This is a good article, written by an art buyer, with some good advice on branding and identity as a creative professional: Ask an Art Buyer: The Importance of Branding and Other Things
A couple of things stick out to me. First, while branding is important, don't put effort into your brand at the expense of your work:
"I don’t mind if photographers want to bling out their promos for extra attention as long as the quality of the work goes along with it. What I don’t dig, is photographers spending what looks like a ton of money on business cards, expensive promos or portfolios meanwhile they really need to spend more time crafting their work."
And second, in the example used in the article, the photographer hired a designer to craft his identity and put together his marketing materials:
"I decided to hire a designer to create my look on market. As a photographer who appreciates good design, I saw the benefit in hiring a professional to help establish something memorable and edgy to represent my style."
As photographers we bring value to our clients through our experience and expertise in our medium. Unless you're also a graphic designer, why wouldn't you want to hire a professional to bring that value to your identity? The investment is absolutely worth it, and it doesn't have to be a big cash outlay. Make contact with students in the graphic design program and trade work with them - designers frequently need good photography for their projects and many will be more than happy to work on an identity design for you in exchange.