Choosing Your Photography Business Name

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This blog was featured today over at Photography Awesomesauce – but I wanted to post it here too!

Today I want to dive in a little deeper about choosing your photography business name and the different options there are plus their pros and cons. When I first decided to become a photographer, it wasn’t from a place of wanting to make my career out of it. I was a teenager who loved working for the paper and I wanted to transition to photographing people. I knew the potential of doing this as a job so from the beginning I used my name as my business name. My name is obviously unique and I went back and forth between using “Julie Marie Photography” (very common but allows the use of my full first name, I was planning for a future married name) or “Julie Wilmes Photography” (a unique and memorable name but would be an issue for the future). I personally never considered using anything but my name, for no other reason than I love my name and wanted to stand behind it.

There were several pros and cons between my name and not using my name that I saw and I think they are ones you should keep in mind;

Pros & Cons:

People know you for YOU
– Pros: this is important because in my opinion it’s so vital to have people connect with you, it’s easier for them to see you as a persona/persona who is relatable. I’m more likely to trust my time, effort and money to someone whom I can get to know really well versus a business that is built on keeping the two separate.
– Cons: If you have a business that isn’t about the literal connection between you and your client (think Apple vs being “Steve & Steve’s Electronics”) then a cover name might be a good idea. Or maybe you NEED to keep your personal life very separate from your business? Then a pseudonym name name might be a good idea!

Easy to Remember
– Pros: Duh, you’re never gonna forget it and it’ll be easier to keep everything in line when you’re handling taxes, bank accounts and when you’re building your business you can pimp your name everywhere!
– Cons: If you have a difficult name (like me) then sometimes this can backfire because although it’s easy to remember my name, many people cannot pronounce it or they misspell it. Which while that’s annoying, I’ve had that my entire life – it wasn’t too hard to get used to it in my business.

Long Term Uses
– Pros: If you’re a guy, this is easy – because chances are, your name isn’t going to change. Or if you’re already married, using your middle name or some form of your name (IE: Julie Marie Photography) then you’ll get a long term use out of it!
– Cons: If you use your maiden name, you may end up having some issues if you get married. For instance, my married name is Julie Smith (super common right?) so I decided to leave my maiden name as my business name because it is more memorable and I’ve been working for 4 years to market my name. Now though, I’ve had to do so much to my business name to compensate the changes so that I can cash checks and deal with taxes. My friend Jeff actually had this huge issue because not only was his name common, but on google he shares his listings with a certain actor of the….pornographic variety. Needless to say, he chose to switch his business name from his personal name to a pseudonym name (Ten Oh Five Photography).

No matter what you do, there are a tons of options for you. You may want to use a pseudonym name for your business, but I strongly recommend that you consider using your actual name if you can because there is so much power in your name! What business name did you choose and why? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

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