Choose a Photography Business Name

How to Choose a Name for Your Photography Business

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As you are starting your photography business, it’s important to remember that along with keeping your schedule full of client photo sessions, you also need to build your brand and that starts with your business name. Choosing a business name for your photography business will probably be one of the most difficult decisions you will make about your business and should be heavily thought about before making a decision.

No matter what method you choose to use for making the decision for your photography business name, there are a few guidelines you should keep in mind before making the final decision.

  • Since you will most likely be conducting business online, it’s always a good idea to ensure that the dot com domain name is available for your chosen business name so that you can build your online identity around it.
  • It’s important that your name give a hint about what it is that you do. Sure, some companies can get away with it, like Google for example (who knew what it meant to Google something 20 years ago?) but for the rest of us, having a name with no description in it letting us know what you do, doesn’t typically work out well.
  • Make sure that your photography business can be said easily without pronunciation issues. You want people to be able to easily tell others where they had their portrait made at and they can’t do that very well if they can’t even say it correctly.
  • Be sure that your business name isn’t trademarked and is available for use.

Using Your Own Name in Your Photography Business

Definitely the most common way for photographers to name their business, using “your name photography” or some other form can be seen all over the Internet. In fact, if you run in a circle of photographer friends on Facebook or other social media website, they probably all have this as their business name.

Using your name is simple, sometimes can require less paperwork with your state in terms of setting your business up, and can actually lend to giving you more of an “artist” status to your business. This can be especially advantageous to portrait photographers who want to charge a premium amount for their services.

The most negative impact using your own name in your photography business has is that most of your customers will assume you will be the one doing the photography. Now, for many this will be just fine. However, think about down the road when you grow, take on more clients and are retail. You may want to hire other photographers to help you keep up with the workload. While some photographers have used other photographers, I can tell you that clients will still view it as not as good as the original…even if it really is. I did this in my own studio and many times my clients would ask to reschedule if I wasn’t available.

Get Creative with Other Languages

If you want to add a bit more creativity to your photography business name or don’t want to use your real name, there is a world of opportunities for having a bit of fun with different words from other languages. Just head over to Google translate and check out some words that mean something to you but can be translated into a different word.

Several years ago, I saw a photographer in my own area make use of this very same tactic, naming their business “Bella Photography”. If you look this up in the translator, bella in Italian means beauty. This is a fantastic word to go along with a portrait photographer and by making use of another language it takes on a very creative and romantic feeling. Since this was a wedding photographer, it made perfect sense!

Become Your Town

A fantastic way to name your business and take advantage of the marketing aspect of this idea, is to use the name of your town in your business. For example, if you live in Augusta, GA, like I do, you could call your business Augusta Portrait Studios.

Now, before you brush off this idea, think a bit about the online aspect of a name like this. When you search in Google for something in your area, don’t you often times put in what you are looking for along with your city and state? Just recently I had to get new tires put on my car and to find a place I searched for “Augusta, GA tire repair”. Because your domain name, company name and much of the content on you page would revolve around this name, you should be among the top of the results, which could lead to more business.

Use a Play On Words

Like any other business, there are a lot of words that go with photography that can be turned into something that is playful, fun and just plain clever. These could be simple words from the industry that when put together form a decent name: Say Cheese Photography, Picture Perfect Photos, We Snap You, In Focus Photography, etc.

Be careful when choosing to go this route, because while you can of course change your name later, it’s not a great idea to keep changing your name over and over again. You start to lose longevity of the brand you built and name recognition can become an issue. If you choose to use a play on words, just make sure you are wholly comfortable with the choice and it’s not overly “cutesy” for your taste.

When All Else Fails…Make it Up!

If you’ve tried and tried and nothing is happening for you in the way of the perfect photography business name, do what thousands of other businesses have done…make it up. Be creative and either put strange words together or come up with your own unique made up word. Just look at Google…completely made up word that means nothing, yet now means so much to the practically the entire world.

Is it Available?

You aren’t done yet! Once you’ve chosen a name or two to consider for your photography business you will want to make sure that your name is available for use in your area. Notice I said in your area. That’s because there are many small businesses who share names with other small businesses in other parts of the country. As a starting place, you should conduct a Google search for your business name and see if anyone else is using it.

Found another business with your name? Don’t call it quits yet. This can happen. The first thing you will want to do is check the United States Patent and Trademark Office (or whatever country you’re in) to see if it’s trademarked. If the name is in fact trademarked, you should probably go ahead and go back to the drawing board. However, if it’s not and if the other business isn’t in your state you can still consider it. Having said that, I would also make sure that the domain name was available before making the decision as well. You may also want to contact an attorney to make sure you aren’t crossing any legal boundaries that could land you in trouble.

This is just my opinion when it comes to domain names, but for me personally, your domain name should match your business name. Yes you could add things like words to the end like “online” or “website” such as www.yourstudioonline.com instead of just www.yourstudio.com but honestly, that’s a branding mistake and not one I would want to risk. The other thing I would ensure is that it’s a dot com domain name. Yes a dot net could also work, but if you have to go that route, that usually means someone else has the dot com and if it’s a similar business, even if it is out of your area, that can lead to trouble and lost clients. Not that they could take your clients because they are out of the area, but because people may assume they have the wrong site and not look further for you. Your best bet is a dot com with your exact business name.

Once you’ve got your business name picked out, you’re in for the long haul on starting your photography business. Be sure to continue reading more about startup costs, building your brand and pricing.

Still looking for your business name and want some feedback? Feel free to leave a comment below and ask. You can also share if you’ve found the perfect name for yourself and want to brag a little. Best of luck and much success to you and your business!

12 comments for “How to Choose a Name for Your Photography Business

  1. January 10, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Another problem in naming the business with your name in it is that if you ever decide to sell it and move on – it will be harder to sell branded with your personal name.

    I would reconsider this approach and name it something that’s memorable and easy to sell along with the business if you ever choose to go that route!

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      That’s definitely a possibility and something someone could run into should they ever sell. From what I’ve seen in the past when a photography business sells, they typically are selling their client base, equipment, even the building, but most don’t usually keep the name. I do think a photography business is a slightly different beast when it comes to selling because it’s more about the assets then the brand. It’s to bad it ends up that way because some photographers have done an amazing job at branding themselves.

      • January 11, 2014 at 12:53 am

        I would think the brand would matter, especially with all the marketing etc. that was done for the business. Wow, ya learn something new every day! Including me! :)

        • January 13, 2014 at 5:16 pm

          It still can be, if you’re a HUGE name. When I think of the ones that matter it would be the big chains. And I’m sure it’s not always the case, but from the ones that I’ve seen sold, and have had several friends do it…including myself…they simply bought the assets. But trust me when I say…those assets of a client list is worth a lot! Usually, other photographers are buying the business and they slowly integrate them into their own business under their own name and the one they bought goes away or is known as “so and so bought them out”.

  2. Lina
    January 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Although aimed at photography, this is really excellent information for any industry. As a 1-woman show, I mixed and melded the digital aspect. Fantastic information and shared!

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      That’s true Lina! Every business type should put a lot of consideration in their name. It sticks with you for a long time.

  3. January 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Very resourceful article Misty, great tips for anyone trying to select a business name. It’s not as easy as one would think and should be consider long and hard but eventually just choose and get the business going.

    • January 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks Marilyn! it’s a tough decision for sure.

  4. January 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    This is great advice for people picking a name for any business, let alone photography.

    • January 13, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Thank you Lynda. It really could apply to anyone for sure.

  5. January 11, 2014 at 6:41 am

    I mentor start-ups in a local business centre from time to time and this is definitely solid information. In fact one of my current clients is a professional news photographer who is going out on his own. Good stuff.

    • January 13, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Mel. That’s awesome to hear from someone in your profession.

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