Thursday, January 28, 2010

Business Day Thursday: It's All In The Name, The Name Of Your Studio, That Is

Good Afternoon Everybody,

DAZ Book I can’t believe it, but there it is – my first “real live” copy of my book.  It showed up just as I was about to publish today’s post. Here is the latest.  "Captured By The Light, The Essential Guide To Extraordinary Wedding Photography" will be shipping from Peachpit/New Riders, the publishers of my book on February 2.  That means they should be on the shelves of Amazon [link] and Barnes and Noble [link] by mid-month. Wow! Amazon already has my Sales Rank at 18,533!  Look out Scott Kelby, here I come ;~)

Remember, I'm personally signing all pre-ordered copies from the Tour and any additional copies ordered by February 28, 2010 through our Digital Resource Center [link]. I know folks have been emailing me about those book orders placed at my Digital WakeUp Call tour too.  Yep, I plan to sign each and every copy before it ships.

Eight Full Hours And speaking of the Digital WakeUp Call Tour, the DVD version is coming right along.  I'm in the process of forwarding TWO MORE HOURS of content over to the video production company to be added to the original presentation.

Those of you who attended the program know I was talking pretty fast because I had a lot to cover.  I wanted to cover even more but time would not allow it - heck, I ran over every night by 15 minutes.  That's why I'm adding the additional two hours of information to the 3 DVD set. 

We are also adding the Bonus DVD we gave all attendees to each DVD set.  That means you will be receiving 4 DVDs with over EIGHT HOURS of solid, fast paced info on off-camera and on-camera lighting, Lightroom, Photoshop, Marketing, and lots more. Here is the link to all the info right here.

Time to get on with today's post. Here we go...

It's All In The Name, The Name Of Your Studio, That Is

Here is something I want you to think about today.  What is the name of your photography studio?  Could it be something like "Precious Moments Photography", "Moments In Time Photography", "Contemporary Wedding Photography", or even "Focus Photography"?

I'm not trying to step on any toes.  I just made these names up as I was typing, but I suspect that there are several studios out there with those names. 

DAZNOTE: I just did a quick Google search on each of these studio names mentioned above. Each name search ran at least 5 pages deep.You get the idea.

I'm not suggesting that these names are bad names for a photography studio, but I do want to question if these kinds of names are the MOST EFFECTIVE choices for your brand recognition.

The last studio name mentioned above, "Focus Photography", was the original name of my studio way back when I opened my studio doors for business in 19?? Whoops, almost gave my age away;~) Thankfully, I decided to change it to David A. Ziser Photography early on in my career.

Why am I making such a big deal about studio names being personal?  Well, because it should be personal, especially in a business that depends on ongoing personal relationship building.

"Focus Photography" was a "thing" but I decided early on that I wanted my current and future clients to remember a "person".  I believe the best way to build "Brand Recognition" in this business is to use your own name on the shingle that you hang on your studio.

Now you get to introduce yourself as who you are, the owner of the studio.  I think that sounds much better than David Ziser from Focus Photography.

DAZ LogoBusiness building is ALWAYS about how your community, peers, and clients recognize you.  And, there is no better way to be recognized than by using your own name and leveraging that name recognition for your business growth and success.

So, if your studio name is a generic name like I mentioned in the previous examples, give a little thought to changing it to your own name.  If your a good shooter with a passion for what you do, I promise you, the name change will be worth it in the long run.

Food For Thought-


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We are starting to unpack the new Canon iPF 8100 ink-jet printer that arrived last week. We have only one minor issue.  It's about 1 inch too long for the space my current Epson 9880 printer is sitting. So where's my saw? ;~)

Anyway, don't forget to check back tomorrow for a more uplifting post on the topic, "Are There Too Many Photographers Shooting Weddings These Days?"  If you've missed any of the conversation these last two Fridays on this HOT topic, here are the links to the past articles:

Post 1 - January 15: [link]

Post 1 - January 22: [link] 

Hope to see you tomorrow,  -David


  1. Here's an opposing opinion.

    In order to build up a business, you want a generic name. If you're called David Ziser Photography, you're essentially limited to being a sole trader. If you expand and hire more photographers, clients are going to be disappointed if they meet John Smith who is clearly not the David Ziser. The old saying in business is this: If you can take a break from your business and it still thrives, you own your business. If you can't, your business owns you.

    In addition to that, it becomes a lot more difficult to sell your studio should you decide to retire/move/etc. John Smith can't take over David Ziser Photography and capitalize on the brand once you've retired.

    This is something to keep in mind, IMHO.

  2. Philip,
    I don't neccisarily disagree, but remember Fred Fox Studios - in Chicago - 100's of photogs shooting. Many single name studios have many shooters working for them and can still sell the business. My friends Kent and Sarah Smith of Kent Smith Photography are in Cabo for 6 weeks as we speak. Talk about the the studio not owning you - wow.

  3. Most people can't spell my name or surname, let alone pronounce it. Figured it would be safer to use another name, so I found the root meanings (from the Latin, etc.) and used that.
    My second name means white and my maiden name came from the Latin of forge, hence "White Forge Photography"

  4. Although my studio uses my name, I agree in general with Philip from a business longevity viewpoint. I once went to a seminar with a world famous photographer who advocated the generic name so he could more easily sell his business later to someone else... Kent Smith may have have other people shooting for him now, but once he retires permanently and has nothing to do with the business no one will accept it still bearing his name under "new management". Sort of like performing as The Beatles with none of the original members on stage! Even if you legally got permission to do it nobody would buy it...Having said that, all my favorite photographers, such as Ben Chrisman and David Ziser (!), seem to use their own names...Interesting discussion though!

  5. David -

    In your opinion, how hard is it for a studio to change it's name? I decided not to put my name on the shield based on Philip's thoughts above. My background was in the the historical world and I integrated that into the name - Tiberius Images. It's always a great conversation starter: "How did you come up with that name?"

    I agree with your thoughts based on the fact that all the 'big name' photographers use their own name. But if you're not looking for success on a 'nationwide' scale as they have created, would your thoughts change?

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

    - Russ

  6. Hi David

    My business name has a real catchy ring to it but also cleverly includes the use of my surname.

    "Miles of Smiles" has now been successfully trading for 6 years and as Philip mentions above, when we grow bigger we will continue trading under the same name which hopefully will become a recognised brand.

    The thought process in the early stages is probably one of the most difficult, but also most important business decisions you will ever make.

    Take the time to think carefully and promote yourself effectively and you'll not go far wrong...

    Darren Miles
    Miles of Smiles - UK

  7. I struggled with this question, and opted to not use my own name for two key reasons:

    1. People constantly want to put an "n" at the end of my last name, which would be an seo and url nightmare.

    2. We don't have any specific plans, but decided we wanted to leave the door open for franchiseability down the road. It's scary enough to license out your brand, I don't think I could license out my own name as that brand.

    Other considerations one might have...there's no emotional component to a name-based brand. This wasn't a key reason, but did nudge me toward a non-me brand. Also, last names can be tricky for women as they have to choose between preserving their brand and taking (or divesting themselves of, in the case of divorce) their husband's name.

    I'm still not totally certain about the decision, but I'm going with my chosen brand for now.