One of the most common questions we get from photographers is how to decide what to name your photography business. So whether you’re creating your first website, Facebook business page or business cards for the first time, or you’re re-branding and looking for fresh new start, you’re in the right place!

Today, we’ll show you how to name your photography business so you can:

1. Increase the chance people will recognize you as a photographer.

2. Remember your business name and refer you to their family and friends.

First, let’s start with this powerful truth: when you’re starting a photography business, your personal network is your most powerful network. This is such an important fact that we’re going to repeat it. Your personal network is your most powerful network. That’s where the overwhelming majority of your early business will come from. The people you already know. People you work with. Your friends from church. Your family members. Your high school and college friends. Friends of friends.

So it matters what those people think when they think about you. Second, and maybe more importantly, if you want to grow your business beyond your personal network, it matters what those people tell other people about you.

And it needs to be simple. And easy to remember.

Here’s why:

If it’s too complicated, they won’t know what to say, so they’ll either say the wrong thing, or they just won’t say anything at all.

Here’s what we mean:

When we were making the transition from elementary school teachers to professional photographers, it was probably confusing for our personal network, right? They knew us as “Amy and Jordan, the elementary school teachers” not “Amy and Jordan, the photographers.”

So, when they saw a brand new Facebook page pop up and behind-the-scenes photos of us shooting through their News Feeds, they PROBABLY thought, Huh? Wait. Whaaat? I thought Amy and Jordan were elementary school teachers… 

Again, the narrative shift from “elementary school teachers” to “photographers” is a heavy lift on its own. Think about it. If it takes someone seven times to remember your name, how long would it take for them to remember that you CHANGED CAREERS ENTIRELY. Much less that you’re good enough or trustworthy enough or professional enough for them to refer you to other people — and that’s just going from A to B, from “my friends, Amy and Jordan, the elementary school teachers” to “my friends, Amy and Jordan, at Amy and Jordan Photography.”

Remember, getting your personal network to remember THAT is enough on it own.

If we decided to give our business a clever, cheeky name — like Seeing You Through Our Lens Photography — because we wanted to be original and not “like everyone else,” it would’ve been infinitely MORE confusing for our personal network to do three things:

1. Recognize that we’d made (or were making) a career shift.

2. Remember our business name.

3. And refer us to other people.

Pop Quiz: Without looking up, can you remember the name of our fictional photography  business? The one we just told you? Or did you have to scroll back up and read that part again?

Why is it so much easier for you to remember that we’re Amy and Jordan, and not “Seeing You Through our Lens Photography?”

Because instead of taking people from A to B, like we explained above, we’d be trying to take them from A to B to C.

Instead of our friends and family being able to see that we were doing photography and say to other people, “My friends Amy and Jordan are photographers. You should look them up.”

— which is EASY to remember and search on Google or Facebook —

They’d have to say, “My friends Amy and Jordan are photographers. Their business is shoot. Lemme look it up. Umm… one sec… It’s something about a… What’s that part of camera again that you put on the front? A lens. Yeah, that’s it! It’s something about a lens. They’re new. That’s why I’m having trouble remembering their name. I think they just started a few weeks ago. BUT THEY’RE REALLY GOOD! TRUST ME! I mean, I haven’t been to their Facebook page yet. Again, I think it’s brand new. Ya know what? I’ll just text you their info.”

That scenario doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in you.

And they’ll probably forget to send the text.

And that friend will definitely forget what words they should punch into Google.

When you don’t name your business after yourself, it’s harder for people to remember and harder for people to refer you. Saying, “Oh, my friends Amy and Jordan are photographers. They’re totally awesome! means everyone only has to remember one thing.

People buy on trust, and the transfer of trust from one person to another is one of the most (if not the) determining factor for people deciding to do business with you.

Here’s another reason to name your business after yourself:

High end brands in industries much larger and powerful do it. If it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for us!

Think about most creative entrepreneurial big businesses, from fashion to furniture, and everything in-between. Most of the big names use their name. In fashion Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabanna, etc. In furniture, it’s Ethan Allen. In cosmetics, it’s Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown. The list goes on and on. Can you find big brands and companies who don’t use their founders’ names? Sure. But you’ll never see a woman hug a generic brand purse from Wal-Mart, sigh, shrug and fondly exclaim, It’s a Faded Glory Double Pocket Zip Purse. 

But are we going hug a brand new blush and gold Kate Spade clutch?

You can count it.

The Kate Spade name demonstrates where the VALUE is. The value is in the brand. And what the brand is known for.

Can we find a blush bag from Walmart? Probably.

Are we going to invest the same amount of dollars and enthusiasm?

No way.

Here’s the problem: Most new photographers don’t want to name their business after themselves even if it connotes MORE value than a whimsical name because they don’t FEEL valuable as a photographer yet.

Stop that.

We give you permission to.

Because by letting your insecurities have top priority, you’re undervaluing your business name.

Let’s play a quick game! Get a sheet of blank paper and divide it into two columns. On one side, write the names of all the photographers you admire. If their business isn’t name after them, move them to the left column.

You can use pen for this, because you won’t be moving anyone.

And that’s because you don’t wait until people know you to name your business after yourself. People know you, so name your business after yourself.

One of our past workshop attendees — who’s KILLING it and we’re SO proud of her by the way — is named K.C. England. Which is one of the coolest names ever, right? So you can imagine our surprise when we found out that her business name was Leaving a Mark PhotographyWhen her real name was K.C. England. 

That’s like Kate Spade deciding to call her business Carrying It Around Hand Bags. But K.C. really struggled and wrestled and debated with the name change, because it meant something to her. It was sentimental. She really did want to leave a mark on people’s lives. That’s a true reflection of her sweet heart. Just like Seeing You Through Our Lens Photography could have a heartfelt meaning behind it. That even if no one else sees you, we do, and we want to show you have special you are by how we see you, even if you don’t see yourself that way.

But we think it was costing her business, and actually KEEPING her from leaving a mark on more people’s lives, because a business name is more than a business name.

It’s a mindset.

And for K.C. that shift was everything.

Because after our workshop, she went from being cute and whimsical and kind of like everyone else, to unique and exclusive and special… like she is.

Here are screen shots of her first and second business name and brand:


QUESTION:

Which one do you trust?

Which one will you spend more money with?

Which one will you remember?

Which one reminds you of a big box store and which reminds you of your dream handbag?

SECOND QUESTION: If you’ve been thinking about changing your business name for a while now, what are you still waiting for?

Note: There are a few circumstances under which changing your business name to your personal name might not make sense.

1. If you have an established business with plenty of name ID and you’re crushing it. Those people DO exist. However, they’re typically the exception. Not the rule.  

2. If you’re a TEAM of photographers in an associate program or larger media company, like Revel Media Group, for example. Outside of that, take your first and last name (or first name and a middle name) and make it happen! 

UPDATE 1:20 p.m. MST

Since we hit “publish” on this post, we’ve received tons of really thoughtful follow-up questions from photographers (via email, social media and blog comments) about specific situations where they need additional clarification — and we’re happy to help! If you asked a question, instead of responding to you quickly, individually, and, therefore, maybe not as thoroughly, we decided to find the most common threads among your questions and answer them here so that you can benefit (and anyone who reads this post in the future!)

Before we do that, a quick note… In life in general, we believe in the “80-20 Rule.” Mostly because it’s true. (It’s usually good to believe in things that are true. Occasionally, it’s also fun to believe in things that aren’t, like our firmly held belief that our cat, William Wallace, can understand us.)

Here are a few examples of the 80-20 Rule in action:

– Approximately 80% of Microsoft Word users only use 20% of its features.

– According to our favorite marriage book, Love and Respect, when surveyed, about 80% of wives say they want their husbands to say, “I love you. Only 20% of women would prefer to hear, “I respect you.”  The opposite of is true for husbands. You didn’t think this update was also going to be marriage coaching, diiid you?! 

– Here’s a crazy one: The top 20% of income earners pay 80% of the federal income taxes.

So, naturally, with any advice we or someone else gives you, it probably applies solidly to 80% of readers and could apply to the other 20%. But maybe not. You’re the only one who can decide that for yourself.

Here are the five most common follow-up questions/concerns we’ve gotten about how to name your photography business:

1. My name is hard to spell/pronounce.

That didn’t stop Daniel Swarovski from naming his company Swarovski Crystal. Or Christian Louboutin from putting his name on the bottom of the shoes. Or M. Night SHYAMALAN from making movies. Or Idina Menzel from being, Idina Menzel. In her case, it actually made her MORE famous that John Travolta messed it up! In our opinion, it’s easier to remember a hard-to-spell or pronounce last name that it is to remember the parent company of someone with a hard-to-spell last name. A movie by M. Night Shyamalan is easier to remember than A movie by Seeing You Through My Lens Films.

2. There’s already someone in my town with my exact name.

Legally, you’d probably have to ask an attorney to investigate whether or not that business name is already taken. In that case, you might not have a choice but to pivot to something else, like your first name with your maiden name, or your first name with a middle name (or fake middle name if necessary!) If you can use your own name, though, even if there is someone else in town with the exact same name, remember that people are discerning enough to see quality through a name. And there are already great examples of two successful people who have the same name.

If you watched the awards season this year, La La Land was on Hollywood’s biggest winners. Every time Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling got up to accept and award, you’d hear them thanking their choreographer, Mandy Moore.

Not the Mandy Moore from (our new favorite!) This is Us and A Walk to Remember.

Mandy Moore, the choreographer. The one on So You Think You Can Dance. No relation.

One Mandy Moore hasn’t prevented the other from being successful. They’re both killing it in Hollywood. And they each have work so solid that they haven’t let going by the same name prevent them from building names for themselves.

If you’re name is John Doe and the guy down the street is John Doe, your name can’t be the differentiating factor.

So let you work be.

Then, you’ll be the John Doe who shows up on time and gets the grass cut well.

Not… The other John Doe, don’t hire him! He’s the one who didn’t come for two weeks and let my grass die! 

If you’re the awesome John Doe, people will go out of their way to make sure other people know it. So just be that John Doe.

Or like the Mandy Moores, you can both stand out, make a name for yourself and become respected for your work (even if you both live in Tinsel Town.)

3. My middle name isn’t cute.

Speaking of middle names, our dear friend, Melissa Jill, is a REALLY successful wedding photographer. Jill is her middle name. If you have a really complicated last name and you just don’t feel comfortable using it no matter how many famous complicated we throw at you, then maybe consider using your middle name or (gasp!) a fake middle name.

Amy’s maiden name is Finocchiaro. FINOCCHIARO. Like Pinocchio with an “F”. That’s tough to spell and pronounce. Her middle name is Katherine. If she didn’t like the way Amy Finocchiaro Photography sounded, and rejected everything we said in #1, she could always go with Amy Katherine Photography. Or if she thought that was just AWFUL, she could pivot to Amy Lynn Photography and that would work just fine. Mostly because none of your friends know your real middle name anyways, and “Lynn” is much easier to remember and connect than something longer. Our main point here is using a name makes you easier to remember, cuts confusion and establishes more value in your brand.

4. My business is successful and I don’t want to mess with that.

This is a fair point, but it’s also a REALLY narrow, specific one, too. Because since most small businesses fail within the first few years, statistically, there are only a few “established” businesses in every industry who’ve been around long enough where this will matter. In this case, you might have to weigh the potential loss against the potential gain — and that’s something only you can decide. Also, CONGRATS! If this is you, you’re killing it! Keep it up! Don’t fix what ain’t broke!

5. I want to change my name, but it seems hard to do. 

When we changed our LLC from Amy Demos Photography, LLC to Amy and Jordan Photography, LLC it was a simple as this: Our lawyer drafted a quick amendment to our LLC articles and then we submitted it to the State of Arizona. When we got confirmation of the change, we swapped it on every platform we could, showing the organizations (like Facebook or The Knot) evidence that our LLC was the same, we were the same exact business, but we’d just changed the name we were doing business under. It wasn’t a problem. We bought new domain names, and had the only ones re-direct. For a while, you could even put on your website and social media outlets “Formerly known as _____________ Photography.” Pretty soon, people will start to forget your old name business ever existed in the first place.

At the end of the day, you’ll have to take all this information and make the best decision for you and your business. We hope this gives you a lot to think about, and know our heart for everything we share comes from a place of wanting the best for you.

77 comments
filed in: Education

    David Medina

    Hi Amy & Jordan,
    I have considered changing our studio name from Hidden Kiss Studio back to my name, David Medina (we re-branded to HKS in 2013 because my wife began to shoot with me and I wanted to reflect that). My concerned is that I have published work on blogs and magazine under Hidden Kiss Studio and I am afraid that I won't be able to say that I am a published photographer if I switch back to my name. Any thoughts?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi David! Tons of companies re-brand and it doesn't take away from their credibility! We would suggest switching back to David Medina!

    Dana

    What if you don't have a middle name and a hard last name to pronounce AND spell? How do you create a brand that still incorporates your name?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Dana! Check out the section we added at the bottom of the post! It should answer your question! :)

    Maggie

    I had a generic name; no one remembered it. I rebranded to Portraits by Maggie Ann (first and middle names); people left off the "Ann" (a lot)... and I started shooting events. Now I'm transitioning to Maggie Takes Pix; who I am and what I do.

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Maggie! That's great! What about Maggie Ann Photography?

    Maggie

    I had a generic name; no one remembered it. I rebranded to Portraits by Maggie Ann (first and middle names); people left off the "Ann" (a lot)... and I started shooting events. Now I'm transitioning to Maggie Takes Pix; who I am and what I do.

    Jen

    This is the exact thing I've been thinking about lately! You guys confirmed what I was suspecting (that it is better to use your name)... But what if no one can say/spell my last name? Still ok? I don't want to spell out my middle and last name here, but maybe we could email about it? Thanks,Amy and Jordan!

    Amy & Jordan

    Yes! Still okay! Check out the section we added about hard to pronounce names!

    Kirstie

    What if your name is difficult to pronounce and spell (and remember)? I mean, the usual response when I introduce myself in a social setting is: "Kristin? Kristy? Kirsten?" My last name is uncommon, too. Any suggestions?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Kirstie! Check out the section we added at the bottom of the post!

    David Lee Thomas

    With having such a common name, David Lee Thomas, I wonder about how to name my business. I am sure if I googled David Thomas photography, I would come up with hundreds of hits. I thought about going with, David Thomas Fotography, spoken as "David Thomas photography with an F". But then I wonder if that will be detrimental to searches. Not sure what to do.....

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi David! We would definitely suggest staying away from using "F" instead of ph. We added a section to the bottom of the post that should really help you!

    Mikah

    Hello A&J! I have been struggling for a while on my businesss name. I lack confidence with using my real name, but after reading this article I feel that I am soooo lucky to have this name. I already have a huge amount of people who know me, so why waste time waiting for people to reknow me. My photography name is currently Mikah Marie photography, but I've also liked the idea of doing milestones by mikah. Anyways thank you so much for posting this !
    With love, MM

    Mikah

    Hello A&J! I have been struggling for a while on my businesss name. I lack confidence with using my real name, but after reading this article I feel that I am soooo lucky to have this name. I already have a huge amount of people who know me, so why waste time waiting for people to reknow me. My photography name is currently Mikah Marie photography, but I've also liked the idea of doing milestones by mikah. Anyways thank you so much for posting this !
    With love, MM

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Mikah!! We definitely like Mikah Marie Photography!! :)

    Lisa Villella

    Hi Amy and Jordan! You guys ALWAYS insprire me! Always! Anyway... I struggled with my business name because "Villella" is exactly easy to pronounce and remember how to spell. I finally decided to stick with it, but in these types of cases, what would you recommend? BTW, I think all the other variations of my name that don't acutally spell out my last name are taken... :-)

    Love You Two!
    Lisa

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Lisa! Aw!! Thanks!! You're so sweet!!

    Michelle

    What about other photographers with the same name? Michelle Smith is so common. What are the legalities involved?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Michelle!! Consider using your middle name! :)

    Tara Wilburn

    So, I am one of those photography businesses who has used a name that's not my actual name. I started off with the name of "Breath Of Light Imagery" because
    1. When I started I dabbled in videography as well as photography and didn't know if I wanted my business to offer both services in the future. I now know I don't want to offer video services at all, but solely book photography services instead.
    2. When I started I liked the idea of being a team of photographers, rather than just me. That never happened. I'm not saying it won't happen in the future, but for the past 7 years it's just been me.
    3. My last name. I was only engaged at the time I started my business, not married like I am now. So I was hasty about using a last name that wasn't quite mine yet. And I didn't want to use my maiden last name because I felt it was ugly and I do not wish to have a relationship with the people of whom it originated from. Also I didn't want said people to "look me up".

    I've thought about changing my name at least to something more convenient. I feel my name now is too confusing and way too long. Any time I'm out talking with someone, if they ask me what my website/business name is I just pull out a business card instead of saying it.

    The only reason I've not rebranded myself is because I am intimidated by the thought of revising EVERYTHING that my business has done. So if I do decide to go with "Tara Wilburn Photography" how do I go about doing that? What does that process look like? It's such a struggle! I've built up this brand for so long, how do I essentially start over?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Tara!! We think that is a great idea!! Start one piece at a time with your website and social media! It will be gradual! :)

    Tara Wilburn

    My business name, "Breath Of Light Imagery", all came from the place of where I was when I started my business. The reason I didn't go with my name is because of the following reasons:
    1. I was only engaged at the time I began my business, not married, so I was hesitant about going with a name that was not my own yet.
    2. I didn't want to use my maiden name, because it was ugly and came from a family I do not wish to communicate/associate myself with. Also, I wanted to protect myself from said family searching me online.
    3. I wanted to be different. That's just kind of my style. But it totally makes sense in your post about how important it is to go by what your peers identify you as.
    4. At the time I started this business, I was interested in offering both photography and videography services. Now, I know for sure I only want to offer photography services. Video is not for me.
    5. In the beginning, I was eager to try to make my business a team of more than just me, which never happened. So I guess I wanted to "make room" for another photographer to join in on my business that I started. At this time, that could still happen I guess but it hasn't happened yet and I don't know for sure that it ever will.

    The main reason I've not rebranded myself yet is because I am intimidated by the thought of revising EVERYTHING that my business has made itself into. So if I do decide to go with "Tara Wilburn Photography" how do I go about doing that? What does that process look like? It's such a struggle! I've built up this brand for so long, how do I essentially start over without confusing my current clients/leads?

    Thanks for all you do!
    Tara

    Tara Wilburn

    My business name, "Breath Of Light Imagery", all came from the place of uncertainty where I wanted to go when I started my business. The reason I didn't go with my name is because of the following reasons:
    1. I was only engaged at the time I began my business, not married, so I was hesitant about going with a name that was not my own yet.
    2. I didn't want to use my maiden name, because it was ugly and came from a family I do not wish to communicate/associate myself with. Also, I wanted to protect myself from said family searching me online.
    3. I wanted to be different. That's just kind of my style. But it totally makes sense in your post about how important it is to go by what your peers identify you as.
    4. At the time I started this business, I was interested in offering both photography and videography services. Now, I know for sure I only want to offer photography services. Video is not for me.
    5. In the beginning, I was eager to try to make my business a team of more than just me, which never happened. So I guess I wanted to "make room" for another photographer to join in on my business that I started. At this time, that could still happen I guess but it hasn't happened yet and I don't know for sure that it ever will.

    The main reason I've not rebranded myself yet is because I am intimidated by the thought of revising EVERYTHING that my business has made itself into. So if I do decide to go with "Tara Wilburn Photography" how do I go about doing that? What does that process look like? It's such a struggle! I've built up this brand for so long, how do I essentially start over without confusing my current clients/leads?

    Thanks for all you do!
    Tara

    I named my business after myself, and Iconpletely agree with all of your reasons! Heres my problem- my name is long and difficult to pronounce. First and really really especially the last. Basically, if mispronounced my last name sounds like a naughty word. My nickname is no help as there are several with the same nickname and even a few other photographers in my community with it. People struggle spelling my name correctly. And its long...pretty sure they lose intrest typing my website in about 5 letters in. What then? Intials?cureently I brand with a combo of my first name and aspect of profession. Sincerely confused!

    Amy & Jordan

    Use your name even if it's hard to spell! Check out the section we added on difficult names!

    DH

    I love the idea of using your own name as a business name. However, I have an extremely difficult first name. I worked in customer service, so I know exactly how painfully difficult my name is for someone who has never heard it.... My current last name actually almost rhymes with photography, but I am getting married and will be taking my fiancees last name. Any suggestions? I would prefer to not use my fiancees name ahead of time, nor do I want to have to re-brand.

    Amy & Jordan

    We would suggest waiting until you're married, then switching to your permanent name! :)

    Sarah

    You guys read my mail on this one. I am just about to launch my photography business and have wrestled with the name. I came up with several clever ones and a few not so clever. I struggled with the "not good enough" idea, too. I finally started looking up domain names for when I get a website going. That settled it. Naming it for myself is in the stars - or a least NOT on the internet anywhere yet. Thanks for all your advice.

    Amy & Jordan

    Yes!! Good luck!

    Jenna

    You always give great encouragement and tips! However of the few well known photographers in my town, there is a Jenna... and Jennifer.... so i didn't want to confuse the market here further. So i ended up going with Bows & Arrows Portrait Co. To hopefully reflect that i am a children and family photographer.

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Jenna! Cute! At the end of the day, you have to do what you think is best for your business! :)

    Jenna

    You always give great encouragement and tips! However of the few well known photographers in my town, there is a Jenna... and Jennifer.... so i didn't want to confuse the market here further. So i ended up going with Bows & Arrows Portrait Co. To hopefully reflect that i am a children and family photographer.

    Donna Yeldell

    <3 I love kc england photography's logo!!! I've been searching and searching for web fonts and I think I just found the perfect one for my ImagesbyDonna photography business. LOL

    Amy & Jordan

    Isn't it so perfect?! That's awesome!

    Emily

    I agree with everything you say, but at the same time, I don't! Agh!

    I had been in business for several years when I got married, changed my name, & moved cities. So I took the opportunity to rebrand. I originally had my name as my business name, & struggled long & hard changing it to something NOT my name. I made a pros & cons list & most of the things you say here were in the pros list. However, my new husband & I went through listings of photographers to see what stood out to us, & we agreed that the quirky ones stood out a bit more than just a list of name with "photography" after it. (I'm a wedding photographer myself so I approached this as a bride would when she starts researching vendors; therefore I went to WeddingWire & The Knot for lists.)

    Long story short, I ended up going with Dreamy Elk Photography & Design. My email throughout college had been dreamy elk, so most of my friends, family, & colleagues already associated that phrase with me.

    Another cool aspect to my business name & logo is the fact that I live in Texas where most of my grooms are hunters. When I was working on my logo, I imagined potential grooms being drug into the planning process with their beloved & asked their opinion. My logo/name catches THEIR eyes because they see antlers. I've had so many grooms tell me that that happened EXACTLY.

    There's a cool & funny story involved with where Dreamy Elk came from, so if you really want to know, email me!

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Emily! We totally get it! If that's working for you then keep it up! :)

    Jordyn

    I don't have a photography business, but I post pictures on Instagram for fun (mostly landscape/wildlife). I had a really difficult time coming up with a name and ended up going with something "cutesy and whimsical" because I didn't know what else to do. I'm glad I read this post today! It actually did give me the confident I needed to say "screw it" and use my name. Luckily I'm still at a point where all I needed to change was my Instagram handle. The spelling I had before was a little weird/different, and I already know that this will be way easier to share with people when I tell them to look me up. No more "well...it's actually spelled differently...it's because of this song...here I'll just write it down..." I thought my name didn't matter because I don't have a business now, but now I'll be on the right track if I do choose to start one later.

    Anyway, all that to say thank you for this post! I don't usually comment on things, but I really appreciated this and felt it came to me at just the right time.

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Jordyn!! That's so awesome!! We're cheering for you!! :)

    Lauren Hansen

    But but but....

    Can I get an official A&J pardon for using something else? I hated my old last name. Streiff. Negative connotations. Blech. Then I was engaged. And now I am married so I have a new last name. One that doesn't 100% feel like my name. Lunabear is mine. It's weird and not real and I love it. Clients sometimes introduce me as Lunabear to people, because they remember it for being different. Am I fooling myself thinking I am an exception?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hey girl!! We would normally say Lauren Hansen Photography would be the way to go, but, if Lunabear is working for you and you feel like it's sticking with clients and gaining traction, then keep it! Like we said, it's the 80-20 rule :)

    I've been considering changing my business name because Gateway PhotoArtistry is hard to remember, and a mouthful. Gena Buskirk-Ford is on my business cards as well but people have a hard time remembering Buskirk. My middle name is "Lee." Suggestions? There is a Gena Ford Photography in another state also.

    Amy & Jordan

    We think Gena Lee Photography would be perfect!! :)

    Though it's meaningful to me, I've been considering re-naming my business because it's hard to remember and a mouthful: Gateway PhotoArtistry. Surprisingly, I found another photographer with my same (married) name and spelling, Gena Ford Photography. "Gena Buskirk-Ford" is on my business cards, but people have a hard time remembering the "Buskirk-Ford" Again, a lot of syllables and hard to remember. Middle name is "Lee," I considered, "Gena B. Ford Photography." Suggestions?

    Cricket Morgan

    Cricket is my nickname that I have gone by my entire life, literally nobody has ever called me by my real name which is Christie. (With the exception of both Grandmothers, who eventually gave in.) I go by Cricket's Photography. Should I go by Cricket Morgan Photography? Thanks in advance:)

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Cricket!! We love Cricket Morgan Photography! Super memorable!

    Tim I.

    I have a small time photographer and have a place named T&C Impressions. I would like to ask you how does my name sound to a professions such as yourself. Timofei Indyushkin ?? Does that sound like someone you want to run and hide from for ?? Please help thank you very much

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Tim! You could always do a shortened version, maybe Tim Indy Photography!

    Megan Brock

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I've been so self conscious about my business name because my middle name - Dileen - is off beat, and people never know how to prounounce it. Reading this was like letting out a breathe I didn't know I was holding in!

    Amy & Jordan

    Oh good!! We're so glad!!

    Meg Brown

    Hi Amy & Jordan,

    I must say- it drives me CRAZY when people name their businesses after themselves. Although you make excellent points and I agree with many of them, I don't think a person's name stands out as well as a clever business name. (Creativity counts for something, right?)

    I believe that what sets a business name apart is that it's quirky, relates to the photographer, and is not cliche. "Leaving a mark" and "seeing you through our lens" don't have powerful statement; they're too long and drawn out.

    You make an excellent point with Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, and other designers- and I actually had a conversation with two local designers today about why they have to brand a business after themselves. I don't believe photographers are limited to that.

    Designers are trying to make a big impact on a well established brand (Kate Spade) or a plethora of customers (international market) to sell their designs while we small business photographers are looking more locally for business. I believe that creativity sets us apart in local and fierce competition.

    My business is MegaBug Photography, which is my name (Meg) and my green VW Bug. I'm known for the bug and people call me personally MegaBug all the time, which makes my name memorable. I love that it's fun, cute, and me!

    Conversely, Meg Brown Photography is sooo blaaaah. Meg Joy just doesn't do it either.

    In your example of Leaving A Mark vs KC England, the latter had way better branding as well. It was more modern and better fit her style.

    To put my comment succinctly, I believe that memorable names are quirky and to the point. Whether the photographer has a unique name themselves or they come up with one, that and their branding is what stands out to potential customers.

    If a photographer is marketing themselves to big companies, then yeah, the design rule of Meg Brown Photography makes perfect sense. But for those of us trying to set ourselves apart from the many local photographers out there, Meg Brown Photography just doesn't do it.

    Alyssa

    Hello A&J.. Thank you so much for this post!!! I have been DYING for the last year, really struggling with this.. I've had my own business for 6 years now and for 5 of those years I've been "Moments In Time Photogrpahy" Which has been fine, but from the very beginning I've wanted my name as my bisness name but just couldn't figure out the right combination, therefore I just went with the moments in time photogrpahy. Well The last year I have wanted to change it to my name (even more due to the increase in wedding photography and wanting to pursue more "higher end" clients...) but struggle with 2 reasons. 1. I used to be married and when I divorced, I kept my married last name (We have a son and I didnt want a different last name than him and I don't like my maiden name) and I do hope to re-marry again someday and dont want to have to change and re-brand again once I remarry (not that it's happeneing anytime soon) But 2. If I go with my middle name I think it would be very confusing to many people I know because another phtogrpaher I work with ALL the time (we second shoot for each other a lot) our names are ALMOST the same.. Alyssa Maria and she's Alicia Marie.. Therefore don't want to offend her nor for clients, friends, and family to be confused also struggling with I don't want to look like I'm "trying to be like her". make sense? I HAVE thought about doing a "fake" middle name and changing it to Alyssa Grace Photography or Alyssa Joy Photography (<I really like joy but love both) but don't want to confuse people, like "hmm... where did that come from" ... Ugh this has been such a struggle.. I would love to hear your opinion!!

    Gladyxa Divine

    Hello! I love this post! My name is Gladyxa..super hard to say, it's Gla-Dee-Sa. It's spanish and most of my friends call me G or Glad. My last name (thanks to my hubby) is now, Divine. I named my business Glad Mari Photography. Used my middle name and my first name's nickname. Should I sick to that or use Gladyxa Divine Photograpjhy

    Gladyxa Divine

    Hello! I love this post! My name is Gladyxa..super hard to say, it's Gla-Dee-Sa. It's Spanish and most of my friends call me G or Glad. My last name (thanks to my hubby) is now, Divine. I named my business Glad Mari Photography. Used my middle name and my first name's nickname. Should I sick to that or use Gladyxa Divine Photography? I always get questions about my name or people cannot pronounce it correctly. I wanted to to be easy and to reflect ME. What do you think?
    P.S. I have learned so much from ya'll!! I hope to take your class very soon!!! xoxo

    Amy & Jordan

    You have a beautiful name, Gladyxa! We love it, but we think Glad Mari Photography sounds amazing!! You are totally on the right track! We're so excited for what's to come for you in your photography!! Keep it up! We're cheering for you!! :)

    Dama

    Hi A and J, thanks for the post. I've been debating weather to use my real last name Shih, or change it to Shee (as in Dana Shee). For one thing, I don't even know how my last name should be pronounced lol. It's a phonetic translation from Chinese, but when people try to pronounce it, it sounds nothing like my real last name, and also it kind of reads like sh*t. I have signed weddings under Shih (not yet shot), so if I change my name, will it make my existing client worry? Lastly, English is not my first language, so not too sure which last name looks/sounds better for my long term business name... hopefully I can have some input from you... Thank you :)

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Dama! We suggest keeping the original spelling of your last name! :)

    Kristal

    I have been following you guys for a couple of months now. I have no idea how you make time for wedding photography + educating other photographers, but I am so glad you do. I love reading your blog posts every Monday and even though I am not a wedding photographer, I'm inspired by your work :) Thanks for awesome posts like this one :)

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw!! Thank you, Kristal! You have no idea how much that means to us! You just made our day! <3

    Rozilynn

    My photography name is "Photography by Rozi" I feel like it is pretty simple to remember but wonder if "Rozilynn Witherell Photography" would be better? My friends and family love the name "Photography by Rozi" I just couldn't decide which I felt would be more professional.

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Rozilynn! We think "Rozilynn Witherell Photography" sounds so great! You have an awesome name! :)

    Katelyn Caldwell

    Hello Amy & Jordan,
    I have recently started my photography business, KKC Photography ( my initials). Would you recommended that I change my name using something like Katelyn Caldwell or KK Caldwell Photography ( which I used at first before changing to KKC)

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi, Katelyn! We would suggest you use Katelyn Caldwell Photography! It sounds beautiful! :)

    Lauren

    I have been doing photography since high school. My side business has been on and off. Right now, I am a bank teller and hate it! I want to start up my photography again! My photography name is Lauren Ashley Photography and I want to start fresh with a different name! A fake middle name could work...does Lauren Janae Photography sound good?

    Amy & Jordan

    Awesome, Lauren!! Starting fresh is a great feeling! We love Lauren Janae Photography! :) We're cheering for you!

    Juventa Vezzani

    I'm taking your shooting and editing course right now (almost done) and LOVE it:) Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and talents with the world. I'm in the process of re-doing my website and figuring out where I want my business to go from here. In the mean time, I wanted to get your thoughts on my business name "Vezzani Photography." It's short, simple, and while it only uses my last name, is not a very common name so it works. I think Juventa Vezzani Photography sounds too complicated and long even though I read your thoughts on complicated names. People really struggle with my name. Thoughts?

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw!! You're so sweet, Juventa!! Thank you! We think Vezzani Photography sounds great! Love it! :)

    Nelya

    Well said guys! I think of Sue Bryce saying she wished she'd just gone with Bryce. Simple. Easy to remember. I like that. When I'm trying to remember a name to refer to someone the easier it is for me to remember it the more likely I am to actually make the referral.

    Amy & Jordan

    You said it, Nelya! We're so glad you found this post helpful! Thank you!! :)

    Lorie Clark

    If there is already a business name that is the same as yours, how would you go about branding your photography business?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi, Lorie! You could do your first name and middle name, or use your first and last name and make your work stand out!! :)

    Darnelle Baker

    This is something I struggle with, my name is difficult, I don't feel like Darnelle Baker Photography flows, but not having my name seems cheesy...my middle name is Lee. Help!

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi, Darnelle! You have a beautiful name! We love Darnelle Lee Photography!! :)

    Amanda

    Hello! I am in love with your work, hearts, and love for your customers! I love that Jesus just shines through you guys and am super encouraged by you both! I am currently saving to be able to take your course and I am super excited about it!

    Until then, I did want to start taking photos, but after reading your post I am second guessing my business name. It is currently "Lavender Sprigs Photography". My grandparents last name was Lavinder, so it's special to me. Also, I have a tattoo on the outside of my left forearm with two lavender sprigs, so its kind of like a double-brand, and hopefully something that people will remember me by since the tattoo shows whenever I am holding my camera. That being said, in your professional opinion, would you still suggest changing it to my first and last name "Amanda Cushing Photography"?

    Thanks for your help! I am at the very very beginning of my journey, so I still have time to change my brand before getting started!

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Amanda! Aw! You're so sweet! We'll look forward to the day that we get to have you in class :) We think it's so special that you wanted to pay homage to your grandparents by incorporating their last name into your business name, but if we were in your shoes, we'd definitely still use Amanda Cushing Photography -- and then do some kind of client gift that involved lavender and explain the special meaning to your clients after you've booked them. We hope that helps! Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

    Karina Velez

    I chose not to use my name and I'm glad I didn't. We have over 54k followers on our fb page and lifetime TV featured us and found us because they searched pin up photography in Chicago. Our photography is VERY niche and using my name wouldn't have gone as well.

    I'm definitely the not i the norm but this is great advise for someone who isn't established yet. Thanks guys!

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi, Karina! That's so awesome!! We're so happy to hear that your unique name not only works for you, but is what helps you stand out! We wish so much success for your photography business! We're cheering for you! Hugs! <3