Branding. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s a creative outlet…and it kind of makes me want to curl up in my big comfy chair and cry.
I’ve done a lot of silent observing of other photographer’s brands…the colors they use, the name of their company, and what they write about on their blogs. Most of my favorites seem to have it easy. They were born with names like Jasmine Star, Jessica Claire, or Amelia Lyon. Many of them are ridiculously good-looking people, and they can use their own face as their branding. According to Jasmine, it’s all about who you are as a photographer. YOU are what sets you apart from the 5 gazillion other aspiring photogs, so YOU should be the center of your branding.
But here’s the thing. I’m pretty darn average looking, and my name just doesn’t seem to sound right as a business name. Todd said to try my real first name–Anwen. I guess that could add that little pinch of uniqueness I was shooting for. I doubt there is another Anwen Elizabeth doing photography, at least not in the States anyway. But something just keeps me pushing for a different angle, for that business name that I will know is the one.
Maybe the big time photogs know what they are doing. Maybe using your name is the best way to go. I was hoping for something a little more creative, a little more out there, a little more romantic. But I just got bogged down in the cliche, and nothing seemed to fit right. I spent hours last night tossing ideas back and forth with Erica, and we came up with some decent names(which were all already taken, grr), and then we just got silly. I mean, when you start throwing things out like “I Heart Vampires Photography,” you know it’s time to sleep on it.
So I slept on it. I had a moment of inspiration right before I drifted off, and I wrote it down. Then I dreamed about naming my business all night. Restless dreams, where nothing made sense.
When Todd asked me in the car this morning what names we had come up with, I got shy. I got embarrassed, because for some reason those ideas made me feel vulnerable. Like I was exposing some of myself, my creativity, and I didn’t want him not to like it. I didn’t want anyone else to know the names I’d come up with, because they were descriptive of who I want to be as a photographer. That’s intimate knowledge, my friends. Photography is an art, and in order to be successful at any artistic endeavor, you have to let people see a part of you that usually hides in the corner of doubt in your mind. Is my work good enough? Will anyone like it? Will anyone think it’s stupid?
Branding is hard, because you have to figure out who you are as a person, as a photographer, and as a business…and then share all of those details with the world, owning them and being proud of them.
I’ve still got a ways to go.
Photo credit goes to Todd. 🙂