When I first started in wedding photography, 'brand' wasn't much of a thing. However back then the market was very different and much less competitive. Fast forward to today and we are all doing our best to hold our own in a busy market. One sure fire way to stand out is to project a strong brand and the first place most people will encounter your brand? Well that will be your website a lot of the time. Most of us are better at the photography than we are at graphic design or building websites so luckily a whole plethora of resources have cropped up specifically to aide photographers.
One such service is UK based, The Design Space. An incredible one stop shop for creatives looking for a new brand identity, website and stationery templates. The brains behind it all is Melissa Love, who started out as a graphic designer and has morphed into an international photography brand expert. Melissa is a brilliant photographer herself and has a very delicious food blog. When you hit The Design Space, you have three main options for websites...
- Pick a template from their gorgeous range, download it, watch the tutorials on how to install it and add your own images, text etc. This options requires the most input from you but will cost the least.
- Pick a template and employ one of their recommended designers to get it up and running for you. This requires an additional investment from you but could save you time and some banging of head on desk.
- Hire The Design Space to create a bespoke brand and site for you. This will cost the most but you will have to do very little work yourself and is akin to waving a sparkly magical website wand.
I actually have four websites ( I know greedy!) but it makes sense to separate out all that I do. I have this site for Photography Farm, my wedding photography site, a commercial photography site and finally a site selling Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets. The three sites apart from this one are all done through The Design Space.
My wedding one is totally bespoke, like I said this market is the most competitive for me and so worth investing as much as I can in. Melissa gets to know you and your taste by asking you some insightful questions and getting you to go through a process to discover a unique visual identity. I won't give away her secrets but for the client, it's a really fun activity. She then comes back to you with the beginnings of the brand and the website as a photoshop file before tackling the website. You can be involved as little or as much as you want in the process, you can even hire a copywriter to help with the text if you struggle with that side of it all. The emphasis is on educating you to self manage your site once it is up and running. I found this side incredibly helpful as WordPress was a complete mystery to me up until that point. They also offer sites in Prophoto and Showit which are platforms specifically aimed at photographers and are more straightforward than WordPress.
Having access to the tutorials plus the guidance that Melissa gives meant that when it came to adapting The Design Space templates for my other sites, I was surprisingly competent. I'm very far from being an expert but dare I say it, I even quite enjoyed making the sites. If you get stuck at any point, there is a handy Facebook group or you can submit a ticket to the website which will be responded to quickly. So there is plenty of ongoing support and advice on how to keep your site up to date and as secure as possible.
The Design Space has rapidly grown into an inspiring megastore for photography brands and sites. You can literally pick a kit of the shelf and be live with it in a couple of days, you can use them as terrific starting points or you can go down the bespoke route. I feel like my brand and my knowledge has grown with The Design Space and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with next. They are always thinking ahead and each time they bring out a new site or a brand kit, I'm very envious. This time of year is a great time to work on your visual identity and marketing and I have to say, if I can build a website from one of these templates then absolutely anyone could.