In a day and age where social media and other media consumption habits gear users toward a torrent of visual information, how does a commercial photographer go about creating a lucrative business? The answer, according to more than just one accomplished pro photog, lies in knowing how to create your own photography niche. This is, of course, about personal branding to a large extent, but it also has to do with finding what you love, catering to an already existing audience, and getting noticed (and paid!) for it. Easier said than done, huh? Well, it might take a bit of soul-searching, market research, and adapting, but it certainly is feasible. Here’s how:
Create your own photography niche by providing quality products to ideal clients
Do you happen to know at least one photographer who does it all? Product shoots, events, concerts, architecture, fashion, travel, babies – they know all about it and dabble in them all. While, on the one hand, it’s perfectly acceptable to sometimes step out of your comfort zone and try your hand at a type of photography you’re not entirely specialized in, this is not a very good business strategy. See, the reasoning behind such a ‘smorgasbord’ approach is that the photographers in question believe that if they have something to offer to everyone, then someone will surely want to do business with them. Key word: someone. Anyone. On the other hand, though, the process through which you create your own photography niche starts with knowing what you love to photograph and who you can sell it to, ideally.
So, in your quest to create your own photography niche, start out by identifying the following:
- The perfect picture. What segment of photography do you feel most comfortable with? Narrow it down as much as you want. It could be a particular type of wedding photography, or something exotic like pet portraiture. The important thing is that you’ve got the technical skills, gear, and experience, to create great pictures of this kind. Finding this segment will take an honest look on your part at your current portfolio. You can also gauge social media reactions to your photos, for an indicator, as well as ask for unbiased second opinions from your peers.
- The perfect client. First and foremost, a perfect client in any photography niche is one that trusts their photographer and knows they’ve chosen the best person for the job. Then come the specifics. Perhaps you like to work with couples in your area, or with big brands, or not-for-profits. Whatever tickles your fancy is entirely acceptable.
In order to create your own photography niche, you need to find that point of intersection between the two narrowed-down groups above: the perfect product you are able to deliver, and the ideal person to pay for it.
The benefits of creating your own photography niche
There’s far more to gain from specialization in photography nowadays, than just mere monetization. Of course, this aspect is not to be ignored, but here are a few other things you’re likely to gain in the process:
- Confidence. By working with and for people who appreciate the kind of work you do, you will also gain more self-trust in your own skills and value. This way, you’ll be able to price your shoots at a fairer value.
- Identity as a photographer. When you stand out from the crowd, when you’re no longer just another photographer on the virtually endless list of online artists, you’ve got yourself a personal brand.
- New business. This almost goes without saying – when you know what you’re about and what you can deliver to discerning customers, you will also know where and how to go looking for them. If it hasn’t already, you’ll start seeing your photography business take off.