Education for passionate photographers who want to grow their business to a full-time thriving career
There I was, a couple of days ago cruising along on the internet when I came across an article, “300 Clever Photography Studio Names”. Of course I had to click to read more, and sure enough there were 300 names including – Moments Maker, Snap Perfect, Special Moments Studios, Strike a Pose Photography. Ok… let me just put my eye roll face emojis away and chat about this for a while.
You’ve finally decided to take the leap and begin your photography business. The idea of being your own boss is fun, a bit scary, and a very overwhelming with so much to do! Those are the exact feelings I had starting my business. I also remember being extremely preoccupied – okay OBSESSED with finding the perfect name for my photography business. I thought that something cutesy would be fun. Something perhaps that would incorporate my four daughters into the name – like “4 Daughters Photography”? Now, being an experienced photographer with a high-end wedding clientele, I am glad I didn’t go with that idea. Not that it was horrible, I just wasn’t thinking years ahead about how I plan to scale and grow my business.
When choosing to name your business, be sure not just to look at the road right in front of you, what are your dreams, your aspirations? When they choose you to shoot the cover of Vouge or Brides Magazine, what name do you want to be associated with that? Let’s take a moment to think about what’s in a name. Think of some of the high-end designers – Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior, Prada, and Louboutin. Each of these high-end designer businesses bear the names of their founders. That expensive handbag is not sold by a company called “Handy Handbags” – of course not, everyone knows it’s a Louis Vuitton. Those are not “Red Bottom Shoes”, they are the exclusive Louboutin. There is something to be said for luxury and the name tied to it. There is so much brand recognition that can go into using your own name as your business name. Why? No one can copy you, it’s your name.
We often talk about how we run our business on a very personal level – a first name basis – we want our clients to get to know us as people, not just a vendor who shows up on the day of their wedding. When we chose to name our business Marc & Mindy, we did it because we have learned over the years we’ve been doing this that people feel most comfortable with putting their trust in a person vs. putting their trust in a business. Think about it this way – you have a client that is extremely happy with the work you provided them. They want to refer you to all their friends. Think about how you’ve been communicating with them throughout the process. More than likely they know you by your name first. Considering that is typically how people sign their emails, that makes a lot of sense. Becca goes to tell her friend about this amazing photographer, and says… “her name is Kate, the business is – Special something photography, or special snaps or something like that.” It’s easier for people to relate and refer to a name vs. a business. It’s much more personable that way.
If we’ve convinced you to use your name, great. What are the next steps? You want to ensure your name is available as a domain as well as on the social media platforms that you wish to have your presence. Say for example your name is Kelly Grace Harris. Perhaps Kelly Harris Photography is taken. Consider using your middle name or nickname. Need more ideas, how about similar domains such as Kelly Grace Studios or Portraits by Kelly G. The one place this can get tricky is when there is a similar named business in your same geographic area. This may be something you want to be aware of and check before making a final business name decision. This can cause confusion when clients are searching for your services.
OK – so if we haven’t sold you on the idea of using your own name here are a few suggestions for choosing something different. Don’t overcomplicate your business name. Keeping your name short and sweet will help people remember it easier. Remember, “Short – Sweet – Timeless”. Don’t name your business “The Moody Boho Photog” if that’s a type of genre or edit you will still be doing 10 years down the road. What if you want to change your focus of photography genre – “Shmoopsie Pie” may be great for attracting newborn or pet clients, but might not scale the same why when trying to attract brides. Don’t even get me started on the nightmare SEO of such a name change. I’ll just say it again friend – what’s more timeless than your own name?
There are, of course, a few exceptions to our suggestion of using your name for your brand. You wish not to have your name directly tied to your genre of photography. An example of this might be boudoir photography – since this line of photography is perhaps a little more risque – you may not want your child’s third grade teacher coming across your name on your boudoir business. That is a comfort level that needs to be determined by you.
You may want to think of an alternative business name If your name is hard to spell or pronounce. Sometimes you see this in schools, my daughter’s teacher is known as Mr. G. because when he started at the elementary school, the young children had a hard time pronouncing or remembering his name. In this case, perhaps consider shortening a long last name or consider a middle name as an alternative.
The final reason you may not want to use your own name for your business is if you run a business that has multiple photographers. In this case having a “Studio” name may be more appropriate and less misleading to couples who are looking to book your specific services.
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