What's in a name?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by indeedies, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    I've been struggling with this for about three weeks now. I'm tyring to start my own business and still stuck on tyring to find a name. I am currently getting my degree in business/accounting so know the importance of starting a business correctly instead of just jumping into things. I also know that the main reasons photography business fail is because the photographer doesn't know how to run a business. So this is where I am now. I have the basics of photography down (at least I think I do), I've shot families, friends, friends, of friends, and a few paying family portraits. I intern with a photographer and read about photography everyday. I practice on the weekends and then practice some more.

    I started the business like any noob. I hoped someone would find me and ask me to shoot their wedding. Obviously this was a fail and so then I started marketing myself. Mainly amongst friends of friends on Facebook. I soon realized I don't want to go near a wedding with a camera ever again.

    My current name; Forever Ever Photography screams wedding photographer and I want to get away from that. Right now I'm focusing on family stuff. Trying to brand myself as the family photographer who puts all his focus on that family. Kind of like the family dentist except fun lol.

    So I was thinking about just using my name as my business, Shawn Hansen Photography. What do some of you pros think of this? As far as the advantages I see: It has room for me to move from genre to genre. If I want to become a sports photographer I have that potential without having to try and change my name again. The disadvantage that I can see though is that it's sort of generic. Might get lost amongst the hundreds of photographers out there.

    What are your guys' thoughts? If you've made it this far in my long post I truly appreciate it and any advice you may offer.
     
  2. iAstonish

    iAstonish TPF Noob!

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    :lol:

    Nah, but seriously. Finding a name isn't always easy. You want to find something that represents your motives and ambitions as a photographer, while captivating potential clients. It's no easy task.

    I say using your name would be just fine. You said you are into marketing correct? I'm sure marketing, portfolio, experience, etc will be more important than a gimmicky name. Just my opinion though.
     
  3. FrankLamont

    FrankLamont TPF Noob!

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    A few letters. Why?

    ;)

    Just yankin' ya. Still, it's the way you present it that's more important. At times, a cliched name is not appreciated.
     
  4. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    That's kind of what I was thinking. Take my name and just market accordingly. Thanks for the input and if anyone has any other advice I'd gladly take it ;-)
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You might want to look for a really good domain name that is still available, and then use that as your name.

    Part of the problem of picking a name, is that that once you do, your next step is often creating a web site....but if you can't find a good domain (short, easy to spell & remember) to match your name, then you might be in trouble.

    As for using your name vs using a business name, it's hard to say. People have been successful either way.
     
  6. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    That's the problem I've been having Mike. I wanted to go with something simple like Photos by Shawn but the domain name is already taken. shawnhansenphotography.com is still there but I just feel like it may be too long. I guess this is my problem. Finding a way to use my own name for the business that has an available domain name. What do you think of Photos by Hansen (www.photosbyhansen.com)?
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That sounds pretty good to me.
     
  8. erichards

    erichards TPF Noob!

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    Another thing that you'll want to look into as well as an open domain name is that the name is still available as a business name. (having the same business name as someone else doesn't fly). Also, I know for sure in MN it's easier and cheaper (paper work etc...) to just use your own name as the business name like you have above. Maybe just Hansen photography would work for you and allow you to jump from genre to genre easily. Though with each jump new marketing is required to ensure everyone knows you've made the switch. Check out SHPhotography.com as a site name as well if you want to use the full name approach. And most states also have a FREE business guide with almost if not all the info you will need to get started as a business in your state.

    Good Luck!
     
  9. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys. Great advice!
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    If you're going to be doing retail photography, most people will hire you based on your personality.

    What may seem to be a 'catchy' name to you, may seem sophomoric to some potential clients.

    To me the word photos in a photography business name doesn't really convey a sense of high quality. I like the word images instead:

    Photos by Hanson

    Images by Hanson conveys more of a sense of professionalism and value. (if the domaine name is still available)

    You can sell images for more money than you can sell photos, KWIM.

    By the same token, instead of photography I like the word productions.

    Hanson Productions :thumbup:
     
  11. cirekoy

    cirekoy TPF Noob!

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    In regard to domain names, don't worry too much about the length, worry about memorability. Phrases are more memorable than abbreviations or numbers, for example. Words with less unique letters tend to be easier to remember than words with lots of different letters. Also keep in mind the problem with ambiguous spelling, Sean vs. Shawn, etc. Just be sure to print your domain name on everything...

    Using your last name as part of the business name is good. It isn't gimmicky, and it makes legal matters somewhat easier since you might not need to bother with a DBA. What you loose is the "sticky factor" that all the most successful brands have. But of course, you don't need to be a "Kodak" to be successful!
     

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