Since most professional photographers are sole proprietors, we are used to doing everything ourselves — shooting images, processing, answering the phone, keeping the books and so forth. Just because we do all these tasks, however, that doesn’t mean we are the best suited for them. That’s definitely true of graphic design.
Because we are creative professionals, it is tempting to design our own marketing collateral, business cards and Web sites. In doing so, we run the risk of looking amateurish or cheap — which is not a brand image that will help your business. If you’ve seen a colleague’s business card crowded with too many photos or printed in size 16 font, you know what I’m talking about.
We are also too close to our own businesses to be truly objective, and this is where another creative person with a trained set of eyes can really help. The fresh perspective can do wonders for your brand.
A Creative Partner
I’ve always had the desire to collaborate with a graphic designer on my marketing materials, but it took me a while to find the right one. I recently took the plunge and contacted a former art director colleague, Kaleena Tucker, to create a new business card and stationery for my photography business.
Because Kaleena and I had worked together, I knew we would have good professional chemistry. All I asked up front is that the design have a clean, minimalist style consistent with the look of my Web site.
Once we agreed on the basics, she sent me multiple layouts, and we subsequently went through several rounds of revisions. I always asked for her opinion during each step of the process, which helped to influence my decisions.
Worth the Cost
We ultimately decided to make separate sets of cards to represent the three types of photography I do — landscape, travel and photojournalism. Below is the card design for landscape photography, with my logo and contact information on the front and a photo on the back.
I’m very pleased with how the project turned out. For me, the benefits have far outweighed the costs. If you’re worried about your budget, though, keep in mind that hiring a graphic designer doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Many talented freelance designers have very reasonable rates. You can also find full-time designers who freelance on the side to stretch their creative muscles and earn a little extra money.
I’m curious to know how many other photographers out there have hired a graphic designer. If you have, please share your story in comments.