By Jeanine Ibrahim
Photographer Meg Laubscher is one part practical businesswoman, one part creative spirit. The New Yorker balances a college degree in Business Marketing with a curiosity about the camera’s ability to tell a story – something she first discovered as a young girl growing up in South Africa.
Her marketing background, combined with experience she gained by earning a Master’s of Digital Photography from the School of Visual Arts (SVA), led her to choose this name for her website: www.Meg.photography.That’s ‘dot-photography’ instead of ‘dot-com,’ and it's proven a smart way to launch her career, she says.
The biggest advantage of using Meg.photography for her site, she says, is it's simplicity. It's so easy-to-remember that she often finds it's better than carrying a business card while networking.
The 30-year-old spoke with Name.Kitchen about how a “not-com” domain benefits her as an emerging entrepreneur building a brand and website.
How important is a website, and subsequently a domain name, to a new photographer?
It’s quite important. People want to see the quality of your work before they will hire you. For me, starting out, I’m new in the industry. I need a good website and to put my name out there until my name becomes less important because people will recognize my work.
Why did you decide to use the not-com domain ‘dot-photography’ [.photography]?
I liked the idea of having my profession in the domain as an alternative to the normal ‘dot-com.’ I also felt that it seemed more professional to have a domain that was linked to my line of work, not just something I hadn’t given much thought to.
And, as a new photographer launching my career, I didn’t want a website name that would limit me, or imply that I offered just one type of photography.
How did you learn about ‘dot-photography’ as an option?
We were working on our branding and marketing at SVA when the head of our department told us about ‘dot-photography.’ She said that if we wanted to get serious, because most of us then didn’t really have enough work for a good website, we should consider it for our websites.
I remember the day that the ‘dot-photography’ domain was going for sale. I stayed up until 12:00 at night, and I quickly bought it on the minute. The domain is perfect. It’s a seamless website, just my name and what I do.
Why did you decide to use only your first name in the domain name?
My whole life I’ve had a problem with people pronouncing Laubscher or spelling it. If I used my whole name or a complicated title, it’s harder to remember. My first name is so simple, I thought it’d be easier for people to find me starting out. It’s worked out great for me. It comes up first if you type it in (to a search engine). Then when you click onto my website, it shows my full name.
At one point I was deciding on something more creative and fun that didn’t involve my name, but was rather a pun/play on words around photography. Then I decided it needed to be more personal. Right now, it’s most important to promote myself, so my website should have my name in it.
How has your “dot-photography” domain proven better than carrying business card?
Everyone forgets things when they’re in a rush. I think that sometimes people will either lose a business card, and some won't even pause to read what one says. If they can remember my first name, Meg, and that my industry is photography, they can easily find my website.
It’s simple: “Meg” and “photography.” Literally, that’s my whole website. You don’t even have to put “www.” It’s “Meg-Dot-Photography” … and nothing else.
You have such a simple domain name, but a wide range of work on your website. Why?
Yes, my website is quite broad. I’ll be fine tuning it in the next two to three years. I’ve only been doing photography properly for more than two years, so I haven’t specialized in anything. I’m genuinely interested in all areas. I could do fashion and editorial in New York. I also love wedding photography. I know some people don’t, but I love people and newborns. As soon as I find a niche, my website will adapt to reflect that. If I’m making a good income in one area, I’ll stick to it.
As you explore finding your niche, how does having a not-com domain, Meg.Photography, benefit you?
By just using my name and photography for my website, I feel I can take on all kinds of jobs. Then, if my focus in fact becomes weddings, I still won’t have to change my domain.
[The photos on my] website will always change. Three years down the road, maybe I won’t like the styling, templates, or the design of the website. But the domain will always apply to me. There’s no need to change it for any industry I go into, or for anything I do with photography.
Learn more about this business by visiting the website www.Meg.photography.