You have heard the saying, “what’s in a name”. Well, I can tell you from experience, that a name can say a lot of things, especially when you put it on your business! In this article, we will give you some tips on choosing the best name for your equestrian photography business, and some pitfalls to avoid along the way!
So you are starting a horse photography business and you are going to make it official with a name, website, business license etc. Since our world today is all about the internet and that will be a place you advertise, have social media accounts etc, the very first thing you will want to do (after choosing a name) is check domain availability for your new business name. We use Godaddy for all our business domains. Their portal is easy to manage and they send you plenty of reminders before your domain expires, and their support is awesome. Here is the link to check on the domain availability your proposed name. domain search box If it is taken, below the search box will be other extension and name choices (if your exact name is taken). I would highly recommend a .com. IF you are really stuck on a name and .net is available, you could go that way, but for business, I would choose .com if at all possible, .net second and I would not use any other domain extension like .biz, .us etc. .COM still rules as the best domain extension and is still the most recognizable.
We are getting a little ahead of ourselves here, first, you need to choose your name! Here are some questions to get the choosing going and it’s fun to enlist family, friends or spouse to help!
- Write down what kind of a horse photography business do you have?
- What is your focus? Is it horse shows, portraits, children & horses, equine art?
- Is your business going to be highly specialized ie. you will only shoot horse shows, you will only do portraits etc.
- Or is your business going to encompass many aspects of horse photography (like us).
Answer those questions and now we go to some name selection tips.
The first thing I will caution you on, is to really think through the above answers that you jotted down. Are you 100% sure that your equestrian photography business is just going to be focussed on ONE thing, like horse shows or Equine art, and you are not interested in doing other horse related photography gigs. If so, you can choose a very specific name and it can be a real asset to your business, as your name can be very memorable and actually SAY what you do. Some examples off the top of my head (these names may or may not be taken).
If you are doing only horse art and selling at art shows, festivals etc, you could call yourself “Horse Photography Artistry”, or “Equine Imagery” or even “Elegant Equine Images”. If your name is Ellena, you could use it in your business name, Ellena’s Equine Imagery. If you have a last name you like, you could be “Smith’s Equine Photo- Art” or something to that nature. Remember, if you are saying what you do in the business name, people will be reluctant to hire you to do something else. Be REALLY sure before you go specific.
IF you are going to do many types of equine photography, this is easier to choose a name for.
You could be “Elena’s Equine Photography”. That says it all, and at the same time, it’s general enough to include all kinds of horse photography. Or if you have the last name of Smith, you can be “Smith’s Elegant Equine Photography” or the like. You get it. Using your name is an easy way to choose a unique & personalized, but general horse photography name.
You can and should consider SEO in your horse business name- if you can. If you are unfamiliar with the term “SEO”, it stands for “search engine optimization” and it’s really important in your online presence. It is the words associated with your business name that will become what’s called “Keywords” to help people find your business. Keywords for horse photography would be for example; horses, horse photography, equine show photos etc.
So it would be good for your future SEO if you incorporated a keyword into your name (a mistake we made in our first horse photography name choice).
Ideas for a good all around horse photo biz including a keyword would be “Elena’s Horse Photography”, clean simple and to the point. Or, if you don’t want to use your first or last name, you could be “Magical Horse Images”, Galloping Photography, Clicks to Canter, Amazing Horse Photography.
You can use adjectives or horse buzzwords like “Saddle Bound Images”. Hopefully these ideas can get you started!
If there is a business name you really like, but it’s taken and it’s in another state or country, you can varri it and make it your own. This is what we did with our 2nd and best horse photography name…(our name story below).
A few words of caution…
So if you are a mainly a western photography shooter, and you REALLY wanted “Galloping Photography”, but the domain is taken on both .com and .net…Add a word or two and make it yours! So you could be “Elena’s Galloping Photography Co.” or “The Galloping Photography Co”., or “The Galloping Photography Group” (if there are more than one of you!). Avoid names that will scare away half the population! Don’t get too girly like “Dreamy Horse Photography”, equestrian guys may not hire you! Conversely, don’t choose a name that is too masculine like “Rough & Tumbled Horse Photography”, many women clients will not be drawn to that name!
Unless you are specializing in children & horse portraits, don’t make the name too cutesy and too child focused if you want to attract adults to hire you. “ABC Horsey Photos”, sounds like a kids horse portrait company and if I was booking a photo for my toddler, it would be my first call! But if I want to buy a fine art horse image for my living room, I won’t be calling ABC Horsey Photos! Get it?
I think you are cooking with gas on this now.
Ok. You have a good list of 5-10 potential equestrian photography names. Now we are going to narrow to the top 3!
You need to ask yourself a very serious, yet ridiculous question…
Wait for it…
How can people botch my name? Yes, seriously… you need to think of the announcer at the Horse show telling the riders…today’s photography is by________.
Is your name clear? Is your name hard to pronounce like “Schmukitelli Horse Photography”…if it is…
You are just begging for an announcer to say that wrong! Does the name make sense for a horse show photographer or is it just cute but doesn’t connect to horses. Here’s what I mean.
Say you chose a name like “Western Magic Show Photography” because you mostly shoot western events like reining or cattle sorting. The show announcer gets your slip of paper with your name on it. He doesn’t read it first, just puts it on his table with the pile of other announcements he must make for the show.
He announces sponsors and donors first, then he gets to the vendors like the guy selling horse tack and finally you, the show photographer. He just picks it up and says “today we have “Magic Photography” , make sure you stop by their booth. What?? That’s not our name, no, we are “Western Magic Photography”! This will happen and it gets REALLY old! Worse he will botch it even more saying we have “Western Photography and Magic show” here today. They do magic shows and photography for your next event. OMG, what???? Yep, this will happen because he is super busy and he associates the word “magic” not with photography and not with western but with magic tricks and the like.
Here’s our personal story of the nightmare of our first REALLY cool but not effective horse photography business name!
12 years ago, we were doing more and more horse related photography gigs.We decided to go with a specialty name for our business designating us as horse photographers. We were mostly shooting western riders and horse ranches and we came up with a fun and very “western” name for our new horse photography business.
We became “1881 Western Photography Company”
Oh how we loved our name! 1881 was the year of the big gun battle in Tombstone at the Ok corral. It was also the last year of Billy the Kid’s gang. It was the year Durango Colorado was founded and the height of the gun toting shoot em up wild West! We proudly designed our logos, cards and even embroidered or logo onto shirts for shooting events. We loved the name and how it looked in our designs.
Our business took many turns including entering the world of english riding events like dressage and Jumpers. Now the name didn’t really fit, 1881 Western Photography is here today shooting an english riding show…
It got worse as we started doing higher end shows. The announcers would botch the name it seemed like every time they announced us! 1885 Photography is here today! 1881 old time western photography is here! (what? Old time photography… that’s not our name! Grrrrrr!). 1881 western photos are offered at their booth. Go get your old time photo today! NOOOOOOOO! Yeah, it became a joke as every show we did, the announcer came up with a new name for us! We had to laugh it off, cause it wasn’t funny!
Ok, were all the announcers dopes? No, it goes back to the old name association thing. People associate certain names with certain activities. “1881″ implies vintage, and when you think of vintage photography, you think of old photos, so it’s not a stretch to think 1881 western photography co did old time photos of people wearing western clothes and guns printed in black and white! Yep… our bad.
We didn’t ask ourselves what our horse specialty was going to be or what we were trying to say with our name. We just chose a cool fun name that looked great in our cards & banners.
Lesson learned. As we got busier and were spreading out into all avenues of equine photography, we realized it was time for a name change!
Our next name became our favorite and it still is, and I’ll explain why we didn’t keep it!
We became iHorse Photography and the whole world changed for the better with our equine photography speciality! We chose it and we found the domain name was taken by an retired fellow who built toy trains! Ahhhhhh! So we became iHorse Photo Media which was not taken and fit since we added HD video services for horses and trainers and websites for horse owners wanting to have an online presence for their horses. We did well and people loved the name which was shortened to iHorse and the competitors knew us by this short and memorable name. Show announcers never botched it, how can you botch “iHorse”, plain and simple. It was a great name and great decision to change from 1881.
We rode with that name for many years until moving back to Montana and slowing down a little on shows and adding in more portraits and more equine art and gallery work which also includes wildlife etc. Now our name was too specialized and again we were faced with another name change, to fit our ever changing business.
We came up with “The Untamed Image” which I love (and we will never change!) and it is general enough to encompass anything we are doing and plenty horsey. But I have to say, I wish we knew back then when we started our horse photo-biz journey, what we know now. We would have chosen our business name very differently from the start!
So hopefully these tips and our name journey story will help you choose a great and memorable horse photography name that you can grow your business with for years to come! For more tips on running a equine photography business, be sure and read: The Best Way to get Started in Equestrian Photography! link:
What’s in a name? … more than you think!!! Best of luck!