Are you looking for name ideas for your photography business? Coming up with something that fits the bill can seem a daunting task. Everyone wants to find that perfect name that is clever, creative, and unique but also professional and memorable.
Here's a look at how you can approach finding your business name with a little thought and research. It doesn't need to take very long, but you will definitely want to consider some of the strategic implications and how they might affect your business in the long term.
Importance of Naming Your Photography Business Carefully
They say you get no second chance to make a good first impression. In business, your business name is often one of the first impressions you make on new clients. So it only follows that choosing the right business name is a big deal.
But stop for a moment and consider exactly how important it is from a marketing perspective. Your name needs to embody not only what your business does but its mission and values. Here is a complete guide on how to start your business and turn your ideas into success. It is a foundational part of your brand identity. To that end, it's worthy of some careful consideration. And, in most cases, it is too important to use a pun or a funny play on words.
What all should your name capture? It's far more important that it communicates the product that a customer will get - that is, after all, what you are selling. When customers hear your business name, they should also get a pretty clear idea of what you do.
Building a Brand Identity
For a photographer, your brand is closely linked to your artistic identity. But in the big picture, going with your own name isn't always the best choice. It all comes down to how you see your business five, ten, or even twenty years in the future. Do read the Ultimate Handbook on how to start a Photography Business in 2023.
Ideas for a photography business name nearly always fall into two camps - one says to base it around yourself, i.e., Joe Schmoe Photography. There are a lot of advantages to this tactic. If your business comes from your art-an art that no one else can - then you're building your brand by using your name.
This is particularly true of fine art photographers and other shutterbugs with unique perspectives or aesthetics. Travel, wildlife, and nature photographers might sell their work to magazines and stock agencies. Using their legal name is a great starting point for these artists.
On the other hand, if you run a portrait studio or wedding photography business that you want to grow and expand, using your name might be counterproductive. If you hire a new photographer, is the bride okay with not getting you and getting the other photographer? How do they feel when they've paid big money for Joe Schmoe Photography, but Billy Comelately shows up? No matter how talented a photographer Billy Comelately is, he'll never be Joe Shmoe, the original.
The same thing can be said about business name ideas for photography that use geographic places. For example, if you use Bay Area Photo as your name, what happens if you want to move one day or take up travel photography? This is an excellent tactic for building a family portrait studio, however. It's also resellable since it does not brand you to the business you create.
The second tactic in naming a photography business is to name it something completely unrelated to you or your location. Some of these are cliche puns, but they don't have to be. Some are beautiful uses of adjectives that perfectly sum up your business. Think of examples like Nostalgic Portraits, Pet Snaps, Zoom-In, or Exposure.
Here are a few Unique Photography Business Name Ideas
If you hope your photography business grows beyond you in the future, you'll want to consider this when brainstorming ideas for a photography business name. If you aren't going to use your name, it frees you up to be as creative as you like.
Getting too unique and creative has some pitfalls, however.
Things to Keep in Mind when Searching for Business Name Ideas for Photography
Before deciding on a unique name for your photography business, you'll want to consider the pros and cons of each naming scheme carefully.
Here are a few general pointers and things to think about as you brainstorm name ideas for photography business startups.
- Use your name if you intend to be the face of your business
- Consider using your first or last name only in combination with a descriptor, i.e., Matt's Studio or Sally's Snaps, for a slightly more relaxed feel
- Do you want to limit yourself to just one type of photography, i.e., Paws for Photos, Babies and Cameras, etc.?
- Or, should you pick a name you can grow with your business? Don't limit your future options because of your name
- Creative names can be simple one-word descriptors, puns (Hot Shots), word mash-ups, or fun alliterations (Larry's Lens)
- Pick something simple and easy to remember
- Avoid confusing puns that might send people to the wrong website
- Anticipate errors in spelling and pronounciation
- Only include where you are located if you don't intend to be mobile
- Make sure it sounds good and is easy to understand
- Make sure it looks good and will work on logos and watermarks
- Ensure the domain is available before making your final decision
How to Come Up with a Business Name in 5 Steps:
As important as it is, don't knock yourself out by coming up with clever ideas for a photography business name. Here's a list of five steps to get the job done. Go through them carefully, but there's no need to overthink them. Getting too clever often backfires.
Step 1: Think Strategically About How to Come Up With a Business Name
Step 2: Brainstorm and Pick Favorites
Step 3: See which Photography Business Names are Taken
Step 4: Do a Little Market Research
Step 5: Try out your Photography Business Name for a Few Days
Step 1 – Think Strategically About How to Come Up With a Business Name
Before diving in, go back to the mission statement of your business. Don't have one? Think up what the single most important goal of your business is. Is it to be the best wedding photographer in the tri-city area? World renown wildlife photographer? A family portrait studio? A successful freelance photographer?
In addition to the singular mission of your business, think about your core values. Do any of these stand out as inspiration for your name?
Here's a mission statement from a photographer in San Francisco. "Providing outstanding family photography to the Bay Area for generations to come."
From this simple statement, you can see a few things about the business straight away. It isn't necessarily a business that sells one artist's work. It is also located in the Bay Area and specializes in family photography. Keywords you might want to pull out of this mission are Bay Area, family, and generations. For each of these terms, list as many synonyms as you can.
Be sure to dream big here. Look at what's important to you for the future. For example, do you want to build a brick-and-mortar business that you can pass down to your kids, or do you want to build your name recognition as a master in the field and as an artist?
Being early in the game, it's possible that you don't have a mission or core values down on paper yet. That's okay! These things sound official, but they are really the things you are already thinking about when you start a business. So take all those thoughts about why you should open a photography business and why it will be amazing and put them on paper. That's what this is all about.
Step 2 – Brainstorm and Pick Favorites
After considering the strategic things about your business, it's time to start coming up with ideas. Brainstorming is the task of coming up with everything you can. There's no wrong answer; anything goes. Just get it all out so you can sort through it and pick the gems.
Most folks grab an old-fashioned paper and pencil when it's time to brainstorm. But, as practical as it is, it is also symbolic. The purpose of brainstorming is to dump everything out of your head and pour it out like rain onto the paper. But, of course, you could use the notes app on your phone or even a mind mapping app specifically for brainstorming exercises.
Another great tactic is to use a big whiteboard or chalkboard. This enables you to start making connections between the ideas you like. Move things around, and create buckets with your favorite ideas and those that you really dislike. Yes, you should write down the things that come to mind that you aren't a fan of, too.
Once it's all out, start sorting. You probably have your messy ideas thrown all over the place. Put them into categories. Start by narrowing it down to the ideas and concepts you like, even if you haven't found quite the right word or phrase. Then, parse it out and work with each concept and idea, coming up with new and different ways to say it.
Brainstorming might take you a few days. Chances are, it will be the longest part of the process. But then it's likely something you've already started, even if you haven't put anything on paper yet. If you'd like some fresh ideas, try an online name creator. Keep working until you've whittled it down to your top three to five choices.
Step 3 – See which Photography Business Names are Taken
So now your brain is empty, and you've narrowed your favorite names down to a list of five or fewer. Here comes the painful part!
Type each one into Google and your other favorite search engines and see what happens. Does anyone else have a similar URL? What sort of hits are you getting with these terms? Are they your competition, or are they something different and unexpected?
This exercise looks much different if you are searching for your name versus one of the creative and unique business name ideas for photography. Creative names will have many more possible variations and are much more likely to be taken than your legal name.
If you find that your domain is already taken, avoid the temptation to use dashes or awkward punctuations. Chances are customers will land on the site you found and not yours, leaving them lost and confused. It's still early enough in the game that you can modify your business name a little. This is precisely why it's so important to check the domain name's availability early in the process.
Additionally, with the growing popularity of new domain extensions such as .io, .co, .org, and country-specific domains like .uk or .ca, there are plenty of alternatives to the traditional .com domain that can help you establish a unique online presence for your business.
Next, you'll want to do an official search of the fictitious business names for your state. Each state has a slightly different department that handles it, but nearly all have online, searchable databases. Make sure that the name you want is available. If it isn't, strike it off the list or retool it into something useable.
While on the website, look around and see what other companies are using. Are there any particular rules that apply to fictitious names in your state?
Step 4 – Do a Little Market Research
Okay, maybe market research is a little bit too official for what you will be doing. But the goal is to ask around and see how your name sounds to other people. So put your name out there and drop it in a few conversations to see how it lands. Ask for feedback from anyone who will listen, even if they don't know you or your business.
Start with your family and friends. See how they feel about it and if they have any constructive feedback. Then expand out to your peers and any local photographers you might work with.
Remember, you want your business name to be clear, concise, and memorable. One great test is called the bar test. If you were talking with someone in a crowded and noisy bar, could you tell them the name of your business without having to repeat yourself? And if you did that, would they be able to remember it the next morning to look you up?
Don't just analyze your business name from the perspective of how it sounds. Also, include how it looks and how easy it is to spell. Is it easily confused with other spellings or other words? This is where a clever name can bite you. For example, if you're trying to use a homophone, a word that sounds like another word spelled differently, people will invariably put the wrong one into your URL.
What if you want to use your name, but your name is complex or difficult to spell or say? That's a tough question. Of course, you could use your legal name and deal with the consequences. Chances are, most people can get close enough to find your online presence. But you might be able to make it easier for them. Do you have an easy nickname? What about using your initials, like J.K. Rowling or M.C. Escher?
In the end, simplicity rules the day. So keep it easy to say, easy to read, easy to type, and easy to remember. The goal of your business name is to further your business - anything else is a bonus.
At the end of this step, you should have your finalist. Which name survived the early brainstorming, even if it was tinkered with and modified a little? You might want to have a look at our article on building a small business website with inspiring examples of small business websites created on Pixpa.
Step 5 – Try Out your Photography Business Name for a Few Days
The last step is to get comfortable with your choice. Make a mock-up business card and logo. Tinker around with it until you love it. Practice saying it, ask a few more people, and see how it goes. Can you do this for the next twenty years?
What To Do After Naming Your Photography Business
In some ways, the hard work is over. Now you've got the name, and it's time to do the busy work of making it official. Start by establishing yourself online and ensuring you've filed the right paperwork with your state's business authorities.
Get Your Domain Name
You probably already went shopping for domain names, so now it's time to purchase it. Most businesses prefer the ubiquitous .com.
You can now buy domain names with extensions that more closely suit your business, such as .photo, .photography, .studio, or .pics. These are great choices if you've got a very unique name and you want it to have a modern twist. They're also great options as secondary domains that point to different sections of your portfolio.
If you opt for one of these new extensions, ensure they don't conflict with an identical .com that someone else already owns. In many instances, customers will type the .com out of habit, and you still want them to be able to find your site.
If you're making a portfolio or store site for your business, you might be able to combine this step. Many website creators like Pixpa provide a free year of domain registration with their services. But if you already own your domain, you can easily transfer it to any portfolio or website.
File with the State
Your next step should be back to your state's authority on businesses and fictitious names. A fictitious name is a legal document filed with the state that makes it official for you to do business under that name. You should have a fictitious name on file if you use anything other than your legal name, even if you are a sole proprietorship. A fictitious name is also called a DBA, or "doing business as."
Once you have the name, you can open a business bank account and start conducting business with it. This is also the time you might want to consider setting up an appointment with your local Small Business Administration (SBA) or a local attorney familiar with the small business setup. It's easiest to set up an LLC or a corporation early in the process rather than figure it out as you go along. The more contacts you can make in your local area, the more success you'll find. The SBA has many great programs to help you network and answer many of your business questions.
There are also online services that can help you organize any type of business, no matter where you are located.
Create an Online Presence
The final step in the process is to take your business into the digital world. No matter what type of photography business you run - or what its name is - a professional website builder like Pixpa can get you up and running in no time. Choose from visual artist portfolios to full-blown e-commerce solutions.
Pixpa is a website builder platform that is trusted by creative pros around the world. Pixpa offers an easy yet powerful drag-and-drop website builder and includes Client galleries, eCommerce, and blogging tools to enable you to manage your complete online presence through one seamless platform. Explore all features that make
What Are Your Best Ideas for a Photography Business Name?
Business name ideas for photography don't need to be terribly clever or creative. What they need to be is uniquely yours and memorable to your potential clients. They need to tell customers a little bit about you and your business, enough that they'll want to learn more and maybe even book a session.
Do check out these articles on photography