Four Steps to a Better Business Card

I just got hired for a shoot solely because of my business card. Here’s the deal…

If you are a photographer and you don’t have a photo on your business card then you’re simply doing it wrong. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional, hobbyist, amateur, or self-proclaimed iPhoneographer. Your job is to shoot and deliver photos, so make sure your business card reflects that. Your card may be the only way someone remembers you, and pictures stick in our memories longer than names and contact info.

Practically speaking, here’s how I recommend you do it and why:

  1. Pick ONE photo that serves as a testament to your style then print it full-bleed on one side of your card. Don’t try to squeeze three images on there; it will only weaken the impact.
  2. Don’t leave the photo by itself. (This is important! I’ll explain why below.) Include some sort of text on there like your website, but keep the text to a minimum so you don’t distract from the image. A photo with negative space is ideal because you can place the text directly on top of the image (it tends to feel too rigid if you have the text next to the image, rather than on top of it).
  3. On the back side is where you put all of your contact information. Keep it simple. Don’t make the two sides of your card fight for attention. This is where smart branding and typography will serve you well.
  4. Lastly, when you give someone your card hand it to them with the photo facing them. Often they will compliment your picture and in turn find one more reason to like you.

By having the main text and the photo on the same side it makes it clear to the viewer that that is the front side. If you put all the text on one side and then the photo by itself on the other side it immediately feels as if the image is on the back (i.e. the less important side). If someone is flipping through a stack of cards I want them to see my photo before they see my email address. It’s faster to process, it conveys a lot more information, and it’s easier to remember.

In my case I had given someone my card about 15 months ago. I emailed him promptly after we met and then followed up a couple weeks later, but I never heard back from him. I figured he knew enough photographers already. Apparently he hung onto my card because I got an email this morning saying he needed a photographer this week. “Are you sure we haven’t worked together before?” he asked, “Because I’ve got your card and I don’t know how else I would’ve gotten it –it had the picture of the benches in the snow… yeah, I liked it.”

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One thought on “Four Steps to a Better Business Card

  1. For what it’s worth, I prefer standard size business cards (2″ x 3.5″) because they are easier to organize. I get annoyed with ones that are too big or too small to fit into my binder.

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