Crowdsourcing the bloggy peeps: What should I call my photo biz?

by DaniGirl on February 14, 2013 · 11 comments

in Editorial asides, Mothership Photography

I thought maybe the new bloggy banners would scratch my spring-ish itch for re-invention, but no such luck. Now I’m thinking of re-naming the photography business, and I need your help!

Back in 2009, I launched an Etsy site to sell some of my photographs as fine art prints. Due partly to inattention and neglect, and probably partly because the prints were never actually as good as I thought they were, nothing never really came of it. Well, except for one thing. When I was creating the Etsy account on a whim one night, I needed a name, and at the time, Mothership Photography seemed a perfect complement to my online empire (ha!) here on the blog.

The fine art business fell by the wayside, but I co-opted the name when I started taking portrait commissions. Since I was aiming at a family community that was largely blog based, and since it harmonized with the blog name, and since google confirmed that nobody else on the internet was using the name, it seemed a good fit.

Well, the little photography business grew and grew. I started selling my work commercially through Getty Images and taking commissions outside of the realm of bloggy friends, and last year the gross income crossed the five figure income mark. It’s a full fledged business now! And it looks like another agency will soon be representing some of my images. (Yay! More details on that soon.) And with all this growth in different directions, the name just doesn’t seem to fit anymore.

Another thing that I don’t like about the name is how harsh other photographers are on “moms with a camera”. I’m reasonably confident in my own skills, no thanks to other photographers intimating moms like me are an icon of the downfall of modern photography (ahem!) but I do wonder if I am not undermining my own credibility with the somewhat cutesy Mothership Photography label.

And so, for the last few months, I’ve been pondering it. Change the name? Embrace the name? I think I’m at a crossroads. If I am going to change it, I’d better do it sooner than later and if not, I have to own it for keeps.

On the other hand, I think a large part of my success with family portraits is the fact that I *am* a mom and I know how to deal with kids, to put them at ease and get them to show their sparkle to me. And I do have two years invested in the name, and a Facebook page. And a logo! (Oh how I love the little shooting star in my logo. I even considered the name “Shooting Star Photography” – it has a PUN! – for a while, but lots of other people had that idea first.)

The biggest hurdle of all, though, is not brand recognition or marketing but this: what the heck SHOULD I call the photography business? There’s already a DaniGirl Photography on Facebook in Amarillo Texas (4 likes) and one on MySpace with no entries, and a blogspot blog with one post, so that one is more or less available.

I could go with the more traditional “Danielle Donders Photography”. Angela cleverly suggested “Donderful Photography”, which makes me smile. And Beloved and I rolled around the floor laughing at the logos and marketing mischief we could develop if I called it “Double D Photography”.

The porch portraits are working for me. “Perfect Porch Photography”? Hmmm, maybe I’d only get calls for real estate shoots. Some of my favourite photography concepts are “whimsy” and “serendipity” but those are already pretty much taken. I want something that represents ME, my creativity and sense of fun and play, but is also professional and says more than just “I bought a DSLR and now I’m a photographer”, yanno?

What do you think, oh clever bloggy peeps? What IS in a name? Shall I commit to Mothership Photography once and for all, or do you like one of the other alternatives? Or maybe you’ve got a clever idea to share?


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jody February 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

None of those other options seem as valuable/workable as your current name. I totally understand what you’re saying about the “moms with cameras” issue but I bet you get more clients because of it than you lose. It seems to me that your strengths have already attached to that brand and you should stick with it.

Of course, if you really do hate it, then you should totally find something new. I’m afraid I just don’t have any recommendations!

2 liz February 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Keep Mothership.

3 Carly February 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I’m not sure. I like “Mothership Photography” a lot, but on one hand is does seem a little . . . childish? I’m sorry, I can’t think of the right word. I think it definitely suits the idea of family photography, but if you’re branching out then part of me thinks something a little simpler and even more sophisticated (again, I can’t quite put my finger on the right word) would be good?

Not that I can come up with anything better . . . DaniGirl Photography doesn’t really do it for me either. What about something using the word “Postcard”?

Sorry, I’m of little help. Stopping now. 🙂

4 kev February 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

So, you know me, so I won’t beat around the bush.

The photographers who discredit other photographers because they are someone who happens to be a) female b) a mom and c) got interested in photography and actually got to the point where they’re comfortable and good with a camera are asshats. Their opinions almost never resonate with clients, and in a lot of cases they’re total douchebags to EVERYONE who is not established as a pro in their opinion. Do not even factor what they think into things.

If you want to change your name, think of your clients, what’s important to them, and equally important what’s important to you.

I make fun of your watermark all the time, and maybe I shouldn’t. I think Mothership Photography is a name that resonates well with your clients and business. It’s unique, and a lot of what you work on is focused on family. I don’t think it ties you to any one type of photography, and the truth is you’ve already invested time and effort into your brand.

Unless you’ve heard from clients or client reps that the name is off-putting, I’d want to have some really good reasons for change other than change itself. We all make assumptions, and it’s great to sometimes spend a little time backing them up or discrediting them.

I like the name. It doesn’t make me think of mom-photographer, it makes me think of something I can go to.

ymmv. 🙂

5 DaniGirl February 15, 2013 at 9:26 am

Thank you ladies! Ha, Carly I missed the first period in your comment, and I thought, “Gee, I know I asked for opinions, but Carly is usually more subtle than that,” I read it as “I’m not sure I like Mothership Photography a lot”. LOL

6 DaniGirl February 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

Kev, I was typing while you were. I like when you make fun of me, you keep me honest. And it makes the compliments that much more meaningful.

I think that’s why I have sought a variety of opinions, because I *suspected* it might be offputting to some, but have no real evidence either way.

7 Sarah McCormack February 15, 2013 at 10:06 am

keep the name because it is orginal, and there is no good reason to change it! although the “double D” idea would attract a whole new group of clients!

i chose my business name 10 years ago, and although i have often considered whether i should have (especially when i realized, after the fact, that it short-forms into a disease that I actually have….d-oh!), i have kept it. and i am glad i have.

be confident in your choices and go forth with that confidence… as Shakespeare would say “what’s in a name?” a photo by any other name (and taken by you) would smell as sweet!

8 CoCo February 15, 2013 at 11:02 am

Would we be having this conversation if the photographer was a Father?

9 DaniGirl February 15, 2013 at 12:22 pm

LOL CoCo – if Momtogs measure their self-worth by polling the community. Dadtogs equate it with lens size! 😉

10 kev February 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm

pfft. I’ll take speed over length almost every time.

11 Sara February 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I love your business name but I also like Danielle Donders Photography. I’m not a big fan of kitschy names that involve love, moments, memories etc

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