What’s In A Name?

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You’ve decided that you want to jump into the fray and start your professional photography business. Great! Now what are you going to call it? It’s head-scratching time. Photo-related words and phrases start popping into your cranium; words like, “creative”, “distinctive”, “unique”. Just add photography and there you go. “Creative Photography.” “Distinctive Photography,” “Unique Photography.” These names are about as original as “Classic Vanilla” ice cream – and just as vanilla, too.

Can you imagine how many “Distinctive Photography” businesses there are? First thing I would ask you is, why your photography business is distinctive (or unique or creative)? In other words, prove it! My next questions would be, “How memorable is your business name?” Does it set you apart from all the other photographers? Will it fit into a logo?

One thing we have established is brevity. The above monikers are short enough, but that’s all I can say about them.

As I was contemplating my professional business name, a couple of things occurred. In deep thought (I could smell the wood burning…) I came up with, “Celebrating Life Through Photography”. Then I shortened it to “Celebrating Life Photography”, then I lengthened it again! Then I went to a professional photography convention and signed my name on my “Hello, my name is…” badge and something serendipitous happened for me. Someone I met at the convention said, “I like your logo.”

“What logo?,” I asked.

“Your signature. Isn’t that your logo?” another professional inquired.

There, sitting literally right under my nose was both my business name and logo and I didn’t even know it!

As a former art teacher, you’d think that I wouldn’t have missed it! Duh! My signature is a reflection of my artistic talents and it was “creative, distinctive, and unique” enough to become my brand.

“Celebrating Life Photography” is a perfectly good name. It projects my position on photography for at least two reasons. First, my love of photography liberated me from a job in which I was increasingly discontent, and second, it was my ability to capture moments of people’s lives and preserve them for posterity. I know, this last one sounds a bit pedestrian, but it truly gives me great pleasure in hearing my clients responding enthusiastically over my work.

One grandmother wrote these words to me:

“I wasn’t able to attend my granddaughter’s wedding, but your photography made me feel that I was actually there. I cried tears of joy.”

With that kind of testimony, I knew I was sailing on a lifting breeze and I realized that, “Celebrating Life Through Photography” could become my tagline. In one swell foop, I had a name and a brand that eventually boosted my business into the top spot in my community. My signature and tagline immediately conveys my creativity and personality, and that’s what people are purchasing. (Read more about this in an upcoming article.)

Take a look at how Celebrating Life applies to my business. It covers babies and children, grade school events, breakfast with Santa, dance recitals, little league, senior portraits, engagements, weddings, family portraits – you name it! There’s only one thing missing…me! That and the fact that my signature is a built-in logo helped me decide. Celebrating Life Through Photography felt like the perfect expression of my business philosophy! And, ultimately, even though it is a bit long, it became the memorable and recognizable trademark of my studio.

Now think about it. Your name is distinctively you. I am sure there are probably many more people out there with your name, just as there are with mine, but in my orbit, I’m the only one and in your orbit, you’re the only one. So what’s in your name?