How to Choose a Name for Your Business?

How to Choose a Name for Your Business?

Whether you are an owner of another company or someone with a nine-to-five job, you may want to start your own business offering photography or video services. This article will give you advice about how you should and should not name it.

Although the tips below are written in relation to photography and filmmaking, they are also universally applicable to any other industry you are entering into.

Obvious Options

"John Doe Photography," of course, is the first thing that comes into one's mind. Now that photographers are trying to offer a fusion of services, including video, probably "John Doe Photo and Video" is a good choice as well. The nice thing about that approach is that it speaks to the customer right away. For example, if you haven't heard of Apple before, you might think they are a grocery store or a farmers' market. And yes, in my opinion, naming your company "Apple" is a weird choice, or there's something behind it that I am not aware of.

Lately, the John Doe approach has become an object of ridicule because many camera owners decided to become businesses. There's nothing wrong using that kind of business name, but it's the bad photographers who made it look laughable.

Getting Bigger

This inevitably will make you ask yourself if you want to provide extra services, hire more people, or move to a different and better location. Will "John Doe Photography Studio" look good on 5th Avenue? Probably. Maybe "John Doe Studio" will sound better. What if you open several studios? Will "studio" in your business name require a plural form?

The Grandiose Start

Another option is to sound big right from the very origins of your business. If you think you'll become the next Canon (don't blame me, that's the first thing I saw when I turned my eyes to my camera bag), you can go with "Doe Camera Corporation," despite the fact you just got an entry-level camera and a portable flash as a present from your parents. In the first 10 years, it may sound out of context, especially when you invoice parents for photographing their children, but on the bright side, you can stay positive and hope that one day your company will get to the top.

The Mixed Approach

As you saw, starting small or starting big has its pros and cons. This is why I'd advise separating your services or products from your company name. Thinking of a company name that doesn't have a direct relation to what you do will give you the freedom to start different services and products under its name that has a very concrete meaning to the users. How many of you know that the company that manufactures Lumix cameras makes vacuum cleaners as well? 

After all, said, it is probably not a terrible idea to name your company after a fruit.

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8 Comments

Graham Glover's picture

I'm an amateur photographer. I just switched service providers for hosting my photos. When I did that, I bought a domain: grahamglover.com

There's scottkelby.com peterhurley.com joemcnally.com jaymaisel.com

They are their brands. Their names say everything. They either make it or they don't, but they are their brands.

grahamglover.com

As I said, I'm an amateur, a hobbyist. The above are four people who have excelled in the photography world. I will likely never be known for my photography, but I'm fine having my name associated with it. Should there come a day when people know who I am, that would be fine.

My name is my brand.

Dan Seefeldt's picture

AAAA photography. Imagine the value of that name if you want to sell the business.

Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net Studios, Inc.

Guillermo Fierro's picture

Good article, but Annie Leibovitz or Tim Tadder do not use a CORP or COMPANY name, they use only his name. They sell a service, not products, so it is logical to use only their name. If you dont´t have in mind to sell your photo company in the future, so there is not reason to name your business like a COMPANY.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Are you sure their registered company name (not their website or their brand or servcie name) is the same? There is a vast difference between the registered company name (within the government institutions) and the service or product name. For example the company name of Tim Tadder is "Tim Tadder Photography," while everywhere you will see him as just "Tim Tadder" as a service name. If you get invoiced by him you will see the company name, not the service name in the company details of the invoice. With the same success their company name could be "Pomelo," providing a service name called "Annie Leibovitz" and "Leibovitz Bakery." If you want to change your company name there are lots of legal issues and difficulties. If you have a company name you just create a different brand under the same company.

That feels like picking nits. Their brand is what matters. Technically Google is ABC Company which has more juice?

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Brand name and company name used for taxation are two completely separate things. "The Apple Group" is a company name, but iPhone is a brand name.

Exactly ... you are making my point unintentionally. The article is confusing branding with legal names.