.Y. lighting on the other hand, is amazing. You should check out my workshop on D.I.Y. lighting on Creative Live n...

ot too long ago. But logos also speak volumes about you. I had, years ago I put an ad on Craigslist when I started to hire employees. We put ads on Craigslist, and I always put my logo because there's an option for employers to put your logo in the ad. And I thought, why would you need to put your logo? I just decided to do it. Put my logo in the ad, and one of my, the woman that I eventually hired, when she got hired I was asking her, so what made you look at this ad and decide you wanted to work here? She goes actually, I didn't really know anything about you, but I liked your logo. (laughs) And I said, I wanna work for that company because I love their logo. Well that's odd, but it actually worked out pretty well because she ended up fitting just perfectly in, she was one of our best long standing employees in the long run. So logo does transmit a message, a very important message about you. Even before anything else you say or do, that logo can say something about you. Okay? You guys familiar with this guy Paul Rand? One of the most famous designers in the world, probably. Arguably. He designed some logos for Apple, not the apple Apple logo, but back in the sixties, it was rumored that he could collect 100,000 dollars per logo. And that he could pick and choose his clients, he would turn people away, like I don't wanna design for you. And basically he was charging 100, for just a single logo. And he wouldn't give variations of it, like some designers do. They'll give you, hey pick one of these five designs I made for you. He's like no. You get, I'm gonna solve your problem, I'm gonna deliver what I think is the best logo for you, it's 100,000 bucks. Bam. So if you can get a hold of him right now, and hire him, you're probably gonna get a pretty amazing logo (laughs). But he's designed some of the most iconic logos, some of these were designed as far back as the sixties, and some of them have been around forever. You know, and still recognizable and in use. But, I love his quote here, "good design adds value of some kind, gives meaning, and not incidentally, can be sheer pleasure to behold." So design adds value. That's what we wanna do with our photography, we need to add value to us, our services. And one of the ways we can do that, even before we snap a single picture, is to make sure that all of our materials are designed in a beautiful way. The best that we can afford to do right now. Alright? Here's another good quote on that. "An effective logo is a reflection of the business it symbolizes... It plays a vital role for building an emotional connection with the viewer." So remember that question earlier? On the ABC thing, do people see your website, they call you, and they're ready to book. Part of that is because, they've seen things like your logo and your images on your website, and they already feel a connection, like yeah, this is the right person for me. Based on what I see. That logo helps to draw, to drive that. So this is our photography logo, and I've had this for quite a few years because I still love it. And this is the one that I had redesigned when I did my key words years ago. And like I said, I hired a woman designer. It's not a picture of me with my camera, there's no aperture in that thing anywhere. (laughs) There's no blades of the iris around anything. It says nothing about photography, does it need to? No. Your logo does not, if you look at those other logos from Paul Rand, a lot of those logos, you look at them, they have nothing to do with the actual product, but they're conveying a feeling, a sense of style, something, confidence, whatever it is. Sometimes they have a little bit of the product tied into it, but not necessarily, not always. And that's one of the biggest mistakes I see in new photographers, is they put a logo, they think it has to be a camera, an aperture, something goofy to do with photography. And honestly, when I see one like that, the first thing I think is amateur. You know, and I think clients who know better, will feel the same. They wanna see just a beautiful symbol that conveys a mood. And that's what I felt, this was sexy, it looks very feminine. Some people say it looks like a tulip, you know. I don't know what it means, the only thing I know about it, is what I gave the designer, I said here are my key words, and she said do you have anything else about you that I can incorporate? And I said well my name, I have a Japanese stamp, my last name in Japanese has a stamp, a Japanese symbol that I use to stamp on my photos with this stamp. I said well here's the stamp that has my Japanese name. So she actually took that, turned it, and kinda evolved that Japanese character into this shape for the logo. At first when I saw it I'm like ooh, that kinda looks feminine. And the girls in my office are like yeah, that's the way it's supposed to be, you know (laughs). They're like, we like it, we like it. I'm like, alright, we're gonna go with it. And then it grew on me, and again, I've had customers who've told me, without asking, hey I love your logo, I really love your logo. I like your logo, my employee did, I joined you because I like your logo. So it does work. Alright, so you look at your logos right now, everybody. In your head or on your marketing materials at home. You guys, at home, pull out your business card, look at your logo, and ask yourself, do I see my keywords? Does this add any value? Does it reek of quality? Does it have any meaning, any emotion? Just the logo all by itself. What does it mean to you? And then more importantly, if you can pass this around to other people and ask them, a lot of times in my longer workshops we'll grab your logos, pass them around, everybody look at it and tell you if they can even remember your logo after passing it around. A lot of times people can't because it's something as plain as just your initials. Which is okay if it turns into a beautiful logo. But it may not be memorable at all, you know? Or it could be a picture of a camera, which they're like I've seen that a million times, it doesn't even stick in my head. So think about that. Is there emotional connection, and is there a feeling behind your logo right now? Okay. Alright, so let's transition here, and we're gonna just talk a little bit about design in general, in your marketing materials. And, the 15 second test, this is the, what we kinda just talked about. Does anybody here have their business cards with them? Okay, you wanna pull one out? We'll just pull one out. This is an unscripted, spontaneous hot seat. I just wanna see this real quick. Oh look at that, he's got a cool shot on there. So, my guess is you don't have a logo? [Student} I don't. Okay. But he does have a cool image on it. Do you wanna hold that steady? Oh yeah, I do. (audience laughing) Okay? So, this is great. I mean you've got a cool image, it's clean, it's simple. Old people appreciate text that you can read. (laughs) I think it would be way more powerful with a nice, clean logo because I can imagine already what your keywords would be if your imagery is generally like this, which is very very clean and cool and kinda, it's kinda stylistic in a sense, you know, I'd love to see, do a keyword exercise on you as well and come up with a logo. But man, if you had a really tight logo on this thing, that's all you need to add to it, but I love that it's simple. You don't have a lot of bull on here. Good clean image, just needs a powerful logo to brand you, because you need to brand your name, your Pete Hopkins name in some way and brand you, and then, you're a designer brand already, you know? The card is a good quality, it's got a nice heavy feel, gloss coat on it. This is a thick card, this is like one of those ninja throwing cards, you could put somebody's eye out with this thing. Bam! So this is good, it's a good weapon, it's a good card (laughs). It's good for picking your teeth. (audience laughs) So you're on the right track, I would love to see a logo, you know. And whatever your decision was to not have one, I don't know, maybe you've got a better one. But I would love to see a really cool designed logo, and that's all you would need to make this, like I'd hire you if you had a logo. I'd still pry hire you anyway. But, you know. That's for you. Thank you, okay. I'll give you a call when I need my head shot. Alright, so does that make sense guys? Logo is important, okay? When you're starting out, most photographers don't put a lot of thought and energy into that because it's too expensive to have a designer design a logo, and you're thinking like, why should that matter? It's my images that matter. Yes and no. There's more than your images, it's your whole brand. You are a brand, you're selling you. Not just what you take, alright? Keep that in mind.

Class Description

It’s important to plant the seeds to grow your photography business the right way. Whether you are transitioning from a hobbyist to a professional, or have already launched your new business and don’t know what to do next, Kevin Kubota will show you the key and essential steps to getting your business growing in the right direction. You’ll learn who you are as a photographer and how to position, brand, and market yourself to the perfect clientele. 

Kevin will show you:
  • How best to brand yourself to attract clientele that hire you for you 
  • Pricing and packaging strategies to maximize your sales 
  • How to perfect your sales techniques without being pushy 
It’s time to start or build up a photography business that will allow you to be creative and make money at the same time. Kevin will help you achieve that goal.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Branding Statement

Contract Do's & Dont's

Evaluate your Business

Keyword Exercise

Points of Contact

Sample Portrait Session Contract

Startup Checklist

Photography Pricing Calculator

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Lauren Scott

Super great class. I've been in business full-time for 5 years, and I'm just now starting to get my "act together" I have spent so much time shooting, it has taken away from the business aspect and actually identifying myself as a brand, this was a good way to get the basics, learn, lots of good info. NOT boring at all, he is super funny and super personable, not pretentious and speaks to you in a way thats easy to understand... sometimes I feel like entrepreneurs come off a bit "nose-in-the-air" with all these terms myself as a creative cannot understand... but not with Kevin, down to earth funny guy! I also emailed him with a few questions and he was so kind to email be back right away! Thanks Kevin and thanks creative live! Bring him back!

KIS Photography

This was an amazing class to be a part of! I knew it would be good, from watching Kevin Kubota's previous Creative Live classes, and this course far exceeded my expectations! Kevin is a fantastic teacher, giving sound advice, presented clearly, with a down to earth, caring & humorous touch! I've watched it over on the replay, picking up on more things each time. This class will help me to get my photography business off on the right start, and I am looking forward to implementing all of his fantastic advice! Thank you Kevin & Creative Live!