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The Importance of a Solid Brand System

Lesson 22 from: Studio Systems: A Photography Business Bootcamp

Julia Kelleher

The Importance of a Solid Brand System

Lesson 22 from: Studio Systems: A Photography Business Bootcamp

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

22. The Importance of a Solid Brand System


Class Trailer

Free Bootcamp Introduction


Introduction to Studio Systems Bootcamp Part 1


Introduction to Studio Systems Bootcamp Part 2


Photography Studio Customer Service


Customer Service Part 1


Customer Service Part 2


Customer Service Best Practices: On–Location


The Customer Experience: Client P.O.V. Studio Walk-Through & Session: On–Location


Photo Session Systems & Image Workflow Systems


Photography Session Systems


The Studio as a System to Success: On–Location


Image Workflow—From Camera to Client


Post-Processing Systems


Back-Up Systems


Sales & Ordering Workflow Systems


Overview of Successful Selling: The 6 Ps of Selling Part 1


The 6 Ps of Selling Part 2


The 6 Ps of Selling Part 3


Real Life Sales Consult: On–Location


Tracking and Packing an Order: On–Location


Dealing With Client Objections & Problem Personalities, with Consistency


Pricing & Financial Systems


Financial Tracking—The Power of Knowing Your Numbers


The Science of Pricing-—A System for Your Products


Building Packages That Work


Your First Outsource: Accounting: On–Location


Marketing, Branding & Promotional Systems


The Importance of a Solid Brand System


Living Your Brand: Inside the Studio: On–Location


Researching Your Market


Marketing Systems


Understanding Buying "triggers" and Using them in Your System of Promotion


What We've Covered: Getting Systems Right


Why Systems Are Important - and How They Help


What's Your Plan - Let's Talk 5 Years Ahead


What's Important - Let's Prioritize


Where do you start? - Dealing with the Demon Inside


Looking In the Mirror: Finding Success


The Power of Never Giving Up


Getting Back to Your Purpose - Why Do You Do What You Do?


Introducing the BIG WINNER!


Lesson Info

The Importance of a Solid Brand System

I want you to think of your brand as the backbone of your business the absolute backbone of your business it is the foundation for your house if you do not have a strong brand, you have a very weak business a business that may bring clients in the door but it won't keep them a business that won't grow a business that won't get status in its community it will constantly struggle without a solid brand. I want you to think of your brand as the personality of your business, okay? I mean think about well let's compare this to people right? If you have no personality, you're kind of boring, aren't you? I mean, you know, people with no personality, right? They just kind of like you don't really want to hang out with them they're hard to talk, teo you know, they just aren't very fun people to be around right now still attract some friends here and there, but if they don't have a good giving loving personality and you don't want to hang out with them, you're not going to stay there friend for v...

ery long, right it's a similar analogy to being a brand in your business obviously I'm taking it to extremes, but I'm trying to see help you see things from a different perspective but really the best way to resonate your brand with the market is to become a reflection of its ideal self what does that mean? Tommy walker said that and I want to analyze that question or that's comment a little bit the best way to resonate your brand with the market is to become a reflection of its ideal self so a client who thinks of themselves as this ideal person or ideal concept as a brand you should reflect that concept back to them does that make sense kind of really good brand attract clients who matched them that's really what it comes down to so like someone you guys know ari I are it might be just a west coast thing or a northwest is ari I across the country? Sorry I okay outdoor equipment and supplies sportsmen it's not like a sportster is different than a sports store, right? It's not like dicks sporting goods aria is like high end outdoor adventure gear. Yeah, the north strum of camping basically or the north crumb of adventure outdoor life it's basically about ice climbing mountain climbing white water kayaking I mean it's about fun outdoor living on a very grand scale. It attracts a very certain ideal self ideal client and that's what? I mean, when I talk about brandon you want to attract you want your brand to attract its ideal client okay a brand it's comprised of three things the businesses personality, its visual style and its moral promise okay, and today at first we're going to talk about its personality were to start there, but before we do this I want you to know that in the homework there is a branding checklist that's going to become your homework later today and I want you to have a look at it and kind of go through it with me as we go through the course especially those folks of you who are online and can readily print this stuff okay? It will help you get a grasp on the topics we're going to cover today so first let's get into personality personality is just what it sounds like, right? It is an emotional connection to the brand, the moral values of the business and its purpose for being it's why if your brand you were a person okay, what would he or she be like what's important to them? And when we get into market research this week you're going to be asking these same questions about your ideal client okay, so the two are going to really mirror one another? How does this personality your brand interact with the world around them? Who is your brand speaking tio would your typical customer I want to be friends with your brand? Think about that so if your brand doesn't feel strong like it khun do all these things not only doesn't do it but can it do it can it make friends doesn't have something important to it does your brand have a have a I have something of value our moral that's important to it this is where purpose comes into play remember how we talked so much about purpose you can emanate your purpose from your brand and when you do that you improve the overall quality of your brand tenfold because you have a why people don't buy what you do they buy why you do it okay your brand has to emit that moral value that why ok is your brand speaking to someone specific or is it just kind of talking to the crowd? What would you do it your typical customer want to be friends with your brand are you friend I mean is your brand worthy of being a friend? Is it put together enough that it's worthy of being a friend I guess is what I'm asking as artists the nice thing is that we can use their own personality to convey the persona of our brand because we put our heart and soul into our art right that heart and soul is who we are that reflects in the style of work we produce which helps in turn to reflect the brand of who our businesses are. So as artists we have the advantage of being able to use our own personalities and who we are as people to help us to find our brand if we want teo now a company like ari, I can't do that. The ceo of the company and the border directors can't look at their own personalities and go okay, let's make that our guy it doesn't quite work, ari. I has its own personality as a company, its own brand it's a little different it's selling its retail it's selling a tangible good. Okay, so it's a little different of a perspective with artistry we're selling ourselves so the brand and ourself are very they have a symbiotic relationship. So think about what the personality is in your business. Okay, what is your personality like? Then? Of course, we're going to go into visual style. Ah, brand also has tohave a visual component to it. Sarah petty said, you cannot brought us to a strong brand on a week identity and she told me this years ago in some cds that she had and it has stuck with me ever since. You cannot build a strong brand on a week identity. What does that mean? It means you have to know who you are in order to build a solid brand. Now with a company like ari I they just have to know what the company stands for and who the company is, not who the people running it are right with us as artists we have to dig deep into ourselves and understand exactly who we are as people in order to communicate our identity to the world okay, the identity involves everything from personality, visual style and moral promise so many photographers think the logo is the identity it's a teeny tiny little fraction t detain tangle fraction the logo is the face if the eyes the nose in the mouth of the company there's a head there's shoulders there's like there's arms there's hair there's a soul is a personality that everything associated with the business not just this part here now the things you don't want to be going to changing this everything you know, thirty days or every year even imagine if you had plastic surgery every year people your friends wouldn't trust you were squat they'd be like what happened to you? You know, remember the old renee zellweger thing? She had some we're not sure what happened, but something happens right? And we don't really believe it's her, do we? Miriam I feel bad I'm like I'm sorry rene if you're watching, I doubt it, but I'm sorry if you're watching, but we you know that it messes with her identity, doesn't it so it's very important, especially with companies to be very selective on when you change the logo and you are going to learn here that I just did okay and there is a strong reason for doing so and it was one that was extremely calculated and the decision was made over a two year process to do so it was not done on a whim so companies can rebrand but you want to be very very careful when you do so on the on ly thing I changed was my logo we just still face lift that's it ok so you're visible style is both your photography style and your collateral identity what is collateral yeah that's the stuff all this stuff here you're marking materials so but it also comprises your photography style how you shoot what colors you choose how you compose things textures how you process your images the visual look of your images is your photography stop make sense so that and your collateral but your collateral doesn't just include the paper products you create that educate clients it also means your website it also means your space how does it look how does it feel it also means what car you drive if you're cliff you're logo's on the side of your car if you drive a yugo versus a cadillac escalade you're going to leave a different impression right what I don't have my logo on my car my little old lincoln just doesn't quite cut it okay when it comes to your photography style to find your identity and your brand you really have to first find that style okay this is the hardest thing for photographers to dio, especially when they're starting out because they want to try so many things understandably and you better do that you need to do that you have to experiment to figure out what it is you truly love to dio how on earth will you know unless you try it so you need to do that go through that process but along that way you need to figure out what I love to shoot how doe I love to shoot it why do I love to shoot it and try to focus that down to one or two things? If you can some folks love to be generalists and do everything there was a quote holly a remnant set it because if you try to be everyone's photographer you end up being no one's first choice and how right that iss for the generalists in my town if they you know I knew someone who needs a new born baby photographed I'm the only one who niches in newborns in my market so people are going to call me first because I'm the expert in the field, okay? They'll call others in the market second, if they decide not to go with me for a myriad of reasons he will be if you try to be everyone's photographer, you will end up ing no one's first choice so that's, why I really believe in the power of knee shing however, I say that with a caveat. If you are in a teeny tiny little podunk town, u s a or wherever and there is not enough of your niche to support your business in your market, then you have to do more than one or two genres, right? Two thousand people in your town and there's only three babies a month being born then clearly you're not going to be a newborn photographer. Okay again, evaluate your market so there is a time to nish and a time to not those of you who heard here in seattle chances are you're going to try to try to narrow it down to one or two specialties so that you can really own that section of the market. Okay, so photography style let's examine it. How does your work look? I want you to take three adjectives to describe it visually. Then I want you to do three adjectives that describe it emotionally makes sense. So visual is like neutral, designed, shallow depth of field. Emotional is calm. Touching organic could be a visual one, but organic does have kind of an emotional tie to it as well, but that's that's pretty much may okay, I kind of just put my words up there it gives you an impression doesn't not of the photographic style just by doing the words and that will help you to kind of narrow down your photographic style. Other great exercise include going to like google art project, dot com and picking art pieces that you love and you will see a pattern. Heather michelle, my painting instructor does this with me all the time. She makes me do it like once or twice a year because your style does evolve and change, but it's funny because the neutral, muted tones I mean wearing neutral, muted fall colors are like my favorite colors ever and that's what I shoot with that's what I decorate with, but still fresh and airy and calming, so go to places like google our project and been just swiped file when we talked about suite files earlier in the class and swipe art pieces that you love don't do photography just to argue our pieces. You need to get your mind out of the photographic world, go to the art world and start picking art pieces that you love and put him in a folder on your desktop do you like nine to fifteen images? I don't think about it just whatever makes you go oh, I love that put it in your file then when you open your file, you will see interesting patterns belinda did this when heather michelle was at my studio last month giving a painting workshop and she was like shocked because everything was like bright colors and she's like but I love your work julie, I love what we do it's so neutral on calming and so I can't believe I didn't pick that I'm like it's okay belinda that's you that's your heart and she was so shocked in her results and scared by it because she's been trained to be in my world in my neutrals muted color tone world but if she was to start photographing babies, I would make sure she uses those bright sunny spring happy colors because that is her and she's shaking her head back there going no yes like no, I'm not photographing baby I I think that's more what she was saying but you know she's so cute she's like no, I'm not bearing it no, she said she doesn't like bright colors of babies and that's why she was so surprised that she did that but what it means is that her true heart and babies may not be her subject maybe it's children and kids she wanted to be a nanny before our child care provider before she came to me so there's something going on there right? Maybe if she was to be a photographer she should have specialized in young children you know, kind of that toddler to seven eight year old range were bright colors and sunshine and happy and cartoons and all that kind of stuff is more it. And belinda her personality is that she is a bright light in everyone's life she like, makes everybody happy no matter who she talks to and it's totally her so simply by doing a swipe file she was starting to define her personality as a brand and style and look and feel so this exercise works. I promise you will not want to hear this but it is true if you do not know how to achieve the look and feeling you want in your work you may not be ready to build a brand yet. I know it's. Not fun to hear. Did I do it? Of course. I started a business before I filly developed my style. We all do, right? But the reason I say this is because I want you to be very cognizant of how powerful a brand is to your business and how much your photographic style influences your brand. So don't just shoot willy nilly, okay? Be strategic and what you shoot not only for your niece, but how you shoot it. What colors you used the design? Stick with something for a while, see if it works if you have to still feel like you're experimenting around a little bit because you don't know colors, you don't know, I mean you're still kind of feeling scattered try to focus on one thing for a while and see what happens and then step to the next to branch out and maybe then start building a brand I want to hear from you those of you who do feel like you have found your style when it wass that you felt like maybe you've gotten it and what happened in your mind she's like I don't have my style you know how my brand I know don knows what she wants to shoot so we might hear from dawn and molly does too yes so I started out as one business ah and spent a bunch of time trying to figure out who I wanted to be and then I re branded to a name that was extremely specific in style and what I shoot and redevelop the brand off of that ah in about the last two years uh but how did you know when you found that it style two years ago when I chose the name, I knew what I wanted my work to be and so that's when I went full force after trying color I mean, I have always wanted to shoot newborns. I've always done newborns, but after trying every color and the fun props and the you know every different aspect and, you know, looking at other people style I love bright colors and other people's work not in mind, there's no, my thing so that was when I decided that I was going to take the opportunity of rebranding take the name literally throw it in your face. This is what I am and build around that awesome. Okay, who else? When did you know in your heart that it was right? And why did you know that it was right when I found out who I was and what I was comfortable with my brand was almost an extension of my body like an arm. It is who I am it's what I do, it's, how I dressed my kids and then every day it's how I I would put the same things on my kids that I would put on my newborns and I knew that newborns were my thing. I knew that I wanted my brain to be like me. I love people coming to my house. I want them to feel at home. I want you know, whether they mean my friends or my clients to feel like they are just comfortable, and I think my look hunk that way when I decided that's what I am and that's who I am and that's not my other arm the comfort just came with it was comfortable yes, it felt good and I think that's the hardest part is that when we're starting out we're testing out all these different varieties of styles and looks it's hard to know what's comfortable what's comfortable is what you want to stick with what's comfortable is what you keep gravitating to but you keep coming back to when it comes to teo colors and style design and texture and how you edit and etcetera, etcetera it's what you keep doing right and when you do it you feel like there's that piece there's that happiness in your heart and I'm talking about something very subjective here but it does come and you have to try out a lot of different styles and techniques to find it. Yeah, one more comment you left out that I should have said is too is that when I started to discover myself I started to notice that inquiry's too you know, I I I always saw on cream and I always used green props and, you know, like deep green and my enquiries were literally be I love your creamy backdrops and I want my baby in that green bucket yeah it's totally true I love restoration hardware and eight out of ten clients on that slot that says if you could shop for furniture anywhere where would you go? They put restoration hardware or pottery barn it's almost like I can predict it, but then you know you have a symbiotic relationship with their clients that's when you know you found your style and unfortunately it's hard to say to you if you don't know it yet you may not be ready to build a brand, but I think it's the honest to god truth because if you don't know who you are and where you want to go is a company and its personality and its visual style or its moral promise you're going to be scattered and your brand is not going to be strong enough to sustain a high quality business, so focus on what you're photography style is and then worry about the other visual components of it your space your marking materials, your website etcetera, etcetera and granted those things are incredibly important while the brand personality reflects the human or emotional connection to the brand do you like them or not? The personality the collateral reflects how the business communicates those traits to its target. Fine tell them I sent so your visual style not only your photography style but also your collateral communicates your personality and your moral promise to your your target client, so you're communicating your purpose because purpose is part of your moral promise which we're gonna get into here in a second your collateral can mean everything from your logo you're tagline your fonts, your colors, your tone of voice and how you write the iconography the imagery video if you use a video in your marketing all that stuff contributes to mrs just a small tiny list but what I see most photographers do so many times is they pair random fonts together like their logo will be pretty but then they'll use like three different fonts on three different marketing materials and they don't understand how two pair those funds together okay, so this is our old logo this is my second logo the first one I'm not I'm scared to show you the first one lasted like two months, so I don't really count it as the first one this is the one most of my clients have seen over the years okay? And at first it was just the letters, not the thingamajig around the outside and when will india first came on to me? I got a little stick out my bottom and decided to put the stupid little thing around the outside and I pretty much ruined my logo okay I did the classic didn't contact the designer to see what I should do and instead thought I knew better and I went ahead and just kind of went on a wild horse ride and decided to put that little shape around my love because everybody was doing it right. This is the new brand, the new logo. Ok, this was six months in the making. I hired jane johnson last march when she was in bed for a few days. She used to live in ben nash, lives in hawaii. She screwed my competitors, actually should photography. And, of course, she also does brennan design, and she moved to hawaii and s o she comes back some visits, and so we were in at a cocktail were at a dinner, and I'm like, I will need to rebrand and thinking about it for a year and a half, and I knew jane was the one to do it, so she and I went back and forth. The poor woman must hate me because I think there were probably ten versions of different logos. Before I was finally happy. She had a hard time getting me, and one of the reasons why is because I am so much of a traditionalist yet a forward thinker. I like things to be elegant and like they stand the test of time, but I also want them to be contemporary and hand made those concepts really go against one another, so she sent me sheets of words, and how am I you know, I need to circle the words that I was just looking at the seasons are you a spring summer fall? I mean, she was like looking at perfumes and scents I mean, we were trying to figure out what my in her style wass well, she nailed it with the logo and once she nailed it with I think version number ten we tweaked it slightly and that was it. This is her handwriting I wanted something so unique that wasn't just a font you could buy off the internet. I wanted it to look handmade and like it took a long time to make very deliberate okay, not a scribble. I wanted to have a lots of negative space because negative space to me implies quality less is more and so that is that logo is my eye is me very much so. Okay. And then of course I had when this started happening I had then hartley from ohio build a video that spoke our brand promise. Okay? And this was at least two or three months in the making. And in july, um ben flew out from ohio and we went to one of my clients homes and we photographed this promotion it's a minute and a half long you're going to see it and it is speaks to every thing I think about having a newborn baby and being a mother and how the hands of our company will build you something beautiful while the hands of the mother cherish her child ok have a look yeah when I wanted to do was pull at your heartstrings and the last thing I wanted to do was be in it I told them because that way we first have the conversation is like well you know we could hell no I'm not going to be in it I am not the brand the emotion in the moral promise of the brand so to me it was incredibly important that we show the target clientele I am trying to bring to my studio that is my target client right there to the tee and her I mean I guess I want to hear from you guys what what am I trying to tell you in that short minute thirty video oh I like it just made me cry it takes you back to being a mama doesn't it pulls at my heartstrings when my kids for that little yeah it does doesn't it oh so sweet I know and it's and it's gone and the and the image of him as a new born at the end I think solidified that emotion that it's gone so time is important fine art is important that a motherhood changes you and your focus becomes suddenly not you but the hands that raise the child ok and all your heart and soul and your whole reason for being goes into that little kid and her loving touch on the portrait and you knew that was him as a new born fully brought you full circle toe what the whole video was about so it had that surprise at the end and like oh okay, I see where this is going to make sense any other comments thoughts like what else is it telling that sand they say anything to you that I'm missing that I'm not getting did alex did you actually like I see that right that yes it worked yeah, I get it no and it's supposed to do that I'm particularly to women and obviously alex is awesome and like a totally rad dad but you can like but that's the whole point and I really wanted that and that video alone we released it like a week ago and it's been shared twenty four times on facebook already by our clients and the response has been absolutely incredible okay oh tissues thank you alex that's a good guy um and I knew that doing a video like this is what would talk about those emotional heartstrings but remember what we sell emotion, emotion and time pretty much right so the color the home the client everything was picked to see how it's all tying together this was not this was very much thought about strategic and plans and I was seriously if if this woman had decided not to do it heather I would've seriously like not knowing what to do because she was perfect. I was there was no second alternative because I knew it had to be heather and had to be heather's home because I knew what her home looked like and that that shot down the master bedroom is just like yeah, it's amazing. You want to be her right? So if you come to my studio, you will be her is basically what? The messenger thing. Okay, so these are all visual elham and of your brand that contribute to send the message to your ideal client, right? The collateral is simply what communicates the moral promise and the personality to the ideal client and hopefully that video communicated our personality and are more promised to potential clients. Okay, so when you're thinking of trying to figure out what your visual style is for your brand, you want to build a rule book for it. When jane sent us our logo, she sent us colors with pantone I mean there's codes the fonts there's restrictions for the current ing the logo caste to be over an inch and a half. I mean, everything was down to the tea of how this brand was presented visually to the world so that everything is consistent coca cola, I'm told, has a binder this thick on everybody's desk is how they can use their colors and their logos and let me tell you that red is a very, very specific red it's probably patented wouldn't surprise me one bit ok, but that brand book is your brand bible and you need to follow the rules with that you can't just change fonts on a whim oh, that doesn't look good today it all has to be very consistent because when you hand over a marking material you want that recognition factor you want your client smoke? Oh yeah, I've seen you so if one day you're using cursive script fonts and another day you're using san sir from the next day you're using times new roman you're last people aren't gonna know what to think and pairing thoughts is incredibly important people don't not know howto para fonts and photographers especially I've seen like script logos, script information like they're putting the phone number and the address everything in script I'm like you can't read it if you have a script logo, you want to clean sarah for sand sara font with it so it's readable so learn to para font do some google searching I mean we could talk on those wonderful classes here on credit live on the graphic design channel to talkabout font, pairing and typography ah highly recommend doing that if you're going to try to do this stuff on your own and I barrel turn on my own for seven years let me tell you I did that too because I thought I had a design sense and now that I actually I have someone who does this for me I realized how stupid I wass that I was not doing it correctly so at least get the advice of someone or learn what you need to learn to make the visual components of the brand stand out and more importantly be consistent so the identity I also call these the els the logo on the look linguistics the lure the likability the love and loyalty okay this is your visual identity so the logo clearly is what it is the logo the look the look of your work the look of your marketing materials there everything is so consistent the color tones the textures, the patterns the negative space a little bit of of whimsy with thea with the organic with the little tie there the raw twine it gives the elegance with the raw handmade look which is exactly what the logo speaks the linguistics what words are you using to communicate your brand promise? Okay, the likeability do people like what you're doing? Is it targeting your ideal client client? Does she want to be friends with it? Would she want to use your sir stuffer stationary for her own family okay? And the love and the loyalty and I'm obviously this depends on what genre you're shooting, but for me the love means do they love my business and the love I'm trying to communicate the love within the family of not only their family but also being a part of ours that loyalty factors that make sense so you want your brand to speak to loyalty and that means consistency people who are loyal are very consistent. So think about these cells when you are trying to define your identity and how they all work together to create and admit your what you're trying to communicate so that personality of who you are and the more promise so what is the moral promise? We haven't touched on that yet? A moral promise as a business, you promised to deliver a tangible good right for us it's a tangible good and in a service correct when you pair that with the value experience and feelings your clients walk away with, you have a brand promise this's a very like I've said the word subjective a couple times I'm trying to think of another word it's very almost a serial it's kind of got this little feathery feel to it they're like I can't it's not something you could just the fine and make a sentence for it's very much a feeling a brand is it's the impression that your business leaves on the customer or clientele whether or not they bought at that particular time when you walk into ari I you are experiencing their brand right when you walk into my studio see the video see the logo see the marking materials see my work you were experiencing my brand they all must be synonymous with one another and work together if my work was bright fun happy colors in you know primary red, blue and yellow you would look at this and go uh huh what? And you might not think about it on the conscious level that your brain would certainly like have a discord you'd be like what's it wouldn't quite feel right so when things work together it's like magic it's like everything comes together and like my arse this works it's so amazing it's beautiful I could not do this with bright colors I wouldn't I would try and fail miserably I just couldn't do it where is belinda? Another hand could totally do it she does graphic design work all the time and she's like always wanted these bright colors and have when she first started and it was totally her brain and I think that is her when she did that color cheat with sheet with heather michelle I was like, oh my gosh he's totally makes sense you know who she is okay, so these things will come together if you listen to your own soul I guess that's what I'm saying creativity is merely the soul's desire to communicate and when you're creative and you're working your style and who you are then that's going to emit a brand a moral promises what your client gets from your business do you not see that I get from your business it's your work your products a customer experience the service your purpose and your visual sensory identity the questions guys following this I know it's it's kind of those things that not was not like yes this is it like the final it's also individual and that's the beautiful part about it because no one is going to have the same brand here we just fantastic because that means you have a unique selling point that means you're unique and I want youto go for what's unique in you not what someone else is doing because then you can own it live it and be all thanked be authentic to it so brandon is tactical marketing a strategic and I love this because people confuse what marketing and branding is all the time branding is that what the client gets out of the experience? The feeling the impression marketing is a specific tactic to get them to pick up the phone and call you in one book james heating says the brand is what remains after the marketing has swept through the room it's what sticks in your mind associated with a product service organization whether or not at that particular moment you decided to buy making more sense, isn't it so the logo how are you going to create your logo that all of you have lived without that? I've seen a couple that I know folks want to change can I pick on people I'm gonna pick on internet sites are yesterday and to antoinette has incredible work beautiful ethereal very fresh soft spring colors um not as neutral is me ah beautiful handle on natural light and her logo is a little chintzy for lack of a better word it was done when you were when you were first starting out, right it's not you anymore you know it the reason I'm saying this is because I know she knows it I wouldn't tell her that we have to talk about it um and so her plan is to change it right she's like yeah it's, not me some iran and she's one of those situations where if she just changes her logo, the logo is like the one thing that doesn't fit I haven't seen her market materials or her studio not that, but based on her web site and her work and what I see as faras experiencing her brand from afar meaning I don't live in florida and I'm looking at it from back here in seattle so all I can really do is digital what I see is a beautiful brand that has a logo that feels funny that's not god's off kilter that's not quite right and granted she's still booking clients and doing great but the minute she changes that logo to something that's a little more in tune with her style her look her feel her personality her more promise all of a sudden the brand is going to go put up like that and people are gonna look at it and think better of it and it's going to make them to want to take another look a closer look to dig deeper to feel more some make sense or is it the logo they might look they might not it's not it's not a conscious thing and I'm like oh I don't like her logo so I'm not gonna look at our work you know that's not it it's just the overall big picture it's that war okay so your logo has to reflect these things don't wing it don't just do what you think works because you know I honestly think that if you're going to invest any money don't buy a new camera for goodness sake go out and get yourself good lowers I don't get a logo get a brand have someone help you and it's a process it takes a month when I hire jane I thought oh it'll be a month or so six months later we were still digging this process out and I was sitting there going oh my god, I got a license thing we're going on a grand life, you know? I'm like and and it was it was just a nightmare but then I realized I stood back and like, okay, julie, you know what? This is a process she has to understand my soul she has to see what's in here so she can then take that and use the concepts of graphic design and the principles of composition to apply that to me and that's not an easy chore trust me on we'll cook you up the stairs you know it's a lot going on up there and it takes a lot to dig it out and so expect this process to be one that's going to take a little while you not get locals overnight just like you do not get your style overnight but antonia is a situation where she's got a really good solid style where do you work, my dear? And the logo just needs to reflect that that's it what do your thoughts on your logo I totally grave? I'm just trying to figure out what to do to make it better and I always feel kind of embarrassed a little bit when I'm sorry no no no when I'm telling people the name of my company I made it years ago and so what is it again? I'm sorry dancing daffodils dancing down feels photography yes ok and it came from a poem willing warbirds poem from and so I've been thinking about it like you have for months and I've talked to my husband and I'm trying to figure out what it is so I don't feel embarrassed and I feel like I represent my brand yeah, you represent you and the goal you're trying to achieve in your art right and your promise to your customers my question to you that is I'm a little quirky and little weird at times, but welcome to the club and I love bright colors and everything but photographing them I don't so that's where I'm kind of when you're talking about colors and figuring that out my personality is a little bit different from the style of photography that I like like I like the neutral whites and like so I'm kind of torren too because I am more of ah out there yeah and I think this is a common a common question um so I don't know how to make me my brand and logo and I want to get both across well it has to do with us a photographer not you necessarily as a person I feel funny saying that because I just basically said that creativity is your soul coming forth which is true and that's you but there's certain there's, lots of facets to each person. Right? So when? When you shoot your shooting consistently with a soft palate yeah, I look at your palate is very springtime, like pastel gouache. Light not necessarily neutral, but just softer, right? You still have, in my opinion, those spring tones. You still have color in your work for sure. Maybe you're underestimating the amount of color that's actually in your work. But you're saying that you like, right? I mean, like primary school, second grade callus, right? Pinks have a huge bright pink ink. Girls, I don't think that's awesome. Thanks, rat. That makes me old fashioned to say the word rad. Remember, that was like hip. Anyway, you shoot in a very specific way. So your soul is communicating something in a very specific way that, you know you love to shoot. So if it were me, I would probably brand to that rather than to this little quirky part of me that likes public. Because we shoot, we overshoot in hot pink. Probably not. So you're right. And why you would be confused. But in essence, you want the company to speak to the work that you communicate does that does that make sense now? That's just that's along the same lines just for analogy it's not an exact analogy but it's along the same lines that ari eyes board directors is not using their personalities as their brand for the company but I bet you they're still outdoorsy people you know I'm saying so the company itself has its own brand and personality and more promise, but that doesn't exactly reflect everything every facet of every personality on the board of directors so that's kind of how I give you the analogy of it I would go more towards what you love to shoot and what you're consistent shooting in your art and how that style translates into a brand some access, any other questions for me? Okay, of course the look in merchandising is incredibly important in your space or if you're on location if you have a product catalog how you communicate that product catalogues you're gonna have something that opens up are you going to do something online, ipad whatever or how you present products in your studio and how it looks this week you guys are going to see my studio on dh how it's branded visually you know when you walk in one of the senses, what do you see? Hear and smell it's incredibly important because it all impacts the impression your client gets on your studio and on your business she was your target market like it your brand should reflect the target clientele you're trying to approach, okay, but it also should reflect your soul communicating your style in your work. So in other words, it's literally like creating a marriage. You have to be you, right? Because that's, what reflects in your work? You have to be authentic, but the person you're going to marry has toe like you and want to know you. Does that make sense? So ask yourself when you're looking at your space and your visual collateral, your moral promise, what lures them into you? Just as if you were trying to attract a date, what is going to attract the date? The guy, the girl appearance, but it's not just appearance, personality and what your moral values are your moral promise. I mean, think about when you're dating someone. I mean, I remember dating guys who were hot and cute and they have great personalities, and then they were liars who was that their moral values were not where I wanted to be. It's the same thing with a business, your brand is that personality, the visual style and the moral promise. So think of your company like a person what's their personality, what do they look like, are they attractive, are you attracted to them? And are they generally good people it does the company have a moral promise that you also believe in people don't buy what you do they buy why you do it because they show share the same moral values that your company does it's just like getting married he would never marry somebody you didn't have the same moral values as because really when you get old and scraggly and ugly the moral values is what keeps a marriage together okay what will make them loyal to you service they want to keep coming back why do they want to keep coming back? Ask yourself those questions and make those things happen in your studio your language just like you're dating someone you're not going to use swear words were trying to get a date right? You want to talk eloquently like you're intelligent the same thing in your business you want your collateral to communicate things well with no typos okay, no spelling errors we were talking about the same today when somebody sends you an email where they use funky language and you're like do they know how to spell or not and it gives you an impression about them obviously you need to give them the benefit of the doubt that something maybe up it's beyond your control you don't ever want to like you know judge people but at the same time it makes an impression that you need to be thinking about especially in a business when I have ah brochure or a piece of collateral that has information in it if there are spelling errors in here or grammar errors there are people who will like pick at a punctuation mark you forget a period or things like that and it will turn them off oh all the english instructors and your oh yeah that was like everybody's putting themselves in the audience but yeah so you want to make sure that this is solid and leaves that high quality impression the layout and design high quality means less is more right not all the time but a lot of the time it does really guys you should use your brand who's it from every pore of your body and from every facet and crack in the mortar of the foundation of your business it's that important because it's the foundation for everything for booking for marketing for product line for sales experience merchandizing did I say customer experience customer service all of that stuff your brand like hold it up right why do you think companies spend gazillions of dollars protecting their brand major corporations? They are so particular at how things are admitted to the public and communicated because that brand is their baby and they protect it nothing will mess with it because that's the impression that their clients get of them whether they chose to buy or not at that time so remember define your photographic style okay, this is ultimately the brand board that jane showed me to finalize the look and feel of the brand and she pretty much nailed it the colors the logo's I didn't put the fonts in there but the sponsor and I'm paying three dollars for a fun because it worked so I had to buy the fun so I could use it in every market materials I have but the beautiful part about that is that no one will copy that font and use it well they're going to spend a lot of money to do so okay leased to deter some so define your photographic style to find your personality as a brand to find the visual and sensory components that will help communicate both your personality and your moral promise to your consumers and by defining your purpose why you do what you do that will help solidify your brand promise what you promised to do for your customers and what moral values you hold dear that you hope they hold dear to which will make it a marriage made in heaven it's a lot to think about, isn't it? I think a lot of you are probably go ahead, grab the microphone and while I talk I think a lot of you are probably dissecting what you have and ask yourself what you can keep on what needs to be thrown out or changed right so take the components of the brand the logo, the thoughts, the colors I must talk of visual right now I'm not talking personality or or promise your photographic style take all those things and ask yourself what is really you so if you break apart the components of what you currently have okay my photographic style is me my logo is not the thoughts they're me but they don't go with the logo or I want to change my logo, which means I might have to change my fonts because I need something that will work with the logo tto help elevate what I'm trying to communicate and then when you think about your own personality, you're asking yourselves okay, is my personality in my work my style? Is it true to me and you're also asking yourself, what personality am I as a company which is actually it's easier for us to do because really it's just us in our work, right? So we don't have to click create a persona for a company that's already in us so we can feed from that. The hard part is is that almost not most, but a lot of photographers are insecure don't feel very good about themselves they're very nervous to put their own personality into their brand because it's hard it's basically saying am I worth it? Do you want to buy this company or buy into this company because it is me, okay? And then finally your moral promise your purpose? This is the big one. This is the hard one. You're probably asking yourself why you do what you dio and if your client should care about it and you're digging deeper down, down, down, down, down to really find out why it is you do what you do and you feel like sometimes okay? Is that deep enough? It doesn't feel deep enough. I heard a lot of wise last night at dinner and I thought to myself, it's not deep enough, they'll find it. You need to go into the depths of your soul to find your purpose and sometimes it's really hard to do because it means looking at things in your life that you don't necessarily want to look at experiences you've had stuff that's happened to you that hurt all those things probably contribute to why you are the artist you are today and made you who you are and so dig deep. So when you say, oh, I want to cherish people's memories, and I wantto make sure they have a printed product, that I got the idea not deep enough, deeper, and it will take some time, this is not going to happen in a five week course. It's going to take six months or longer for you to really nail it down and as you think about it when you're driving in the shower you'll think of things you'll write stuff down and they'll think seymour you're right sits down and slowly and surely the visual will start to come to you and you'll realize why you do what you do and that starts to infiltrate into your personality of a brand and into your brand promise and when you start communicating that through your visual style in your collateral all of a sudden your brand will be untouchable no one will be able to match you they may come close or have something similar that will not be the same and then your clients will be coming to you because they believe what you believe and that's what you want because that's the marriage made in heaven right that's when the marriage will laughed okay so here's your homework I want you to try and create a brand style guide this is hard if you're just starting out this is going to be more of a project than if you already have somewhat of a brand that may just need some work okay I want you to find your photographic technique in three adjectives both the visual ones and the emotional connection ones ok we talked about the beating beginning this class then I want you to brainstorm your business personality and purpose like I said, this is gonna take a while. It might take several showers, research the visual components to your brand identity that will help communicate the business, personality, connection and purpose to its target clientele. That means research fonts you want to use research colors, research patterns, textures and a graphic designer is someone who will help help show you the art of combining those together to create an effective overall appeal. Don't just mish mash it together. Oh, I like burlap texture, and I like diamonds. Oh, let's, combine those together with treasure in pro font. I don't really know elliot, because she looks terrible, that would not work. Contrition, pros like tragedy, or whatever they call it, eyes like overused. I'm laughing because I was tragic, like crazy in my love.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Studio Systems Resource Guide
Interview: Social Media Guru Sarah Daily
Studio Systems Workbook and Homework Guide
Jewel Images: Sample Client Survey

Ratings and Reviews


I look at this course as a library of amazing and valuable content. Everything that any photographer ever needs to run their business and make it successful and profitable can find all in one place, this course. I always felt inspired by Julia's amazing business skills, she is one of the best in this industry. I have taken all of her previous classes before and never felt disappointed. Instead, I would feel more confident, educated, empowered and inspired. Every segment is packed with so much information and it feels overwhelming at first, but the workbook that this course comes with, gives you sanity and helps you to work through it. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone. You should decide if you want to spend 10 years to get all this knowledge that this course already has, or just spend $199 to get it all at once and not waste anymore time experimenting!? Your choice.

a Creativelive Student

We're only 1wk into this 5wk bootcamp and I have already gained so much valuable information {already worth every cent}. Julia shares so much about how to run a business, and do it in a way that's successful, profitable and enjoyable. Have already started working on a few new systems to help run my business better, and my customer service has already improved. Now to just spruce up my home studio to make it more visually appealing and comfortable for my clients :) Thank you so much Julia!


I am so incredibly happy to have taken the plunge this evening, as I bought this course! Today watching the course a lightbulb went off and I knew I had to have it! This is worth every cent, and I am so very excited to watch the rest and implement these teachings into my business. Its time to take charge and take my business back! I am so amazed after standing back and looking at my business from a distance, of how much i have been giving away. Not only of not only my pricing but myself. I have compromised for clients that aren't right for me. This is giving me the confidence and knowledge to say no, in a nice way, and to focus on the business I really WANT! Thank you Julia, you are an inspiration! An amazing women with impeccable business sense!

Student Work