The logo colors of photography

Harness the psychology of color to build your brand.
Phil the owl photographer has a bird's eye view for his shot

What color will give you the right exposure?

Photographers, it’s time to zoom in on branding. As a creative professional, your unique artistry needs to be captured in all things visual. Potential clients will be judging you from every angle, so it’s important to present an identity that’s as visually compelling as your images.
How do you choose a color for your photography logo that reflects your unique style and also helps you stand out from the crowd? We’ve analyzed the color palettes of over 200 photo industry logos, evaluated the brand personality traits that photographers want, and consulted color psychology experts in order to help you decide. 

Framed in black and white: a snapshot of the popularity of photography colors

  • Photography industry popular logo color choices
When we focus on the fact that photography companies are looking to impress clients with a high level of sophistication, and take the medium into account, it’s no surprise that black and white are the most popular logo design colors. Black is requested in 46% of photography logos on 99designs, and appears in a whopping 59% of industry-leading photography logos. Black’s classic partner in sophistication, white, comes in a close second at 41% both on 99designs and throughout the industry.
Beyond these classics, photographers on 99designs rely on the limited stock of gray and blue. Industry leaders only expose one more color with any sort of regularity: red. For a visual industry, photographers seem to shy away from full color logos. In particular, purple, brown and pink are almost always left out of the picture.

Industry-leading photography companies often rely on red to punch up the drama:
  • Elinchrom logo
  • AFGA Photo logo
  • Canon logo
  • Ritz & Wolf logo
The logos from the four of the top photography brands pair simple typography with a bold showing of red to focus the eye. 
The colors you select for your logo have a huge effect on how consumers view your brand. But before you start wondering how your small photography business can emulate the success of industry leaders, consider one huge difference: you. These companies are simply too huge to cater to a distinctive style, whereas your personality and style is what defines your brand. Are you a wedding photographer or do you specialize in commercial gigs? Are your images bold and beautiful or abstract and ethereal? How would your clients describe the process of working with you? 
Once you know what you want your brand personality to be, it’s easy to translate those traits into colors.

Get ready for your closeup: brand personality colors in photography

Start determining your brand personality by asking yourself these six questions:
  • Gender: Is my brand traditionally masculine or feminine?
  • Tone: Is my brand playful or serious?
  • Value: Is my brand luxurious or affordable?
  • Time: Is my brand modern or classic?
  • Age: Is my brand youthful or mature?
  • Energy: Is my brand loud or subdued?
We'll use your answers to see what logo color works best for you.
Your primary logo color is red, the universal sign of excitement, passion, anger and stimulated appetites. Think stop signs, agitated bulls and fast food joints. Looking for loud, playful, youthful or modern? Red’s your go-to.

If you’re going the red route, Pantone recommends using Cherry Tomato to stay on-trend with this year’s palette. Cherry Tomato is a powerful shade of red that packs an energetic punch sure to leave a lasting impact on your audience.
Your primary logo color is orange. Orange is an invigorating, playful color, the love child of red (warmth) and yellow (joy). Go orange to stand out from the crowd. It’s used less often than red, but still packs an energetic punch.

Pantone recommends Flame Orange in this year’s palette. If you decide to make Flame Orange the focal color of your designs, make sure to balance it out with plenty of neutrals to avoid making the end design visually overwhelming.
Your primary logo color is yellow, which is all about accessible, sunshiney friendliness. Yellow exudes cheer (think sunflowers and smiley faces). Choose yellow and your brand will radiate an affordable, youthful energy.

This year, Blazing Yellow made the cut in Pantone’s palette of the year. Use this hue in your design to stay ahead of trend and evoke warmth in your audience.
Your primary logo color is green, the ultimate in versatility. Green isn’t linked with specific personality traits, but it has strong cultural associations. It’s connected to nature, growth, rebirth and in the US … money and prosperity. So, whether you’re in finance or gardening, green may be for you.

This year’s Pantone shade of Lime Green is a little bit different. The vibrant lime hue is a little bolder, a little brighter, and a little more vibrant than more traditional shades of green—which adds a fun, youthful spin you won’t find in more subdued variations.
Your primary logo color is blue, the king of colors. Blue appears in over half of all logos because it represents intelligence, trustworthiness and maturity. Technology companies and large corporations lean towards blue’s steadfastness and security. True blue will make sure you’re taken seriously.

Pantone chose not one but two shades of blue for this year’s palette. Dazzling Blue is a classic dark blue that you can work into any design in any industry. Meanwhile, its sibling hue, Hawaiian Ocean, is a brilliant turquoise that evokes images of the ocean and is thus best for brands that want to be associated with calm, peace and tranquility.
Your primary logo color is purple, a warm and cool combination that blends the passion of red with the serenity of blue. Go with purple to appear luxurious, cutting-edge or wise. There’s just a hint of femininity in there, too.

Pantone lists Fuschia Purple in their palette of the year. It’s more of a pink than a purple, but because this shade is so vibrant, it can inspire feelings of excitement and passion like its parent color, red. Use Fuschia Purple in your design to blend the boundaries of purple, pink and red.
Your primary logo color is pink, which represents romance and femininity, but is also incredibly versatile. From millennial pink to neon magenta, pick pink for a modern, youthful, luxurious look.

Pantone lists Fuschia Purple in their palette of the year, though the hue is more like a reddish pink. Because this pink is so bright and close to red, the bold color choice would be just as effective for any kind of retail design. Use Fuschia Purple in your design to blend the boundaries of purple, pink and red.
Make your brand appear rugged, masculine or serious. Brown is very underutilized, so you’ll stand out from the competition.
Black is the new black. Want to look slick, modern and luxurious? Time to go black. Rather be economical and affordable? Stay away from the dark side.
The absence of color. White is youthful and economical, but can work for almost any brand. As a neutral color, consider white as a secondary accent.
Not quite dark, not quite light. Gray is the middleground of mature, classic and serious. Go darker to add mystery. Go lighter to be more accessible.
Here's how photography businesses on 99designs define their brand personalities:
  • Photography industry preferred brand personality traits
From this we infer that people in the photography business want to look luxurious, modern and subdued. These align with the following colors:
  • Photography industry brand personality-color combinations
Based on this, we would expect to see a lot of  purple, pink and black photography logos, and very few that are orange and yellow. 
In reality, we see a whole lot of black and white, with very little purple and pink. Black has high associations with being perceived as luxurious. It’s also versatile enough that, with the proper exposure, it can also be both modern and subdued. It seems to be a model color choice.
But what about purple and pink? How can they rank so high on the luxurious and subdued scales, yet appear in so few photography logos? What’s not taken into account here are the other associations with these colors. Pink is seen as feminine and nurturing; purple, spiritual and royal. Many photographers want to steer clear of colors that create such specific perceptions about their style. And they’re not alone: when we analyzed 527 leading logos across industries, pink and purple were among the least popular.
With a logo that’s primarily black and white, on the other hand, photographers can rely on their images to communicate a particular artistic style. The strong contrast of this classic combo provides the perfect foundation for adding personality through a dash of color. Bright accents grab attention and indicate aesthetic strength.

A winning lens: what colors should photographers focus on?

Most photographers prefer the tried-and-true duo of black and white when it comes to selecting logo colors.
But what if you want to shoot from a different angle and stand out from the crowd? If you’re willing to stray from the black-and-white standards of photography logo colors, there are several ways you can visually stand out, but still maintain a brand personality that’s high in luxury.
  • Psychology of color meanings
Both pink and purple are perceived as serious, subdued and mature, yet each appear in less than 2% of all industry-leading photography logos. If you want to play up your intelligence, consider the wisdom of purple. If you’d like to attract a new customer base for your business shooting newborns or weddings, nurture them with a pink logo.
You could also follow in the footsteps of photographers on 99designs who have chosen to play up other brand personality traits in their logo color choices.
  • Marta Eve Photography logo
  • Fotostat logo
  • Nicholas Critelli Photography logo
Developing your brand is as important to your business as your arsenal of camera lenses (and thankfully, it’s a lot cheaper). As you set out to design your photography logo, you’ll want to take your brand personality into account, and think about the traits you most want to convey. Color is a personal choice, but understanding color psychology in marketing can help you make an informed decision for your small business.
Have we confirmed your choice for black and white? Or made you pine for purple? Either way, when you design your logo you’ll know it’ll be one that captures your personal style.

Blue collar, white collar, purple collar: what are the colors of other industries?

Accounting    |    Agriculture    |   Healthcare    |    Legal    |    Marketing & PR    |    Real Estate    |    Retail    |    Technology

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