What's in a Wedding Business name...? Advice needed

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by rick_shanahan, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. May I ask your opinion on how important you feel it is to potential clients that
    a photographer have a business name? Is 'Rick Shanahan Photography' going to
    lose me business that having a cleverly named photography 'company' would win?
    Any thoughts on this? Do you think that most clients are objective enough to
    judge on quality of work alone?

    Thanks very much.

  2. I think, clients pay attention to the name of business in last turn.
    Quality of work and the recommendation is more important... IMHO..
  3. A benefit is that a business name can be more memorable to people that don't know you.

    It also might seem to some potential clients that you are more than a one man show if you have a business name.

    So, I guess if the clients haven't seen you or your work yet, and all other things being equal, a made-up business name might have a bit more pull for some people. It depends largely on you name and the business name you choose.

    Anthrax Photography of Satan vs. Rick Shanahan Photography

    Go with your name.

    Amazing Moments Photography vs. Fred Phlemgh Photography.

    Go with the business name.
  4. I think "clever" business names are a slippery slope. What you might find clever, potential clients might find cheesy. Rick Shanahan is a nice, strong name that is simple enough to pronounce so I think I would stick with that.
    Also, it seems like it would be easier to brand yourself using your name because people associate your work with you as an individual as opposed to a faceless company. If I see a photography studio has a company name I automatically think there is a team of photographers. I might be wrong but its just the impression I get.
  5. Thanks Marlena. :)
  6. For me, photography is a one on one business. This is especially true for wedding photography. I thinking letting your clients know you're a one man company is a positive in these cases. Otherwise they might think your company is too big to give good service to every customer. I think keeping your name in your business name says you are willing to stand behind your work because it's your name and it's your reputation on the line.
  7. All good points.
  8. If years down the road, you want to sell the biz, selling a biz that doesn't have *your* name on it may be easier. Just my .02, FWIW...
  9. Rick Shananhan Photography is a fine name but I'd prefer Richard Shanahan Photography (providing of course, that Richard is your given name). Just my .02, FWIW.
  10. Rick:

    I took a look at several photographers I respected. They were all, without an exception, using their names. XXX Photography.

    I took a look at the ones using "cute" names. Great Shots. Endearing Moments. Moment in Time. Very, very cheesy.

    When it comes to my own family portraits, I would feel more comfortable going to Joe Schmoe Photography than Happy Snaps, Inc.

    So I decided to use my own name in my business.

    Just my opinion. I'm sure there are very talented and successful photographers operating under cute names.

  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    >>> how important you feel it is to potential clients that a photographer have a business name? <<<

    Firstly, though it might be different in your area, to be a `business` where I reside one MUST have a business name, so to me and to all my client`s it is critical I have a business name, otherwise I am conducting affairs illegally.

    Moving on:

    I have no point either way if the business name being the Owner`s name ONLY (i.e. sans `Company`) influences the type of customer who wants to deal with the boss, owner or primary those customers ask that for that anyway, regardless of business name.

    And again, where I reside one CANNOT use `COMPANY` unless one is indeed a company, so I suggest you check that out too.

    Also it is my feeling, that in the Wedding Business, it is more likely to encounter the client wanting a more personal approach, so, they, initially will not be swayed by `company` for example after `Rick Shanahan`, if Rick answers the phone, or is available to take their call etc. And, also, a smart name, (i.e. sans `Rick Shanahan`) might indeed be EXCLUSIVE to prospective clients

    Let`s note these:

    Some problems I have noted in the business name being the name of the owner:

    1. Might be a problem name (as mentioned): Richard Headly Photography

    2. Will be a problem selling the business (as mentioned).

    3. Will have customers, knowing the name, wanting that person only to deal with them.

    There are also problems with creative business names:

    1. `Greenacre Photography` (location specific) - `oh they are too far away`

    2. `Simplistic Wedding Photography` (The owner`s thought it was a good idea, the customers however are precious, no Bride`s Wedding is `Simple`

    3. `New Age Weddings` - but Mum and Gran want some traditional portraits too?

    IMO, the Business Name IS very important, but for a Wedding Business only, run as a Sole Trader / Sole Practitioner, and with the long term view of NOT selling it I doubt the differences between:

    `Rick Shanahan Photography` and `insert clever name Company`

    will be great impact to many or cause many WEDDING prosects to initially enquire or not.

  12. I think Marlena and Ryan make excellent points. I chose Sam Ellis Photography because I am the sole proprietor and I do not forsee selling a wedding photography business. I believe having the person's name shows they have pride in who they are and the work they do.

  13. Hmm I think a good name is a neutral thing it wont make or break you, but a bad name can hurt you! I dont think you can go wrong with your name. I use my initials " photography by my initials" just because my last name is hard to prounounce. If it were somehow related or could tie in I would try and get clever... Like if your name were richard Moments or somthing like that I would go with " Moments photography" So as Ed said stay away from Anthrax Photography of Satan all together, and unless your a "Rick's Precious Moments" type of guy I would stick with your name and somthing solid!People wont be put off by your name, its not Seymore Butts Photography or anything. In any case go with what represents you and your company the best because in the end that is what you are selling.
  14. All good advice, thank you. And David, I believe I will go with Richard...thanks!
  15. Fred Phlegm Photography! That's hilarious. You have me now rethinking my business name.

    I spent a lot of time thinking about what to name my business. At first I thought the names I was seeing with a simple "Photography" slapped on the tail end of the photographer's name were boring and self-serving. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it seemed the best way to go. "Ace Photography" sounds much cheesier than "Frederick White Photography" (I go by Fred, but like David's comment I also realized that Frederick sounded a bit more professional for a business name). I also did what Eric did and scoped out all the photographers that I respect -- and without exception, they followed this mentality.

    I agree with Marlena that people might see me as a photography factory if I used a made-up name (i.e. White Light Photography), and I agree with Ryan that positioning yourself as a small "one-on-one" company is a a benefit that should be marketed, not hidden.

    I also agree with Sam in that having your name on the door instills some sense of pride in one's services. And I think that people DO want to have the photographer whose name is in the company name work on their business -- but I don't think that's a bad thing. Since I'm the sole owner, I know they will always get that special treatment.

    One thing that I considered when picking out a name is how easy it would be to remember my URL (today's version of the vanity phone number like 1-800-CALLFRED). www.frederickwhitephotography.com isn't quite the catchiest URL, but I went with it. True, many hits to my site are from links, but as I do more and more in-person networking I'm finding more and more people typing in the address and coming in "through the front door". Would like to hear thoughts from you all on picking your site URLs.
  16. Remember, it's all about pulling in the customer and getting them to remember you. A good business name can do both more effectively in some cases, but as some have pointed out, you do have a strong and fairly easy to remember name to work with. :) Just remember, as has been pointed out, a name that is cheesy can do wonders to kill your business. "Friendly Foto" for example, doesn't exactly bring to mind a professional artistian. One more good thing to remember, whether you have a business name or not, is this: let's say you do a fantastic job for a wedding client, and they show thier friends. The friends ask "wow, who did your photos?" chances are, the bride will feel better replying with (and will most likely automaticly reply with) your name. "Oh, Rick Shanahan. Isn't he amazing?!" Even if she hands her friend a card with your business name, your personal name is on the line. Keeping this in mind, while I have a business name, I also put my personal name on my business card. You want people to remember you - your work. Have fun! -Heather

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