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pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 12:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have an inpronouncable last name and I was thinking of using a pseudonym. My last name is Tsui. Try and say it. Nope, wrong, it's pronounced "choy." So I was thinking of going with "Choy" professionally. What are the ramifications of this?
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Re: pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 12:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ever hear of Sam Choy?

Just don't switch once you decide what to go with.
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Re: pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 02:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know of many photographers (and models) who use a psuedonom (fake name). Models do it to avoid stalkers ... or guys looking for dates ... or to keep their modeling separate from their day job. Most photographers I know use a fake name to keep their "sometimes sexy" photography separate from their more conservative day jobs ... but a few photographers do it for the same reason as you.

Think of your photography service like the start of a new business ... if you could name it anything you want, what would you call it?
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Re: pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 05:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm mostly concerned with whether or not this complicates model/property releases.
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Re: pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 05:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i think you should call yourself choy, but you should still spell it tsui. no first or last other than tsui, as in Photography by Tsui

tsui forces people to think and that makes them remember and when you need to tell people how to pronounce tsui you get a great opportunity to repeat your name a couple of times and that helps them remember as well.
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Re: pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 05:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamike View Post
Ever hear of Sam Choy?

Just don't switch once you decide what to go with.
Or La Choy. I used to see all kinds of LaChoy veggies in the supermarket as a kid.

I HAVE heard of a Gabe Choy, who is a local photographer here who shoots in the same genre. I'm worried about trademark infringement. His business is actually called Gobo Foto though... But I use him as an example. I am sure there is someone out there with my name who has picked up a camera.

Otherwise, my real name has BIG names associated with it (no offense Gabe), a nobel prize winner for physics and renowned professor at Stanford, and a top action movie director in Hong Kong. I'm actually more likely to get lost in Google searches using my real name or getting a CND letter from Hong Kong.

I haven't thought of using anything but a variation of a spelling of my real name as a professional identity. Well, except for Ratboy on message boards, though I'm fairly certain that would be UNwise.

I suppose the bigger question at hand is, what is the importance, if any, of the ring of a name to art directors and photo editors? I'd like to be remembered for my photos, but let's be honest, I don't want someone seeing my name and not being able to not remember me from before. (How many photographers are there named Bob Smith? Or XYZ Studios/Photography/Media et. al.?)
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Re: pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 05:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyd View Post
i think you should call yourself choy, but you should still spell it tsui. no first or last other than tsui, as in Photography by Tsui

tsui forces people to think and that makes them remember and when you need to tell people how to pronounce tsui you get a great opportunity to repeat your name a couple of times and that helps them remember as well.
I've thought about that, however I don't want to seem too egocentric either. I see a LOT of model profiles with one-word names and I always think, "wow, she's going to be a handful to work with" without even speaking to her. I would be worried the same would go for clients.
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Re: pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 05:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Incidently, no one can remember how to SPELL "Tsui." I just got a message from a co-worker I've been working with for 2 YEARS who spelled it Tsoi. That is a common problem I've faced my entire life.
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Re: pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 06:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My personal feeling is you have a built in marketing hook, don't ignore it. There are so many photographers in the world screaming for the attention of buyers that anything you can do to make yourself stand out should be considered an asset. Design a logo that has your given name in it along with the phoenetics, you could build a whole marketing campaign around that.

As far as legal and professional issues regarding pseudonyms, obviously, consult your attorney as laws vary from state to state. Here in Maryland I'm incorporated so I can call myself whatever I want, I don't know if the same is true nationwide or how it works for other business entities (sole prop, or LLC, etc)

And our 2 wheeled friend is right, once you decide, don't change it ever, I've moved 3 times in 10 years and haven't changed my business phone number once.

Just my 2cents

Steve
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Re: pseudonyms
Old 10-17-2006, 09:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Here in Australia you can register almost anything you want as a business name, providing it's not too close to an existing business name. And you can use your own name plus a descriptive term, even if it IS close to an existing name - the existence of "Joe's Lawnmowing" can't stop you registering "Joe the Lawnmower" if your name is Joe. Registering a business name is a good first step to establishing your presence.

"Photography by Tsui" would be good here. I like the idea of making a neat logo that shows how to pronounce it - could even show how to pronounce "Photography" as a humorous touch. Or maybe "Photos by Tsui" with "foh-toes bi choy" underneath in that serif font that's always used for dictionary entries. It would be memorable, and that's key.
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