Monday, December 8, 2008

Your Own Worst Enemy?

I don't watch the Tonight Show much, but as I was doing some office work, it was on in the background, and Jay's Monday Headlines feature was in full swing. I was only paying minimal attention, when he mentioned a photography business (that, by definition, when they're in his headlines segment, is about to get skewered, so I did a full-stop. He then said:

"Now this person, this is a photographer, she does pets and weddings and portraits. You know, I'm sure she's a fine photographer - just the business card. Women, you find this attractive? Brides to Bitches."
And with that, an example of what is quite possibly one of the most memorable photography business names in my opinion - and for all the wrong reasons.
(Continued after the Jump)

First - I sure hope that the proprietor, Cathy Farabaugh, has a model release from the woman on the front of her card. And I don't mean some simple model release. I mean a full-blown all rights including possible defamation clause model release, because the photo that is on her business card and on her website (as shown above), is potentially very problematic from a legal standpoint if she doesn't. Further, I think she's got it all wrong - like marketing gone mad.

Cathy's "About Us" page reads:
Cathy Farabaugh has been a professional photographer for over 25 years in the Columbia area. In her studio, located in West Columbia, she photographs everything from “brides to bitches” as she calls it. She has a large portfolio of her work and has been published nationally and internationally in magazines and on calendars. Her business, Cathy Farabaugh Photography (aka Photos by Cathy and aka Brides to Bitches), has been a respected name in the area for many years.
Really? "Brides to Bitches" is a respected name? Perhaps maybe if your planet is in orbit around the Dogstar! I did a Google Maps search, and found that their StreetView car had been through, so I half-expected a double-wide, but a combination of beat-up pickup truck, new pickup truck, and late-model BMW grace the streetview images. I am finding that very hard to believe that "Brides to Bitches" is considered a respected name in any community. What do you think - is she her own worst enemy with a name like that? And do you think that that's her BMW in the photo? Stranger things have happened, but this one boggles my mind.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


Anonymous said...

I think whatever name catches the interest of clients. Not everyone aspires to be photographer to presidents and corporate honchos.

John, I admire your blog and your opinions on various subjects but posts like this puzzle me. Her business name is a play on what? If it works then good on her...if not then I guess she'll change it soon enough. I don't see why it has to be held up a paraded to the world as some bad example or as a cheap joke. If she is a reputable photographer then it probably doesn't matter what she calls herself. Different story if she was an up-and-coming.

I add this to the "why John, why" pile along with that post from yesterday regarding shooting for free where you ousted some guy because he wanted to shoot his congressman (in the photographic sense...) for free. Fine to make a comment but to then do a whois search, publish a zip code and then a picture of the guy....if that info is public then let people do the searching themselves if they are so inclined. By doing this you are just setting people up for public embarrassment....and for what gain?

Patrick Fallon said...

That was a good laugh.

While it is a play on words I would never use... [She could have said Parties to Pooches? maybe?].. I think the more pressing issue is the design of her site, it needs better SEO, more content, more text, more clear info and design. The only gallery I could see was her animals one. The site needs to have strong elements to bring customers from the website to their phones or email accounts - then the checkbook.

If I was looking to hire a photographer, I would check every link, reference, google names, and do streetview. Guess what? So will our clients. What John does is nothing short of what millions of people do each day by googling names, checking facebook, etc. to see what the real story is about someone.

It is how the world works now.


Eric Schmiedl said...

That's a pretty hilarious name for a business. I too can't believe she actually gets business with it. (the Google link lists her as Cathy Farnborough Photography)

But as you once wondered (when I asked about a Creative Commons photo you used back in the "1900 and Counting" DRR post) it's now my time to wonder-- how do you find the time to do that much digging on everything and everyone? I saw your time slicing post ages ago, but it still boggles the mind.

Paulo Rodrigues said...

I think you should phone her and ask her if its her BMW.

Anonymous said...

Seriously John,
Whats the point of this post? Lets stay on topic and not use this site as a way for you to vent your frustrations at people you judge to be too out there.

Clearly, you're a more straight laced person. That's fine - it suits you well. But other people are not. Leave them alone. Its one thing to be jokingly made fun of on Leno, its another thing to be called out as a bad example on your site. But even more, I find it difficult to find fault with anyone who has their own studio and who has been in business for 25 years. I could only be so happy myself.

Anonymous said...

As Dave Chappelle would say as Little Jon "YEEEAAAAA"
Number one rule folks, KNOW THY CLIENT! I hope she makes a fortune off of this PR.

Anonymous said...

There is a wedding photography company in my area that calls themselves Cheap Shots. Almost equally as bad a name. Not sure if they mean 'cheap' as in inexpensive or 'cheap' as in crappy. I suppose its both.

Steven W. Seal Photography said...

I live in Columbia, SC and actually work (my day job that is) about 5 minutes from her location. Truthfully, you would be just as likely to find a double wide with a broken down washing machine and a bass boat out front as you would a 6,000 sq ft ‘McMansion with a manicured lawn in that zip code. Columbia’s like that.

Her business name is both mildly amusing, and offensive, an interesting combination. I certainly wouldn’t market myself that way, but she obviously has a client base that responds to the approach. Also, I agree with Patrick, her web site is a train wreck. There is very little content to recommend her as a photographer. Also, her site appears to be crashing under the weight of the traffic being generated from all the publicity. Again, this does not represent her well. I showed this to someone this morning and their response was “If she is so nationally acclaimed you'd think her website would work.” True-dat!


Unknown said...

I can't believe you went so far as to find her car on street view.

John Harrington said...

Edward --

We highlight the good, the not-so-good, and the what-were-they-thinking business practices, and that includes marketing.

As to the Congressman thing - I didn't publish a photo, I commented on it and put a link to it, and did the research to illustrate that the Congressman clearly has a whole-lota money, so it's nonsensical to be volunteering in such a manner.

As to the research on both. I said I did "a little" research, and that was a grand total of between 1 and 2 minutes combined for both. Doing a Google Streetmaps and doing a whois takes no time at all, so, Eric, that answers your "where do you find the time" question, I'd hope.

As to Anonymous, this isn't me venting frustrations, this is me taking a critical look at someones' business practices and finding fault with them, and pointing them out as a cautionary tale.

Anonymous said...

ok the name is bad. The card looks bad. I would not hire her nor would I refer her to a client regardless of skill. But, it got her on national TV for whatever that is worth....

MarcWPhoto said...

If you are trying to pick up trashy clients, you need a trashy identity. Trashy people need photography too, Mr. Harrington. It's okay to make a little joke about her, but if something is stupid, but it works, it isn't stupid.


Michael Singman-Aste said...

There's (almost) no such thing as bad publicity. Like Larry said, it got her on national TV. I missed the Tonight Show, but I read your blog. I'd never heard of her before, but now I'll never forget her. Cathy owes both you and Jay a big "thank you" for this free publicity.

Will Seberger said...

Dunno. I wouldn't do it, but if it works, hey...

I know of a fashion boutique called Britches and Hose, and despite some complaints about their suggestive name from the people running the upscale center they're in, they seem to be doing fine.

I would also hope that in any case where a person's face is used in a commercial sense that there is a bomb-proof release. Lawsuit lottery can be played for nearly anything.

Anonymous said...

Pretty amusing name. If I were interested in the photography and needed some photos, I'd be open to giving her a call.

If it weren't for the name, I wouldn't remember the work at all so she is obviously doing something right.

Unknown said...

It would've been way funnier if the picture was the same on both sides of the text...

Anonymous said...

Having worked in design and branding for 25 years (actually 14) my view on names like this is that they CAN work. Just not for people like Cathy.

She's picked the name because it's amusing or because she is completely naive. A name like this suits an edgy marketing campaign and needs a GREAT photographer behind it. Cathy is not one of these.

Either way her website is far worse than her name.

Anonymous said...

Cathy has photographed my pets and pets of friends. She's a great pet photographer. For years Cathy's business has been called Photos by Cathy and to this day that is how she answers her phone. The Brides to Bitches and her website are relatively new. I like the play on words but then I have a sense of humor. In the business world, Brides to Bitches makes a good secondary title. Not the name of her company. The website definitely needs work and she's got someone working on it. In my opinion the web person needs to get it done or be replaced. And the BMW is hers.

Columbia, SC

Anonymous said...

Wow! My wife went from a bitch to a bride and back again... Sounds fine to me!
Too see me Moon, Google my StreetView. The world gone mad - what's next itemization of our trash?

Unknown said...

I, too, found it a bit telling that the author of this "rant" seemed a bit too obsessed with Ms. Farabaugh's work, marketing ploys, workplace and clientele.

And then the totally uncalled for use of stereotypes – that anyone in South Carolina must have a “doublewide” and a beat up pickup in the driveway.

I looked at Mr. Harrington’s site and his work. My assumption would be that his mediocre photography skills have been sustained through affirmative action – you know, with “Injun' John” being an underrepresented minority and all that.

Perhaps a Google search of his place of business would show whiskey bottles strewn about outside of a doublewide teepee?

Get a life Harrington.

Anonymous said...

Cathy just did the photos for our wedding in Dec. 08. We are very happy with the work that she has done for us. I think that web is a great place to do research and find out lots of information on products, companies and people but it is also very harmful when someone like this person writes and starts blogs about someone that he has never met or used her services. Small business are working hard to stay alive right now and business owners do not need people like you (snob) trying to ruin their business because you do not like the name?? I guess you are not very busy with your own business to have time to write blogs?

Anonymous said...

You all need to get a life and, literally, just mind your own business. Focus on your image, or images. Work on your marketing instead of attacking that of others. And, every now and then log off, and visit with your bride - that is if you're lucky enough to have one, or still have one.

Anonymous said...

Cathy has photgraphed my 2 Shih Tzu for over 3 years now and the pictures are always gorgeous. One was even displayed in a very upscale pet boutique here in Columbia. She is wonderful working with them and always gets their expressions perfect! I would NEVER trust anyone else with these special times!

Stacy Poulos said...

Your business name is not for the timid and weak. Like my Nana says gives'em something to talk about. Jay seams to be a little brutal going as far to post your address. Not very nice for a fellow dyslexic. He must be running out of material. Congratulations on the free publicity.

I call my self a 'Junkyard photographer' I've always used, 'used cameras', I can barley rub two nickels together and my photography is phenomenal. At least I like to think so.

As my FreeThinkers University "Declaration Of Perspective" states: "I recognize, as I strive to be my best, that money, grades, and others' opinions are never a measure of my self-worth, talent or actual potential." (Don't forget that!!!)

Or as my Nana would further state: "Opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one"

Shame of Jay for making such a comparison. You have to realize he is just a comedian running out of material, and thats what they do, pick on people.

I have a old tailor parked out in front of my pad. I'm thinking about moving in it and going away.

If you were closer I'd have you take a picture of me for sure. You're an awesome photographer!

Maybe Jay can buy my book "Life In A Nutshell" and pick on my grammar and spelling so I can get some publicity.

PS Thank you for you support at

Anonymous said...

In reply to Mark Palmer's comment about Cathy's choice of a name. Let me assure you she has to be a very amusing, upbeat, humorous lady, or at least that is the impression I have from looking at both her websites. As for being naive, she may be a little bit, but then again, my impression of her is that she has an open, honest and loving heart. Generally people like that don't conceive that others will attack you for no other reason that just to have something to talk about. If the owner of this post is so great, makes so much money photographing politicians, why does he spend so much time trashing other photographers who don't live in his area and are not a threat to his business? People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I personally was very amused by William's and would love to see a Google shot of this blog owners home, if he has the nerve to publish it! And being part Native American myself, I was not at all offended by William's post... you see I have a sense of humor too!

Okay, she made a mistake with the web designer, but according to another post, she is working on it.

Give the gal a break, get a sense of humor!

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Unknown said...

I can't believe this blog!! John, what were you thinking??? You even posted her address?? What kind of SICKO are you?? Maybe you're just jealous because your not on Leno!!

You owe this Lady an apology!!

Get a life!


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