Elizabeth Halford Photography {the blog} » photography in plain English

How I ended up with my business names {and more about how I got started}

This is what elizabethhalford.com looked like when I started blogging

I was asked again today how I ended up with my business names. I suppose it does seem strange that my photography business, Gracie May Photography, is a woman’s name. But it’s not MY name. So I shall tell you the tale of my many names.

When I started my business as a baby photographer back in 2009 {or was is 2008?} I didn’t really think anything of just calling it Elizabeth Halford Photography. Which is fine but I just didn’t really think there were any other options. So I bought a domain, printed business cards and started booking sessions. On my website, I started writing about photography. My first ever post was called “Preparing for your session. Dress to match the sofa?” I think it’s still here on this blog today. After writing the first few posts, I saw a job posting on ProBlogger for photography writers for dPS. I did a guest post and out of many others who did the same, I was hired to write for their blog. Did that make me a professional blogger? I don’t know…but I do know that the thrill of 3 million people having access to my blogging was overwhelming.

At this point, I discovered the stats section of my blog and noticed that many thousands of people were visiting my own blog each time a new post went live on dPS. But I really didn’t have anything there! And I was just using the free WordPress template. Panic! I needed to start creating content for my own blog so that dPS readers {who were interested in photography} would have something to read. And Elizabeth Halford Photography {as you know it} was born.

I found myself with two different businesses, but with one name. I was both shooting and blogging as Elizabeth Halford Photography. But did my clients really care about the clone tool in Photoshop? And did I really want them seeing my sales advice for other photographers? I needed to splice my business. I had a greater following as Elizabeth Halford Photography so I didn’t think that changing that name would be good for my audience. Which was only a couple thousand at the time. Hindsight is 20/20. Had I known what I know now, I would’ve changed it to something less about me and more about photography. For instance, I also own the domain for Photography in Plain English. But, alas, I didn’t change my blog’s name, I decided to change the name of my studio instead.

At the time, I was doing primarily white seamless studio shoots. I couldn’t name the business after myself because I already had one with that name. I wanted the name to be quirky and memorable. And not necessarily anything to do with photography. You know that Cadbury’s commercial with the gorilla playing drums? It’s nonsense and makes you say “huh?”. So I thought I’d harness the power of “huh?” to make a more memorable business name. I entered my kids’ names into an anagram generator and came up with Glacier Cake. Yup, that was definitely quirky! So Glacier Cake Photography was born and I spent a year or two saying “no, I’m not a cake photographer”. People were just plain confused and the name was distracting attention from the work.

I needed another name. Maybe I should have stayed more traditional. I didn’t want the brand to overtake the images. And I’d learned so much about branding by this point. Mainly that I was already my brand. And this thing we call ‘branding’ isn’t about logos or colors or emblems. It’s about communicating who I am to the world through visuals. I had to rebrand my entire business. And it had to be about who I am. I renamed the business after my daughter, Gracie May. And Gracie May Photography was born. I ditched the bright funky branding and in-your-face visuals and allowed my brand to become one with my work which was now being created in Hampshire’s great outdoors, not in a studio.

So here I am today with two very different businesses with two very different visual identities that both represent me perfectly. With Elizabeth Halford Photography, I support photographers. With Gracie May Photography, I actually am a photographer and while many of my blog readers frequent that website, my goal there is to support clients and actually do the work of a photographer which is why I don’t dish about my suppliers or editing techniques. Clients don’t need to see that.

I’m now at nearly 12,000 Facebook likes with about 60k unique first time visitors per month. And every day, I thank God for the business He dropped in my lap. And I’m so thankful to Darren Rowse for giving me the opportunity to write for dPS which has opened many doors including writing for three issues of a Canon magazine and other unbelievable opportunities. I love what I do and I love my readers and the community of amazing people that are now surrounding me and loving photography together. Thank you to each and every one of you!

{further reading}

Don’t underestimate yourself {how I went ‘pro’}

Naming your photography business

How to name your photography business

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  • Heather Clark

    I started following you on DPS, and I started trying to really capture images of my son when you wrote the article that talked about capturing a child’s personality.  I literally went out the weekend after that post and started shooting and I’ve never looked at photography the same way since.  I felt like I was given permission to take images of my son that exemplify “him” instead of trying to imitate all of the amazing photographers out there.  Thank you!

  • Jennifer

    I have a love for photography that I cannot explain. If I could understand more and have more time, I would definitely be out there. I have so many wishes and dreams , but reality kicks in. I am so happy you are able to live your dream, even happier that you are kind enough to share with us. :)
    Thank you!