What should I name my photography business?
[pull_quote_right] Chances are, catchy names, not evoke much of anything. [/pull_quote_right] People asking for help with naming your photography business is probably the question I see most often in photography forums. I end up answering it 3-4 times per day. Many new photographers struggle over what to name their business. They feel pressure to come up with something cute and catchy. However, the more time and energy photographers put into the naming process, often the more cliche and unappealing the names become. Consider names like these:
This list goes on. My question is, ‘What images do these names evoke in your mind?” Chances catchy names, do not evoke much of anything, because the names are too vague. “Through the Lens” could describe just about about any photographer. No individual comes to mind, and that is the beginning of my point.
Photography is a business of individuals. it involves individual clients connecting with individual photographers. The name and personality of the photographer are crucial to the identity of the brand. In nearly every way, the photographer IS the brand. Any type of catchy name just dilutes that brand in the eyes of potential clients. Look at the following example to see what i mean:
Let’s say the aforementioned Storybook Photo Studio is owned by photographer, John Smith. Now, let’s say Jane is a client that hires Storybook Photo Studio to photograph their wedding. John Smith is the photographer who shows up and does a fantastic job that Jane, the client, is very pleased with. She ends up telling all her friends how wonderful John Smith was to work with. Now John Smith gets a reputation has a great photographer, but the name of this studio is Storybook Photo. Many clients will not link “John Smith” with “Storybook Photo.” Much of his good reputation will be lost on the fact that people will not always link his name to the name of his business.
The solution is simple. When I started my photography studio back in 2000, I really wanted to come up with a catchy name. Fortunately for me, I couldn’t think of one. And even if I could, I didn’t have the money or the business sense at the time to deal with the additional paperwork that comes from naming a business anything but my name. So, I ended up with Timothy Faust Photography. In hindsight, it was one of the best business decisions I have ever made. It was simple and effective. In three words I let the world know who I am (Timothy Faust) and what I do (photography.)
Not only does it simple and effective, it has also worked out very well for branding. When past clients want to refer someone to me, all they need to remember is my name, not the name of my business. When you Google “Timothy Faust” this website is the very first result. The next several results include my Flickr, Facebook, LinkedIn, online reviews, and other blog and social networking pages. It makes it very easy for individuals to find me.
Of course there are times when using your name, might not be the best method for naming your business. For example, if you are starting a studio that features multiple photographers that come and go over time, you want a studio brand that stays consistent. This is also a good idea if you plan on selling your studio one day, and do not want your name attached to it any longer. Also, using a different name can make your new company appear bigger than it is. For example, something like “Chicago Portrait Photographers” might give the impression that your company is the biggest in Chicago. It will also rank higher in the Google search results when people search for “Chicago portrait photographers.” However, bigger does not usually mean better. A name that attracts a high volume of clients will not necessarily attract the most money. Sears Portrait Studio is the highest volume studio in the country, but they operate on margins that are far to small for individual photographers.
If you have a common name, you might find that there are already other photographers with the same name. This can make things a bit more challenging. In that case, you can use a slightly different word than “photography.” For instance, If John Smith Photography is taken, try John Smith Studio, John Smith Weddings, John Smith Portraits, or even John Smith Photographic Arts. Ideally you will be far enough away geographically from the other photographer to not cause confusion. Also, do not worry about legal issues with using a similar name to someone else. Using your own name protects you against trademark issues.
Using your name for your photography business makes you, your skills, and your personality a major part of the brand. It lets clients know that you are willing to put your personal reputation on the line when it comes to your photography. It is simple and effective when describing to clients what you do. Putting your name up front will also help clients find you using internet search engines. Unless you have a compelling reason to do otherwise, you are probably best off just using your own name in your photography business.
Great Article from Not Your Normal Photography School: http://www.nynphotoschool.com/articles/busine…
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