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The Photographer’s Guide to Logo Design

Let me open by asking… what does your logo say about you? Did you put a lot of thought into your logo design when you first started your business or just slap something together quickly because you wanted to get your marketing going and your business up and running?

I know when I first started out, I was so excited to just be a business that I didn’t put much thought into my logo. I just threw something together in Photoshop and slapped it on my business cards. That wasn’t the best move on my part because my logo didn’t reflect my business at all.

You wouldn’t think that a logo would be so important to your business, but in reality, it is. Your logo is what identifies you as a business. This is why it is so important to put some thought into it before you establish your business (but if you already have an established business, don’t worry – you can always re-brand and re-do your logo).

Let’s go over the nitty-gritty of how to create the perfect logo!

Who Should Design the Logo?

So who should design your logo? Yourself? A professional?

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Most photographers do have an eye for design, but in reality, it may be best to have a professional graphic designer help you with it.

You know the basics of what looks good (if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be a very good photographer), but they are pros at putting colors and shapes together in a way that represents a brand well!

Here are some companies you could use to help you with your logo design:

If you do decide to design your logo yourself, I recommend making several versions and showing them all to friends and family to get their opinion about which they like best and which they feel represents your brand best.

Choosing an Overall “Feel” for Your Logo Design

What should your logo look like? That is the million-dollar question.

First – do your research! Look at the logos of companies you like and ask yourself what makes them stand out. Look at everything from major brands in the supermarket to other photographers. Make a list of what you like and don’t like about these logos.

There are many elements that should go into your thought process when brainstorming what your logo should look like – things like color, size, font, graphic/no graphic, tag line/no tag line, etc…

As you look at other logos, you’ll probably see patterns emerge on your list of things you like and don’t like. This is a good exercise to do even if you ultimately hire a designer instead of designing your logo yourself, since it means that you can give your designer a good idea of your likes and dislikes before they even start.

Logo Color

You’ll want to keep your logo simple to that it can be legible on many different platforms and on many different backgrounds. It needs to work as a small business card, but you also might want to print it very large on a banner.

The best way to make sure your logo will transfer nicely from one background to the next is to keep your logo in one color. I know this can be hard to do when there’s a whole rainbow of colors to use but the fewer colors you use in your logo, the more easily it will read.

If you do choose to use more than one color in your logo, make sure to check it out in black and white as well to make sure it still looks nice. The reason for this is that sometimes your logo won’t be able to be printed in color so you’ll want to make sure that it still looks nice as a black and white logo as well.

Notice here that this beautiful logo has great design elements but can be used on many different platforms.  It’s easy to read, the graphic used is simple but makes a statement, and it gives you the feeling about the brand.

ReneeLeeBoudoirAgain, this logo was well thought out.  Renee added some design elements to it that work across all platforms.  Also, if she wanted to, she could take away her background color and just use the text as her logo without taking away from her branding.

Logo Graphics

Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind is to not mash a ton of stuff together into your logo. Play around with it and see what works best, but remember that it will be harder to find a design that works if you’re trying to get too many elements in there.

You probably shouldn’t put your business name, a graphic and a tagline all together on your logo. That can get very jumbled up and messy looking if not done properly. (Though of course, rules are meant to be broken – some companies do have a name, graphic, and tagline all as part of their logo and it works.)

Small graphics can be a nice addition to your logo if they are done properly. Make sure to choose something that fits in with your brand and your business. For example, it’s kind of silly to use a tree for a photography business unless your business name has something to do with a tree or you are trying to capture the essence of a tree with your branding. Make sure there is a reason you’re choosing the graphic and not just choosing it because it’s pretty.

Here is a great example of how you can use a graphic in your logo, however, if the swirls were taken off, it’s still a beautiful logo.  Again, this logo is very well designed and can be transferred to many different platforms and colors without losing the essence of the brand.

This fabulous logo was carefully thought out.  Not only does it give you the feeling of the brand, but it uses a graphic in a tasteful way.  It doesn’t overpower the overall logo and this photographer could just use the graphic in the logo if she wanted to as her watermark and her clients would still know it’s her work because it still has the “FB” in the logo in the same font as the wording of the logo.

Logo Fonts

Last but not least, FONT. I know, just like the rainbow of colors, there are a trillion different fonts you can use for your logo.

Here’s my advice though: don’t go with what’s “in” now because it might not be “in” next year. I’m not saying don’t use that pretty script font that you really like, you can definitely use it, just make sure it’s legible and something you will want to stick with for a good period of time.

Another thought about fonts, I would keep your logo to a 2 font maximum because the more you use, the more messy it starts to look. Try to mix it up a little with a script and a standard (serif/sans serif) font. If you do decide to go with a script font, make sure it’s large enough to be read clearly.

As you can see here, this photographer chose to use her initials as her script but yet used a standard sans serif font for her brand’s name.  This is a great way to incorporate a script font into your logo.  This logo is simple but classic and can be used for many years because of it’s design.

Even though this logo has a graphic, the font is what I’m focusing on.  She used 2 fonts that separate her boudoir name from her tagline and both are very legible and fancy at the same time.

Some Final Thoughts on Logos

Once you have your logo design nailed down, the next thing you need to do is keep it consistent across all platforms. Use the same logo on your branding, watermarking, marketing, etc… My biggest pet-peeve is when someone will use one logo on their marketing pieces and then will use a completely different logo on their social media or watermarking. Consistency is key to being recognized by your logo!

If you’re just starting your business, make sure you are ready to commit to your logo for at least 3-5 years. Why that long of time? Well, for starters, if you’re just starting out, you want people to recognize your logo and associate it with your business. If you’re always changing it, people may get confused as to who you are or what your business is.

Sometimes, you can create a logo and it sticks with you until you’re retired, and sometimes you just get sick of the logo you have so that’s when you re-brand. Re-branding can be fun, but you’ll want to make sure that you announce that you’re re-branding to your clients so that they are aware of the change and can associate your new branding with you. If you change everything and don’t announce it, your clients may not put two and two together and see that it’s still you but just under a different logo.

All in all, when designing and deciding on your logo, remember my motto to KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid! Don’t overthink it and don’t think you need something that is over the top and a rainbow of colors. Keep it classy, keep it simple and make sure that it represents your business!

Let’s do a logo share! Share your website below in the comments so everyone can check out your logo! 

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Molly Keyser

Boudoir photographer and business coach, I am dedicated to changing the world with the power of a camera. Originally from Wisconsin, I'm now in Texas, but I help photographers around the world learn how to go full-time with boudoir photography.