UPDATE WED MARCH 16
Thanks to all the inputs so far! Here are the major learnings so far.
1. We need a graphic element to communicate what we do: outdoor photography (landscape and architectural). Preferably, recognizable at a distance (think on jacket while we're out shooting).
2. Cursive fonts are not resonating; evoking wedding or fashion photography, so not "us."
3. Fonts with missing segments don't seem to be resonating either, with concerns that it could be a fad, requiring a new identity in a couple of years.
4. There is a need for color. Doesn't need to be a lot, but enough to break the notion that we only do black and white (we don't). However, we need to be able to print in B&W, which complicates things a tad.
5. One design element appears to be somewhat irritating to some because it's (over)used: the generic shutter graphic. Let's try to avoid that one, or at least reinvent it!
Electronically, the logo will appear on a simple gallery website and on watermarked photos. In print, the logo will typically appear on business cards, posters, flyers, and stationary.
HOW TO STAND OUT
We want to emphasize quality over quantity.
A distinctive shape in addition to the name (and in lieu of the initials), although we don't have a particular shape in mind. Here is an example (the link between the name and logo is obvious here).
To have the initials "PE" or "PEP" (second 'P' for 'photography') used in some manner to create a distinctive logo.
A combination of A and B :)
What we are not looking for:
There has to be a graphical element to make the logo distinctive, so "simple" typographic spin on the business name alone (i.e., just the name, with perhaps the addition of lines or a simple frame) would not be sufficiently distinctive.
Dark neutrals, purples, and indigos are preferred, as they convey a sense of luxury. A splash of color to express the fact that we do also do color photos is welcome as well.
We like fonts such as Raleway as it is timeless, crisp, and elegant. It also shows well both on screen and in print. It doesn't have to be exactly Raleway, though. This is just an example.
Part of the challenge of the design will be to convey a crisp, professional look, while also suggesting the ethereal feel of many of our pictures. It has to be distinctive, i.e. recognizable without the actual name.
In the spirit of quality over quantity (how to stand out), we would favor a simple, uncluttered, yet elegant design. "Less is more."
EXAMPLES OF LIKE/NOT LIKE
Classic, more organic design:
Clean design with outlined shape, from 99designs "Assessing your style" page. This is very nice.
EXAMPLES ON HOW TO ADD COLOR
These are all variations of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (which dates me, for sure!)
The original design, too sharp and geometric for us:
Turbulence, organic, fluid, cloud and water-like:
Thank you for taking the time to read all this! We hope to hear from you soon.