The logo. That simple stylized image that is supposed to help people to recognize you. It's one of the first marketing moves you do when you see yourself as a not-just-a-camera-owner-anymore. But why do you do it?
No, I'm not talking about whether you should watermark your photographs or not. I'm talking about creating a logo which is an image representing your brand. Designing of a logo may cost you lots of time and money. You then ask people if they like your logo. You put it here or there on your photographs. You place it on your website. You change its placement. You refine it. It's lots of investment about the logo.
As I started my business, I also decided I needed a logo. I asked a designer to create one for me. I thought this logo will position my business better. Shortly after that I stopped using the logo.
It's a Business, It Needs a Logo, They Say
It is true that a business usually needs a logo. Do you know the logo of at least three famous motivational speakers? It's a business too. You don't remember their logos? They may not have any. But do you know their names?
It's Easier For People to Recognize Me By the Logo
Do you know the logo of Steven Spielberg? No? What about Annie Leibovitz' logo? Wait, she doesn't even have a website. That's why she doesn't have a logo, you may say.
The Photographs Are Products And They Need a Logo
Cars have logos. Today many cars look similar and we can differentiate them by their logo. We may not know who the car brand boss is, but we will recognize their logo. It's the same with pictures, they say. They are also products and we need to make a logo of us, so when people see it they know it's us. But how many people are behind a car and how many people are behind your photographs? Think about a classic Porsche. Do you need a logo when you see it? But many cars nowadays look very similar. You need to recognize them somehow. Are your pictures similar to others so that you desperately need a logo? Do you want people to remember you as "Oh, the photographer with that logo," or "Oh, the photographer with that style."
Logos Have A Long History
There were logos back through the centuries. Kings and rulers, famous and infamous, had their logos on their flags, scepters, crowns, seals, etc. Do you remember the logos of famous music composers? But you may recognize their style. When you listen to some type of music, you may say: This sounds like Bach. Do you remember Bach's logo or Bach's signature? Me neither. Although their style may be imitated, people always refer to the original.
Where Do You Display That Logo?
I haven't seen a photographer who is one of the official sponsor of the Oscars, or Formula 1, or a famous football team. Do you need to have a booth with your logo at a photography show? Maybe you have packaging you sell your images with. That's what I used my logo for back in the day. I don't use it anymore. Yes, I still have packaging but I don't use the logo anymore.
Who Needs a Logo?
If you are positioning yourself as a brand that is represented by a company of people, and you are known by the brand name, then you may think of having a logo. Corporations need a logo as many times the CEO may change or they don't want to use their own name for their products and services. Large production companies need a logo. But for an individual photographer, you don't need to hide behind a logo or a brand name saying "we" (and most of the time you are all by yourself).
What You Actually Need As a Photographer
For individual artists there's no sense of layering your name with one more level of abstraction which is а brand name, or a logo. If you are working as an artist, your name is more than enough. You don't need a logo. You need a body of work attached to your name. Don't spend your time and money on logos. You need a good portfolio. It is easier to join and leave a production company when you already have a name, rather than the opposite — to try to build a name reputation once you've been hiding behind a brand name and a logo for a long time. Your parents already took care of your business name. Use it instead and work on your portfolio, not on your logo design.
You don't need a logo. You have your name. Do people know it?