A frequent question I hear related to starting a photography business is, "what should I name my business?" As hard as this decision may feel, there are only three main things you really need to worry about:
1.) Time/Growth: Will it last? Can you grow with it? Will it out pace trends and stand the test of time?
2.) Memorability: Will people understand it easily? Will they be able to remember it? Can they spell it?
3.) The Feels: How does the name make your potential clients feel or what does it make them think about? How will the name fit in with the brand you are creating? Does the name align with the feeling you want the brand to exude?
The point of having a consistent and long term name for your business is so you can build a reputation and brand within your community that will help potential and current customers recognize you. Picking the best fit from the start will help you avoid all of the work involved in changing names and will allow the community to support your business without confusion. Think through your long term goals because picking the best fit from the start can eliminate headaches down the road. Changing a business name can be a lot of work if you consider all of the marketing materials, online profiles, and swag a business can utilize. There are costs associated with buying new domain names, a new logo, or a new website design.
Typically photographers chose from one of two types of business names: using their personal names in the business name or creating a non-personal name.
1.) Using your personal name in the business name: Many photographers choose a very easy route and go with something like "Your Name Photography" or "Your Name Photo". There are many variations you could choose using your personal name and adding something descriptive on the end, such as: photo couture, portraits, portraiture, weddings, custom photography. Or perhaps, you could add something before your name, such as "Photos by Your Name" or "Photography by Your Name".
There are a few things to consider before using your name in a business name: growth and goals. Consider where you see your business years down the road. In the future, would you ever consider selling your business? Would you feel comfortable hiring other photographers to work under a brand that uses your name? Could you see that name as part of a photography chain store brand or as a part of a larger brand than just you working on your own?
2. Creating a unique business name: Other photographers may choose to use a business name that does not include their personal name. This would be a great option for a photographer who is interested in starting a photography chain, who desires more of a corporate feel, or just wants to completely separate their business and personal personas. Examples of names that do not include the photographer's personal name could be: Photo People, Photographers R US, or Mint & Honey Photography.
You can name your business after an object, location, theme, or make a unique word of your own (Think Google or Starbucks).
If you decide on this option, one thing to consider is what type of feel you want your business to have. It can be a lot easier to establish a personal connection with potential clients when your business utilizes a personal brand. Think through how you plan to relate and communicate with your clients. You want to choose a name that matches how your brand feels to people.
Either Way, Consider This
Once you have a good short list of names, ask yourself these questions:
- Is it easy to remember?
- Is it easy to spell?
- Is it easy to search for online (if someone misspells it, would it pop up anyway)?
- Can it fit nicely in a logo and business card?
- If you plan on opening a studio, could you see it as a building sign. Would it be easy to read from far away?
- Is the domain name available? Are the social media profile names available?
- What are the business laws in your area related to naming your business? Where I live, if you use your personal name in your business name you are exempt from filing certain forms and paying certain fees with the local government offices.
- Is it trendy? Will it last a long time?
- Can people easily understand what you do?
Do you need help deciding on a business name? Post your short list in the comments and get some help from me and your fellow readers.