In today’s day and age, many tools that we used to use in business and marketing have gone by the wayside. But one thing that has stuck are business cards.
For photographers, business cards let us easily get our names out there. We can pass them out at events and use them during meetings with potential clients. But what can we do to make sure that our business card leaves an imprint, instead of just being added to the pile?
Creative vs. Smart Design
The design of your card should be thought about similarly to how you would setup a long exposure. You’ll want to think about the placement of elements (composition), the colors and the different elements required.
The contact information like e-mail addresses and phone numbers should be easy to find. That’s not to say they need to overtake the card, but make it clear how you should be contacted.
Your card shouldn’t be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to utilize white space as a design element here, placing the different elements of your card strategically.
Finally, choose modern fonts and colors that are easy on the eyes, and fit your branding. What you create here should be able to be replicated on other marketing materials like brochures and postcards, so, be sure to spend some time on this. Slapping on Times New Roman or Arial and calling it good is no longer acceptable.
Note that just because you’re not a designer (or don’t have that “design eye”), that doesn’t mean you can’t make a winning card. Several business card printers offer templates that you can use. And regardless of whether you can put one together on your own or not…ask some friends what they think about it. Getting feedback for something that will represent you and your business is a great idea.
What Goes on a Business Card?
We all know that there are some basics to what we put on a business card. Your logo, e-mail address, phone number(s) and website should be at the forefront. But what about other items?
Address: This is necessary only if you have a studio for your clients. If you work remotely, or on-location at a client’s business, there’s no need to put your office or home address on the card. They’re not going to come visit you, and they’ll get the address anyways when you send out your invoice.
Social Networks: Putting your social media accounts on your card is just as important as any other contact information. The key here is to only put on networks that you’re active on — and I’d limit it to 3-4 networks. For instance, I chose to not put on my LinkedIn account, as I very rarely post there, but I did put on my Facebook business page and Instagram account.
Photography Genre: For me personally, I don’t put the genres of photography I specialize in on my business card. But depending on what you shoot, this might be beneficial. If you already have specific photo backs on your cards (more on that below), you can probably disregard this.
Pay Attention to the Back
Roughly 25% of the business cards I have come from photographers. And out of those, about half are stark white on the back. By leaving the back of your business card blank, you lose the chance to showcase what you’re capable of for your potential client.
I purchase my cards through Moo.com, which offers me an easy way to choose different photo backings that I upload to their site. This allows me to hand a client-catered card to each potential client. I wouldn’t want to hand a card with a portrait on the back of it to a restaurant I want to photograph food for. Instead, I’d hand them a card with food or drink on it, showing them that I’m capable of shooting what’s needed.
And if you don’t shoot a specific genre of photography, don’t put that type of photo on the back of your card! I don’t shoot weddings, so why would I want to promote a wedding image that I took at a friend’s wedding?
Sizes and Paper
When I first got business cards for photography, I chose to use Moo’s MiniCards. I thought they were cool, and that they would stand out amongst potential clients.
In reality, I found that these cards were often lost, as I would get very little follow-up after handing them out. Once I switched to a more standard business card size, I found that my leads would contact me more often for photography opportunities.
Similarly, the paper you choose to print on is important. If your business card is flimsy, you increase the chance of it ripping or being lost in the shuffle. Instead, choose a heavy card stock. This will ensure your card won’t get folded up in someone’s pocket, and the card will appear more professional.
Business cards are one of those marketing materials that continued to last, even in the digital age. It’s why paying attention to the setup of your card is just as important as putting your online portfolio together. By taking the time and producing a card that’s well thought out, you’ll be on your way to new clients in no time!
For more on Photography Marketing, see our weekly column.
Bryan is also a member of the Out of Chicago team. Learn more about Bryan at bryanesler.com.
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