How to Choose Your Photography Business Name

We all have a bit of time on our hands right now, and if you want to set up a photography business or perhaps reassess your current position, this is a great time to do it and this video offers advice on how to name your business and work out who it is that you are.

In this video I go over the fundamentals for setting up a photography business. It looks at how to decide on if you should use your name for your business, create a new identity and branding, how to decide who it is that you are as a photographer, and where to pitch yourself. Following on from this it tackles the problem of getting bookings. Looking at how you should aim to find your ideal client, what their problem is and how you can solve this. 

I have always been an advocate of really drilling down into a niche in photography. And as discussed in this video, if you want to get booked by people, it needs to be really clear as to who you are and what you are offering to your clients. Although it can be scary to say goodbyes to those three weddings a year that bring in that extra cash, having a clear identity as a photographer is one of the easiest ways to bring in more bookings and a higher income. Most potential clients will know of several photographers, when a job comes in for a hair salon, they will book the photographer who specializes in that, rather than someone who does it well but also shoots interiors. I personally think that this is even more important if you work as a commercial photographer in a small town or city. It would be near impossible to get booked for big out of town campaigns if you are a local jack of all trades, once you have specialized, your location becomes far less important. 

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10 Comments

Cristian G.'s picture

I'd advise anyone against using their real name in their photography business name :). You may never know when you'd like to close shop and move on, begin anew. Whereas if you screw up(maybe unintentionally) under your own name, that f*ck-up can follow you forever.

Scott Choucino's picture

I always think that risk, opportunity and reward have a pretty good correlation. I’d take the risk for the reward.

The advice of not using one's name is often cited as a barrier to selling the business. IMO the sale of a business was a possibility in the retail portrait studio days. As one could count on a certain amount of repeat/habit custom there was value in the reputation and the community familiarity of the business. That is a rare thing today.
Most single operator businesses are dependent on the reputation of the individual (for better or worse) and as such the name of the owner has value.
I named my business after myself as I have a certain visibility in my community (despite my native introversion). When I leave the field I have no illusions that anyone would wish to buy my business and will close it down.
Another thing in favor of the owner name is that the public is hard pressed to remember names of businesses they only periodically engage with. Person names are easier. I have a few friends who have "catchy" names and almost no one remembers the name of the business but they know the photographer.

Naming any business not just photography has certain rules and with Google search it is even more important not to do stupid things like using your name unless you are celebrity. You need to include what you do, how you do it and your location. Example:1. Photography/Wedding Photography/Food photography
2. Discount/Luxury/Exotic
3.New York/London/or any place that has name recognition.
Any combination of the 3 will work.
It is that simple. It could make you feel good to have your name on your business, but unless you are Sam Walton Sam's club is not going to work. I don't have my name in my business name but I'm on first page of Google search for my products in my area.

Actually, there are no rules for naming a business other than whether the state or county will permit a name so long as it conforms to their rules.
It is also still possible to have top ranked search results with the name. Using your own name is not stupid. Note the number of businesses in any city that have the owner's name. Many car dealers, construction companies, miscellaneous service businesses and the like.
The real goal is to create attention and that is done with a combination of tools, search among them. Moreover, once you have a recognizable presence in your market, you do those things to protect and enhance your reputation.
I would note that recent news items of bad behavior of photographers made their names memorable in their community whether or not their name was "John Smith Photography" or "Kissy-poo pics"

You are absolutely right. I should have specified that I was referring to new small mom and pop size business like photography. You start with hole in a wall size studio and no customers. You need to let people know what you do and let them find you. Of course if you are opening or maintaining multi million dollar business with huge sums of money for advertising you can name it anything you want. JCPenny and Macy's come to mind. If your are photography business size of Lifetouch, then you can name it Sam's photo and it wouldn't matter.

Deleted Account's picture

I suspect using your own name is largely dependant upon your personality. If you are broadly liked then using your name is fine and vice versa.

If you are broadly disliked then you won't have a business....so no problem.

Deleted Account's picture

Demonstrably untrue.

Stuart Carver's picture

Seeing as you didn’t ‘choose’ the right word for the title I’d be asking someone else to do it:)

Kidding, it’s a funny thing choosing a business name isn’t it, trying to be different from the crowd isn’t always wise.