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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old March 19th, 2012, 01:44 PM   #1
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What's in a name?


Assuming one is just starting out, would a more creative name be better (Still Motion) than the standard (Name of Videographer films)?

How important is the name of your business in getting clients?

Do you find yourself getting more/less leads based on the name alone?

How did you end up deciding on the name for your business?

Thank you,

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Old March 20th, 2012, 12:46 AM   #2
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Re: What's in a name?

I can tell you what not to do !!! :-)

When I was starting out I told people "I know just enough about video to be real dangerous". From that phrase I went with RealDangerous.Com

We were doing bar bands and their bar gigs, mostly just youtube performance stuff. For the rock stars, RealDangerous was way cool and readily accepted.

Needless to say, RealDangerous.Com didn't transition well to other work. It had a real negative affect as regular people read and repeated it. We kept our catch phrase of "knowing just enough to be...RealDangerous.Com" but it didn't translate in people's minds that our name was actually making fun of our presumed skill level.

So from this experience when we were attempting to get into weddings, I came up with My Radiant Bride Wedding Video and had the webpage done and all looking good. Had the name in gold, deep red roses and a couple of flutes of champagne as the image on the main webpage, it really did look romantic and very nice.

During one of our test runs, I ran into a friend who had no clue I was getting into video. During that discussion I said the name of the company, My Radiant Bride, and when it actually came out of my mouth it sounded so sappy, syrupy and phoney, I almost wanted to puke !!!

So there you go. Two things NOT to do !!!
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Old March 20th, 2012, 05:08 AM   #3
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Re: What's in a name?

For me, it's always been my name. Even back 40+ years as a still photographer. Since I was such an early proponent of working from home (with a legit office and studio) and the IRS wasn't as well versed then as they are today businesses run from home, it was suggested to me that it would simply be easier to keep the business in my name, hence Don Bloom Photography. In the early 80s when I switched to video, the name remained the same for convienience. I figured if it didn't work out, I don't lose much by going from Don Bloom Video Services back to Don Bloom Photography. Obviously I haven't had to do that but there have been times I wish I had never seen much less picked up any type of camera. ;-O
This has been my business model since 1971 and has worked just fine for me. YMMV!
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Old March 20th, 2012, 05:09 AM   #4
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Re: What's in a name?

I bet nearly all photographers you work with name their company after themselves. Now name the last 2 photographers you worked with?

People often have trouble remembering names. But a company name, especially a unique one is often easier to remember.

We have a number of couples say they found us by googling and then noticing our name just seemed to stand out. Its a unique name which people remember and its also a great topic of conversation (although the reason were called what we are involved beer so not that interesting really).

Its also a name which doesnt lend itself to wedding videos only. So it can be used for other forms of work too.

Something thats important is to be able to own multiple domain names. so for us we had to have the .com and the .co.uk. I see a lot of companies who dont have both and when people google them or visit what they think is their website they are either met with a company doing something similar in America or something totally different.

What you go for though will be determined by what you want and the direction you want to go in. do you want your name to say what you do (and possibly be quite a long web address). Or do you want to build a brand which is known for what it does.
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Old March 20th, 2012, 07:18 AM   #5
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Re: What's in a name?

If your name is hard to spell, or spelled differently than it's pronounced, it might not work so well as the name for your business. Try to find a name that fits your style, that's easy to remember, and easy to spell. That will also be a benefit in online search.

My last name is two words, and not pronounced like it's spelled, so wouldn't work.
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Old March 20th, 2012, 11:01 PM   #6
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Re: What's in a name?

A couple more considerations. If you go with your own name, it will be very difficult to pass work along to a second shooter for something like weddings. They always want the top dog, and that's the person named on the website.
Also, having struggled with creating a logo around a rather long studio name, I vote to keep it as short as possible. The added benefit is that there are less chances for typos when someone searches for your site.
I highly recommend hiring a professional who can create a complete marketing package that includes your brand elements. Doing it piecemeal is a pain and often leads to inconsistent results. I wish someone had told me that 24 years ago.
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Old March 21st, 2012, 04:21 AM   #7
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Re: What's in a name?

+1 for Oren's comments. We did our own logo to start with, changed it every 6 months. We have brand collateral with all the different logos on. We decided last year to get a pro to come up with a whole brand story and are really happy.

Also on the name thing. We have a photographer friend whos business is named after him (as they nearly all are) and he started hiring second shooters so he could photo multiple weddings on the same day. No one wants to hire Joe bloggs photo and have Bob Jones turn up. So he had to create a whole separate company to handle the additional shooters.

Everyone who shoots and edits for us is MintySlippers. Who turns up to film your wedding? Doesnt matter, they all work to the same standards and use the same gear.
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Old March 21st, 2012, 07:14 AM   #8
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Re: What's in a name?

I think the demo reel & referrals supercede the name/business name 10 times out of 10. Other than that it's really just a preference thing. I work mostly on the side and have a good friend from childhood who's a CPA (lucky me). He suggested I go LLC and helps me with filings, so it was fairly easy. It's a give & take, sometimes I chuckle when dealing with people who think I'm making my company up out of think air ("Well you need a Tax ID # for us to make a check out to a business?!" "OK, here it is are you ready for it??...."), but on the other hand sometimes I feel it's a bit overkill, such as responding to crummy jobs on craigslist, or part time/freelance work where I use my own name & resume anyway.

Chip posted some good points, don't paint yourself into a corner (WeddingVideoStyles.com) when you may want to branch into advertising or graphic design.

It's a give & take, personal preference. There's some paperwork involved in a business, a small fee, and tax time requires additional filings. It can have it's advantages as well.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 07:51 AM   #9
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Re: What's in a name?

A name is very important.

And while a demo/quaility of work supersedes the name of your studio, you will be judged on the name of your studio by your clients and would-of-been clients. A bride looking for a modern-looking short form video will skip over "Eternally Treasued Video" more often than not.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 07:20 PM   #10
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Re: What's in a name?

We're told very often that clients remembered who we were because they could remember our name as opposed to Joe Bob Whateverography. The other choice we made with our name was that it didn't mean just video or just photography. We're starting to make the push into SEO and design as well.

Our other plan is that when we're done with going heavy on our business in the next few years we'll sell it to a recent college photography grad and he'll have a business with name recognition, website (not our portfolio), and SEO.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 09:23 PM   #11
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Re: What's in a name?

A good name will gain you some points when potential customers are doing a blanket search. As I use my own name, I guess I would steer some people that are the same ethnicity to me, or away. Hahah, but your work is definitely more important than the name, but the name is like a cover of a book, it needs to draw people in.

Besides, I prefer my clients to choose me for my work and not for my name. A name is built up by reputation.

I chose my name as I see myself as an artist and it allows me to change my business to anything I want later. I don't intend to have multiple crews, so I don't have an issue of people not expecting me to film.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 11:23 AM   #12
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Re: What's in a name?

I agree with a lot of responses. Currently I have a couple of names I use for different parts of my video business. SkyHighSports.com, I do mostly Boxing and MMA events. M3Films.com, I get more DLSR work from music videos, time-lapse and corporate. This summer I'll be merging everything to JeffreyRobert.net.(My first and middle name) Taking a page from PhilipBloom.net, a lot of DP's and a host of Wedding Photographers. My business name is a reflection of what web domain I own.

Looking at most high-end photographers and DP's they all start using there names when they reach a certain level of success. To me I look at as if you 're willing to put your name on the line that says something. Also that people are buying into you as a professional and what you represent.

So many times my clients ask if I'm the one that will be doing the work or will someone I hire will. Since I'm very small its almost always me, but I took notice to that. That shows a relationship and trust they have built with me in just a short amount of time. It also shows that in the past they may have had a less than ideal experience with a larger video company.

So in short, think about who your audience is that your trying to attract. Bounce the name around a few friends and family. At the top of the post "Real Dangerous" was appropriate for Bar Bands. Often when I think of bars, I think dark, dirty and maybe a rougher crowd so it works. But obviously wouldn't transition well with say weddings.

One last thing, keep the name short. I would never use a long name such as jeffzimmermanvideoproductions.com - yikes! Might be better as jzpro.com or jzvideo.com
Jeff Zimmerman | www.m3films.com
Denver, Colorado based video production.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 05:33 AM   #13
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Re: What's in a name?

Did you get sorted on a name Joe? What did you end up going with? Do you want opinions on what you've chosen? Mind you, that can be dangerous. If you're happy that your gut feeling matches up with your long term vision, just run with it, regardless of opinion on this forum.

A good place to start is just google your own name. We all feel like the centre of the universe at times, yet feel dejected when joebriggs.com is not available. If you are blessed with availability of your own personalised domain name, snap it up without a second thought, as you can always link multiple domain names, and use your personal domain to market or sell or blog about your service in detail. We're not all blessed with short & cool sounding surnames, but If I was called Bond, I definetly would have branded myself as 007 in the wedding industry, with a professional licence to shoot.

I quickly googled Joe Riggs, & Riggs & came across Boxers, and all sorts, and in addition to other photography services, so you need to weed out all these, to become top of the pile, and if potential clients are trying to find you, that may not like weeding. Who does like weeding in fairness?

So what your then left with, is the need to add extension such as video(s), film, photographic, photography, studio, productions, and my own opinion is that a domain name should be short, and snappy, to avoid typing errors.

We're not all blessed to see long into the future, so my advise is to aim for Everest from the start, even if you feel it's unreachable, and that way, it should mean less re-work, in terms of logo design. You might like 6 guys working for you, you might want to dive into other markets, or you might just want to keep it a small operation, but below should form the key considerations to you, or anyone else looking for an identity for their business.

Future proofing, scaleability, cost saving, & domain availability

Whatever you do, don't rush into any decision, and be sure you like it, as change is costly.
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 02:20 AM   #14
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Re: What's in a name?

Originally Posted by Jeff Zimmerman View Post
To me I look at as if you 're willing to put your name on the line that says something. Also that people are buying into you as a professional and what you represent.
I second that!
Though, you don't need to be successful before you use your own name!
IF you use your own name, people will see you as a person... and everyone likes to deal with a real person, right? :-D
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Old May 5th, 2012, 07:26 AM   #15
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Re: What's in a name?

i've been struggling with this issue for a while now, but eventually went with my own name, so my site is Robert Cantwell Photography with the site title as Robert Cantwell Photography. Managed to build the site after a lot of trail and error.
Probably not the most memorable name but apart form changing it i'm sorta stuck with it!


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