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06/20/2007 12:44:51 PM · #1
So... it has come time now that I am starting to become serious about making photography into a business. Realistically I'd like to have a website up within the next month or two and begin finding clients soon there-after. I'm not quitting the day job or anyhing, I just want to get my hands in and start doing shoots here and there.

So... first step in getting a website and I'm already stuck... NAME? I know the standard would be "First Name Last Name photography" but my name doesn't have a ring to it... "Monica Mulder Photography". The name Mulder just isn't workin for me.

My model mayhem photographer name is "Elemental Allure" but I wonder if it is too cheasy? I feel like it probably is.

To help with context I'm hoping to attract a variety of clients, first actors seeking headshots, then families, senior portraits, and possibly some model shoots (though I will probably keep the artistic ones as TFP for a while until I'm comfortable). Possibly events but I'm not there yet with my equipment.

Any suggestions, tips, name ideas would be appreciated!!
06/20/2007 12:56:04 PM · #2
What about using your middle name?
06/20/2007 12:56:55 PM · #3
How bout M&M photography? Or name it after a pet or a child if you have one.

Thats what I did.

Message edited by author 2007-06-20 12:58:04.
06/20/2007 12:57:04 PM · #4
Monica Mulder Photography,
is not a bad name actually
06/20/2007 12:59:20 PM · #5
You are talented as a photographer, but really thats the easy part of running a business. First thing to do is write a full on business plan. This is a link to what I think is hands down the best business plan resource. //www.vtsbdc.org/SBDC%20Business%20Plan%20Guidelines.pdf

Write it out like you are asking for a bank loan. Even if you don't ask for money it will serve a purpose as an operating guide. It makes you think of the small details that in your big picture you may miss. Be conservative with pricing until you are actually doing jobs. If you think you can get $500/gig, write the plan as if you are going to get $300/gig. If you can prove that the plan works using conservative numbers, 1. a financial lender will be more apt to help and 2. it proves it to yourself that this can work.

Another group to contact is called SCORE. It stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives. They provide free business development help. There are offices all over the country.

Just keep trying to do a little bit towards your goal each week. The business plan I wrote and got approved for took a year of writing and rewriting and being rejected by banks before it got through. Remember, no one knows your dream like you do, so you need to be able to clearly voice what you want.

Lastly, the name is the least important part of your business. If your plan works you can call yourself anything you want.

Good luck
06/20/2007 12:59:29 PM · #6
ONe reason M&M is not a good idea is that the "&" character does not work in URL lines.
06/20/2007 01:00:33 PM · #7
Originally posted by zaflabout:

Monica Mulder Photography,
is not a bad name actually


I agree, I kinda like it. (that's funny, because I like yours but think my own "David Terry Photography" sounds rather boring)

And I don't think your MM name is all that cheesy... Elemental Allure Photography.
06/20/2007 01:00:40 PM · #8
Originally posted by Hot_Pixel:

How bout M&M photography?


I had sadly thought about posting that idea earlier, and then i was like nah. Im glad it wasnt me lol!
06/20/2007 01:00:58 PM · #9
Originally posted by pineapple:

ONe reason M&M is not a good idea is that the "&" character does not work in URL lines.


MnM then?
06/20/2007 01:02:14 PM · #10
Originally posted by RainMotorsports:

Originally posted by Hot_Pixel:

How bout M&M photography?


I had sadly thought about posting that idea earlier, and then i was like nah. Im glad it wasnt me lol!


Thanks rain, always glad you point these little things out too.... BTW..Your team did a great job last week in the DPL. Congrats on your victory.
06/20/2007 01:03:48 PM · #11
I had the same issue a while back because my name is either taken or just sounds lame. So I picked something I wear, which happens to be my favorite thing in the whole world. Flip Flops. So I named my company Flip Flop Photography. People aske me why and all I have to do is point to my feet. I own about a million of them and even wear them most times in the winter!!
06/20/2007 01:06:33 PM · #12
Originally posted by dwterry:

Originally posted by zaflabout:

Monica Mulder Photography,
is not a bad name actually


I agree, I kinda like it. (that's funny, because I like yours but think my own "David Terry Photography" sounds rather boring)

And I don't think your MM name is all that cheesy... Elemental Allure Photography.


Yep - I think "your" name always sounds odd to "you". Monica Mulder Photography sounds perfectly fine to me. IMO, the alliteration has a nice ring, and the 3-syllable/2-syllable combo is very pleasant.
06/20/2007 01:18:31 PM · #13
I also have been (slowly) trying to start up a little business. It is much more complicated than I thought, even though I have a model designed for minimal financial outlay from the beginning.

A business plan helps, even if you aren't going to be looking for funding. I made a very informal one on my blog, but it is a great way for me to keep track of my progress. See it here (and feel free to follow my progress).

Two things I've learned so far:

1. Market research, marketing, insurance, permissions, model releases, and contracts are not trivial and take a lot of work. Much more work than the photography (and less fun).
2. Don't put off your first shoots because you are waiting for xxxxx. You can take clients before you have a web site. Just identify the bare minimum you need (releases, studio, etc) and start telling people you know. I've wasted a lot of time because I've always been waiting for something. Life gets in the way.

06/20/2007 01:41:29 PM · #14
Originally posted by Jmnuggy:

You are talented as a photographer, but really thats the easy part of running a business. First thing to do is write a full on business plan. This is a link to what I think is hands down the best business plan resource. //www.vtsbdc.org/SBDC%20Business%20Plan%20Guidelines.pdf

Write it out like you are asking for a bank loan. Even if you don't ask for money it will serve a purpose as an operating guide. It makes you think of the small details that in your big picture you may miss. Be conservative with pricing until you are actually doing jobs. If you think you can get $500/gig, write the plan as if you are going to get $300/gig. If you can prove that the plan works using conservative numbers, 1. a financial lender will be more apt to help and 2. it proves it to yourself that this can work.

Another group to contact is called SCORE. It stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives. They provide free business development help. There are offices all over the country.

Just keep trying to do a little bit towards your goal each week. The business plan I wrote and got approved for took a year of writing and rewriting and being rejected by banks before it got through. Remember, no one knows your dream like you do, so you need to be able to clearly voice what you want.

Lastly, the name is the least important part of your business. If your plan works you can call yourself anything you want.

Good luck


AHH! LOL. Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it. Business is def not my forte... as it is not for many artists.

I just want a name to get a site started. I'm not planning anything big now, just taking whoever here and there and seeing how it works out.

Your approach is about... the opposite of my skill set! lol. I'm more of a... go with the flow and see what happens kind of a person. Thanks for giving another perspective.
06/20/2007 01:46:13 PM · #15
Originally posted by Sting11165:

I also have been (slowly) trying to start up a little business. It is much more complicated than I thought, even though I have a model designed for minimal financial outlay from the beginning.

A business plan helps, even if you aren't going to be looking for funding. I made a very informal one on my blog, but it is a great way for me to keep track of my progress. See it here (and feel free to follow my progress).

Two things I've learned so far:

1. Market research, marketing, insurance, permissions, model releases, and contracts are not trivial and take a lot of work. Much more work than the photography (and less fun).
2. Don't put off your first shoots because you are waiting for xxxxx. You can take clients before you have a web site. Just identify the bare minimum you need (releases, studio, etc) and start telling people you know. I've wasted a lot of time because I've always been waiting for something. Life gets in the way.


True! I'm not putting off shooting, if someone wants to pay me I def will do it! LOL. I just was going to use that as my way to get myself out there. I don't know anyone in my area really so the word of mouth thing is a bit hard to come by, lol.

Insurance for wha? Ahh! lol. I knew there was more to this than I thought. Maybe "business" was the wrong word? Perhaps I meant... freelance? lol. I got the model releases but that's about where the buck stops.
06/20/2007 01:49:09 PM · #16
LOL. Thanks for liking my name everyone! I dunno, it's always been weird to me my last name because people don't know how to say or spell it. It always turns out "Molder" and then people pronounce it "Mold-er" (mold is an unpleasant word) when it's really "Mull-der" lol (mull isn't that pleasant of a sound either).

Perhaps I'm overanalysing.

I saw the suggestion for using my middle name. It's Toni. Monica Toni Photography? I dunno. My mom did that for acting, she just dropped her last name entirely and went with her middle. It works I guess.

hmm... things to ponder.

edit to add: I know a photographer named ernie and he completely lost that and started calling himself Rush. lol. Rush ___ Photography. He kept the last name.

Message edited by author 2007-06-20 14:19:20.
06/20/2007 03:00:05 PM · #17
For a website name, remember these simple facts.

1 - it has to be recognizable
2 - it has to be easy to remember
3 - it should be something that people might come across even without knowing you
4 - it should roll off the tongue

photography itself is a long word, and with the number of photographers out there with that included in the name, someone looking for you, but only remembering the photography is going to have a billion sites to look thru. You can get away with long words, but it has to be something that will stick in their mind for it to work.

As you said above, mold itself is bad, but if people associate that word and it makes them remember, then its doing its purpose. Your domain name is just the gateway to you. Beyond that, it doesn't symbolize you or your work, and you want people to remember you and go to your site even if they lost your card or url. My last name is Weeast, rhymes with yeast, and so growing up Weeast Infection was one of many nicknames. Gross yes, but people don't forget it. So I use weeast-infection.com as well as a few others all pointed at the same place. I just use it as a holder site right now to test templates for clients, but I'll have my portfolio up there soon, so don't discount something that you might think associates you with something bad. If its something that sticks out, they'll remember. And the logo on your site, doesn't have to repeat it, you can have the site say whatever you want. Its only your address.

06/20/2007 03:40:51 PM · #18
I like your "Elemental Allure". Allure by it's very definition is going to draw them to you. It's going to plant that tiny seed of thought that says "If she takes my picture, maybe she can make me look more alluring."

And while Elemental Allure Photography is a little long, it still sounds good when I say it out loud. There are a few places where you can get away without the photography, like the web address, but I wouldn't cut it down all the time.
I think you'll do well with that name.
Good luck on your venture! :D
06/20/2007 03:45:22 PM · #19
"Monica Mulder, Photographer" that works for me. I prefer "er" to "y", it sounds more focused and on-point. I think "Elemental Allure" is very cheesy, and I wouldn't want to be hung with that one for the rest of my career. It might work if your only business was, say, glamour photography, but you need to be aware that choices you make now are ones you will be stuck with for a long time as the business grows.

R.
06/20/2007 03:53:38 PM · #20
i am silverfoxx ( with two xx) everywhere.
my website's name is silverfoxx.org and it says: silverfoxx. photographer there
:)
i think it suits my "weird" pictures well.

love the Elemental Allure name!
Monica Mulder, photographer sounds wonderful, too.
they are just for different target groups.

elementalallure.com is a great name for a website btw
:)
it makes me wonder what i can see there and holds my attention

good luck to you Monica!!

Message edited by author 2007-06-20 15:59:56.
06/20/2007 04:10:59 PM · #21
Originally posted by wsl:

For a website name, remember these simple facts.

1 - it has to be recognizable
2 - it has to be easy to remember
3 - it should be something that people might come across even without knowing you
4 - it should roll off the tongue

photography itself is a long word, and with the number of photographers out there with that included in the name, someone looking for you, but only remembering the photography is going to have a billion sites to look thru. You can get away with long words, but it has to be something that will stick in their mind for it to work.

As you said above, mold itself is bad, but if people associate that word and it makes them remember, then its doing its purpose. Your domain name is just the gateway to you. Beyond that, it doesn't symbolize you or your work, and you want people to remember you and go to your site even if they lost your card or url. My last name is Weeast, rhymes with yeast, and so growing up Weeast Infection was one of many nicknames. Gross yes, but people don't forget it. So I use weeast-infection.com as well as a few others all pointed at the same place. I just use it as a holder site right now to test templates for clients, but I'll have my portfolio up there soon, so don't discount something that you might think associates you with something bad. If its something that sticks out, they'll remember. And the logo on your site, doesn't have to repeat it, you can have the site say whatever you want. Its only your address.


True, though I'm not sure what I'd what the logo thingie or "real" name to be either.

LOL. My friends name is Easton. So... yea, heard... used that one a few times before.
06/20/2007 04:12:26 PM · #22
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

"Monica Mulder, Photographer" that works for me. I prefer "er" to "y", it sounds more focused and on-point. I think "Elemental Allure" is very cheesy, and I wouldn't want to be hung with that one for the rest of my career. It might work if your only business was, say, glamour photography, but you need to be aware that choices you make now are ones you will be stuck with for a long time as the business grows.

R.


Thanks for the imput. Very true, a name like that does limit my scope a lot. That's why I used it on Model Mayhem as opposed to anywhere else.
06/20/2007 04:44:31 PM · #23
"Eyes Open Photography" has worked very well for me, my domain is //www.EyesOpen.co.uk
I really recommend going with something more original than the 'name' photography which everyone does, find something that stands out and brands you!
You say in your profile that making photos with emotion is important to you, make this part of your branding. Think of a name that cunjures up the emotions you like to capture. Build an identity!
06/20/2007 04:50:59 PM · #24
Originally posted by escapetooz:

...though I'm not sure what I'd what the logo thingie or "real" name to be either.


' . substr('//www.geoffball.ca/media/images/mulder.jpg', strrpos('//www.geoffball.ca/media/images/mulder.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
06/20/2007 04:59:00 PM · #25
Originally posted by BobsterLobster:

"Eyes Open Photography" has worked very well for me, my domain is //www.EyesOpen.co.uk
I really recommend going with something more original than the 'name' photography which everyone does, find something that stands out and brands you!
You say in your profile that making photos with emotion is important to you, make this part of your branding. Think of a name that cunjures up the emotions you like to capture. Build an identity!


I like that idea... I just fear everything I come up with will limit who I appeal to and be cheesy. Like... I may like one name for models but would it work for family stuff?
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