What’s in a name

What’s in a name

What is in a name?
Absolutely everything!

Having a name, something to call yourself, a label to attach to your your work; this makes an incredible difference, and one you should not underestimate.
How did I go about settling on a name?
Hit the link and I’ll fill you in.

As with most self-taught photographers, most of my initial work centred around acquaintances and work colleagues; promotional work, a baby photo, a kid’s birthday party and basically anything you can point a camera at.

The thing is, it’s almost impossible to alter the way you are perceived.
Through all of this time I was “A doctor who likes taking pictures”, and that perception is a real killer. It negates the work you’ve done and the time you’ve taken to change from a happy snapper to an image maker. And I doubt that we humans are generous enough to believe anyone capable of being good at 2 things when it comes to work.

Hopefully I am now more of a “photographer who happens to be a doctor as well”., but the point I am trying to make is that an image sometimes needs a little reinforcement to seem more real.

I found that this perception altered quite steadily after I settled on a business name and logo (Which was actually some time before I actually registered the business).

Admittedly, I wanted business cards to hand to the people I had done work for, and for prospective clients. (Which looks so much better than a name and number on a post-it note!)

My first step was to settle on a name to trade under.

It is a fairly standard practice amongst photographers to name a business after themselves.

I was against this for a few reasons. Not trading under my name has a few advantages;

  • It affords me a sense of privacy.
  • It allows the business to expand should I choose to employ photographers at a later stage.
  • Most importantly, I don’t feel my name has the required ring to it!

So how do you pick a name?
Oddly enough, I was dead keen on Phoenix Photography. The symbolism spoke to me, the alliteration sounded great, and I had a good idea for a logo.

Enter my wife.
(Who is the sounding board for most big decisions in my life.)
As always, her reply was a practical one; “First find out if that name exists in New Zealand”
Turns out it did – back to the drawing board.
Wanted to keep the alliteration going, and liked the idea of fire and flames as part of the design.
Thought of Firebird Photography, but common sense rescued me there!

Enter my wife again, and even more alliteration.
Firefly Photography sounded great.
Even better, no hits for such a business in New Zealand. (Though I would be less lucky in America or Britain!)

Next step, a logo.
Luckily the internet is full of ideas to work from.
After a lot of searching I settled on a few pictures that looked good as a starting point, and downloaded these as thumbnails. I also downloaded some that I hated, as an example of what I DID NOT want.
I then picked out 2 businesses in town who advertised their services as logo designers.

Do yourself a favour and phone ahead for a ball-park estimate.
I don this with any work that I am planning, and I’m glad I do because some fees are horrendously more than I would have guessed.
But I digress

I took these images to both companies and awaited their designs.

Now, I have a rather sizeable bone to pick with Whangarei businesses; the disadvantage of living in a small town is that very often you are forced to make use of a business, as they are the only providers of the service you require.
Mostly this breeds an attitude of “take it or leave it”, and the inclination to ensure customer satisfaction is an extinct principle.

Nothing could be further from the truth with the business I ended up supporting, and I think it only fair to acknowledge the level of service I got from them.

Who are they?
Well, they’re a local business called “Total Idea Company” http://www.totalidea.co.nz/
John provided me with 6 very professional designs, and we took things from there.
Admittedly, it is quite an awesome feeling to see something like that take shape.

I have since returned for letterheads, and will be ordering another batch of business cards when my website is finalised. (Which is a whole different process entirely)
Knowing that I have nothing to worry about when next I approach them is a very comforting thought.

(Incidentally, company number 2 sent me 2 designs, of which 1 was based on an image I asked to avoid.)

More to follow