Skip to main content

What Is a Brand?

Lesson 22 from: Find Your Niche and Build Your Family Photography Business

Julia Kelleher

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

22. What Is a Brand?

Lesson Info

What Is a Brand?

Let's talk about a brand, okay? A brand is essentially your presence, your personality and your promise. Your visual presence, your business personality and your moral promise as a company. Okay, we're gonna talk about each one of these individually. Visual's pretty easy. We kind of all know what that is, right? At least we have a feeling. It's the visual components of how you look as a business. It can mean everything from your studio space to your logo to your colors to your fonts, right? Image style can be in there as well. So let's break it down. It's image style, your logo, right? That's kind of the face of the business. Your collateral, the marketing pieces that you put out to people, communicate the visual presence of your brand. A studio look if you have it, or even the way you dress. You notice, I kind of dress my brand, don't I? Just a little bit black and white, simple, clean colors, not a lot of color, right? Okay, it's done on purpose, very much so. Your product line speak...

s to your brand, the visual components of your brand. So think about your own business. Is there consistency? How many fonts are you using right now? Three? Pretty good. If you change fonts on every single marketing piece, I want you to stop that right now, okay? One font for body copy, one font for headline and one or two fonts for your logo. They should all speak to each other. They should not be so different that you go "Oh, those don't match," okay? James Heaton said, "Marketing may contribute to "the brand, but the brand is bigger than "any particular marketing effort. "The brand is what remains after the marketing "has swept through the room." That's a good, good analogy. "It's what sticks in your mind associated with a product, "service or organization, whether or not at that particular "moment you bought or did not buy." It's an impression you get of the business. Paul Biedermann said, "A brand is the essence of one's "one's own unique story. "This is as true for personal branding as it is for "it is for business branding. "The key, though, is reaching down and pulling out "the authentic, unique 'you'. "Otherwise, your brand is simply a facade." Trying to be something you're not, is the kiss of death. That's why I tell you, when it comes to finding the style of your work, dig in, get messy, get deep, try to emulate others and see where it takes you. Zoom out, zoom back in, zoom out, zoom back in, so you can really see the big picture of what your portfolio is telling you about you. It's hard to see yourself. It's hard to see what you are. It's hard to analyze what is myself? It's really hard. But if you can look at a past body of work that you've been focusing on, building a style, you look back at it and you go, "Oh, okay, yeah, I see that." The clicking starts to happen. And it can only happen if you shoot a lot, try a lot of things, get drawn to certain things, and keep at it and get consistent with those elements that you love. Sarah Petty, one of the first people I actually learned marketing from said, "You cannot build a strong brand "on a weak identity." You must identify who you are as an artist, before you can develop a really powerful brand, okay? So that's style, it's about developing that style. How you communicate your style to the target audience is the essence of your brand's visual presence. But most importantly, once you start finding your brand, it needs to be consistent. Consistency is so critical. If you start changing things all willy nilly, what does it do? You lose the trust. Would you buy from someone you don't trust? The analogy there is the used car sales guy. You walk onto the lot, the first thing he does is come over go, "Hey, wanna buy a car today?" Okay, I'm totally being shit, but I mean, not all of them are like that, you get my point. They definitely have... There's a stigma associated with being a used car salesman, okay? It's the same thing. You don't trust the guy. Immediately the walls go up, right? So don't let your clients feel that about you. They will buy from you if they trust you. And how you build trust is having confidence in what you do, being consistent in what you do, and educating them on your authority that you know what the heck you're doing and you're gonna take care of them. Just like when your significant others wooed you off your feet. They wanted you to trust them, didn't they? My husband was so sweet and kind and I had just gotten out of a bad break-up and I was like ah, I don't need anybody. I'm just fine on my own, thank you very much. You know, like that attitude. And he just soft, sweet consistency. And finally one day I went, "Dang, I love this man. "I love this man, I wanna marry this man." Okay? Trust, huge. No client will want to marry you unless they trust you. If you're not consistent it breeds doubt, it creates mental barriers, it dampens loyalty and encourages wandering eyes. That's a bad marriage right there. You know what I mean, like? So, if you look at it with that analogy, it helps you kind of see it with something that you've experienced yourself, not necessarily a bad marriage, but something that you've experienced yourself, dating. It helps you kind of relate that to your business. So what I'm saying is show work that represents these visual elements and your style and your identity. Only show that work. Which means being a good editor. Weed out stuff that ain't you. Don't show it. Oh, but it's so sinking cute, I love this image. The expression is so sweet and look at that. No, I don't care how good the image is, if it's not you, don't show it. A brand is like a sketchy friend. You never know what you're gonna get, okay? A weak brand is like a sketchy friend. They're flakey, you just don't know what's gonna happen, you don't want to be close to them, because you can't trust. Guys, the market is not biased. The consumer market, they don't give a hoot about you. It does not care who you are, at all. It only cares about what you have to offer. Which helps you not let George get at you. Because you realize it's not you, it's the market. You just have to offer something to the market, that the market will want. The market is not biased, okay? It will go to the best product out there, right? The iPhone, look at that, swept the market. Because it was the best product out there. It was different, unique, easy to use, great experience. Save me time, hallelujah. The market only cares about what you have to offer, and on top of that how you present your brand, your product, and your service to it. Apple was a classic example of that in that they kind of targeted the hip, trendy kind of rebel in the beginning, remember, back in the beginning if you were a Mac owner you were kind of like the artist, artsy fartsy, like cool kid on the block? They really honed into that, and made it mainstream, right? By how they presented their product and their service to the market. Customers are not in this for anyone but themselves, okay? So if you understand that, then all of a sudden, marketing becomes that much easier, becomes a game, a strategic game that's actually quite a bit of fun, because really what you're doing is mind manipulating the consumer into wanting you, right? Which is psychological thriller right there, it's fun. I think it's fun. A lot of people are like, "Oh, it's too much for me." And you may not be a marketing personality, and if you're not, then you know, either work for someone else, or hire it out. If you're not good at it, get someone else to do it for you.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Bonus Material Instructions

Ratings and Reviews

Courtney Ranck-Copher

I own I think all of Julia's classes. This is probably my favorite. I will say that it's because its exactly the type of photography I have been wanting to focus on. So the information was extremely valuable to me. But I do love all of Julia's classes and you can learn so much from her as a mentor regardless of the type of portraits you shoot. Thanks Julia for a wonderful class I have watched it multiple times!


As always, Julia never disappoints! It has been so awesome to watch her work with such incredible intention, from concept to session to sales. Her energy and strategy are so motivational and very, very creative! This class rocks from start to finish, and is a perfect addition to my Creative Live business arsenal! Five stars all the way!!!!!

Amy Vaughn

My favorite part was seeing how Julia's business evolved over time and transformed into what it is today. Good tips for finding inspiration to develop a niche and practical marketing advice. I'm glad I took this alongside Tamara's business class - the two photographers had very different approaches to their business and shooting family photography in many ways, but it really illustrators how there's no one way to do everything. I learned so much from both of them.

Student Work