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Thread: Professional name use

  1. #1
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    Professional name use

    Most photographers go by their personal name for business purposes.

    What about a case where your name is the same an established photographer in the same genre? (who's work i find quite awful).

    I am considering using my middle name as my first name for professional purposes. I dislike my first name anyways.

    Any thoughts?

    My name is Tim MacPherson.
    timmacpherson.com is taken by the other guy.

    I am considering Alex T. MacPherson or Tim Alex MacPherson

    ...or should I just go by Tim MacPherson and... let the ensuing confusion over which photographer is which go on.

  2. #2
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Professional name use

    Thought: from business 101; unless you are already a famous person with a well known name, you are almost always better off using a fictitious name for your business, e.g. Sunshine Photography, or something like that.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Professional name use

    While I agree with Oxide the main reason behind "Iron Creek" is that both Sandy & I sell our work and felt it better to be under one large umbrella.

    Here's a suggestion or two: A.T. MacPherson or T.A. MacPherson or just MacPherson?

    Don
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Professional name use

    Why did you choose Dolce Moda for your user name here in the forum?

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    Re: Professional name use

    options are adding photo to the name, timmacphersonphoto.com for example. I have a similar problem, being robert wright which is very common. the author has my unique domain sowed up. so I added photo. Important that you put some metadata or html in the index page to indicate your location which can help to solve google searches for your name better. the line that appears after my url in google is ...is a new york based photographer. the "other guy" thoughtfully did the same in chicago. We still get confused I am afraid.

    My blog traffic helps to drive my name up over his name in search results, the blog is linked off the site page. So mostly I score higher than he does in google, but during grad portrait season his traffic sometimes spikes higher because all the seniors are looking at their pics....

    another idea is to reverse your name. Tim Davis is a photographer whose work I love, at davistim.com. I went out and bought wrightrobert.com, which I kinda like, and may eventually put up a mirror there, or do something fun and put up the opposite of what I do. the things no one would hire me for. could be very liberating!

    so, macphersontim.com?

    also, not a big fan of fictitious names for photographers because you get defined in the mind of the buyer, which may or may not be what you want. I would say all of the "names" in photography are recognized by their names, not by their DBA's.

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    Re: Professional name use

    "Why did you choose Dolce Moda for your user name here in the forum?"

    I am currently operating as Dolce Moda Photography. I want to change that to my
    name.

    "also, not a big fan of fictitious names for photographers because you get defined in the mind of the buyer, which may or may not be what you want. I would say all of the "names" in photography are recognized by their names, not by their DBA's."

    This is why I want to change to my name.

  7. #7
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    Re: Professional name use

    I think you could be well served by timmacphersonphoto.com-if you do what I said to differentiate who you are from the other guy-

    this brings up the whole issue of search engine optimization which I know zilch about-but is increasingly very important. Depending on what you shoot and how you market yourself there are different ways to go about this.

    for example Livebooks is a portfolio site that advertises they do things to optimize SEO-whether or not it is effective I do not know. In general we are all not served well by flash driven websites. (I'm guilty).

    from my perspective as an almost-ex editorial shooter, the portfolio is irrelevant, the website is everything. but you can drive traffic to it by posting on blogs and forums like this, in general by being an internet "citizen" and being on facebook for example, all of this helps your website ranking. you may be able to outrank your competition if you can generate enough blog traffic for example. then the name disambiguation is not really a problem.

    It's your name too! no reason not to represent!

  8. #8
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Professional name use

    After looking at the other guy's website (such as it is) I can see why you wouldn't want to risk confusion.

    I think a good question is: What are client expectations in the market you want to pursue? Do potential clients want to be dealing with an individual person, or would they feel comfortable dealing with a firm?

    If they want to deal with an individual, I think T. A. MacPherson, T. Alex MacPherson, Alex MacPherson, or even Alexander MacPherson would sound fine and would differentiate you from the other guy. Timothy Alexander sounds rather dignified, too.

    If they don't have problems dealing with a firm, you've got a world of possibilities such as MacPherson Studio, MacPherson Imaging, MacPherson Associates (surely you associate with somebody) or some clever combination such as Alexander & MacPherson. (If anyone were to ask who Alexander was, you could just tell them it's your middle name and pass it off with a laugh saying, "I use both names because I'm a multi-faceted talent.")

    If that sounds stupid, note that any used-car salesman will tell you that it's important to find a way to make your name memorable. (Former Car & Driver writer Leon Mandel wrote that during his days as a car salesman, he'd introduce himself to customers by saying, "Mandel's my handle." Corny, but you're gonna remember it, right?)

    It seems unlikely that anyone would ask why the name of your business isn't the same as the name on your driver's license, and if anyone did, I'd think it's perfectly legitimate to say, "Because there's already a photographer using that as a business name and I wanted to avoid any risk of confusion." Members of the Screen Actors' Guild have to register under a name that isn't already in use by another member, which is why Iowa-born actress Susan Lewis (for example) joined under the professional name Sagan Lewis.


    Of course the hot trend nowadays seems to be to go by one name, la Pluton, presumably because it gives the impression that you're already as famous as Elvis or Prince or Madonna... or at least that you think you are. Not sure that would work with any of your names, though!

    Frivolous aside -- Maybe the next trend could be to invent rapper names; what would be some good ones for photographers? "32 Bit"? "Notorious PSD"? "PJ Slick Summilux"?
    Last edited by Ranger 9; 5th July 2009 at 19:58.

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