I’m a huge advocate for finding your niche in business.
It’s the number one thing you can do to set yourself apart from all the thousands of other photographers flooding the market.
I should know because I used to be a jack-of-all-trades in my business.
And I can tell you first hand, not only was it exhausting, it wasn’t very profitable.
When I first started out in business, I thought I had to say ‘yes’ to every photography job that came my way just to make a living.
I shot weddings, seniors, boudoir, pets, engagement, headshots and basically anything that came my way.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the work was fun, like photographing pets and their owners, especially if their owners were kids – I loved capturing their special connections.
But as for weddings, big parties and anything that required me to shoot out of hours, on weekends or wrangle large groups of people – nope, not a fan!
Saying ‘yes’ to everything was seriously starting to burn me out, and it did nothing to set me apart in my field.
Instead of being known for being fantastic at one style of photography I was just good at a lot of different styles.
That meant I wasn’t as ‘in demand’ as I wanted to be because there were so many other photographers who were just like me, some of them cheaper!
I didn’t stand out – it was a question of ‘why should I choose you over some other photographer?’
People will talk about your business for two reasons: when you excel at what you do, and when you don’t.
By saying ‘yes’ to all the jobs I was actually doing more harm to my business than good. My brand was so diluted it simply wasn’t memorable – and I wasn’t doing my absolute best work because I was stretched to the limits.
So I decided to make a bold change.
About six months after opening my studio, I started to specialize in the area that I loved the most – pet photography.
I copped a fair amount of criticism for this with people saying things like, “Who on earth would pay for photos of their pets?”
And as it turns out…
…a LOT of people, actually.
But the ones who were loved that they could come to me to help them capture stunning images of their fur babies – and of course, they would sing my praises to their friends.
As a result of honing my skills and sticking to what I love, I’ve become well known for my work.
It takes a lot of patience – not to mention a ton of little tricks – to get animals to do exactly what you want them to do. My clients trust me because they know I have the skills and experience to get the results they’re after.
It also helps that I’m a devoted mama to two fur babies of my own, so I think that definitely helps to make an instant connection with my clients.
Once I had fully committed to my new direction, did a rebrand, and put my studio information and portfolio out there, my business skyrocketed!
I started getting more of the clients that connected with my brand, and people were also willing to spend a LOT more with me.
My style and skill has helped to set me apart, but the fact I only photograph pets and newborns has been key to helping me stand out in a crowded photography market.
So I’d love to know, what’s your niche and if you’re not currently serving a niche market, why not? What’s holding you back?
I’d love to hear from you, leave me a comment below!
Many years ago, i was shooting weddings for a studio. I was strictly a shooter, never involved in any other aspect of the wedding business. In the past 5 years, i have undergone 6 spine operations, several supporting medical operations and 2 pain management operations as well as many other mini actions. I lost my survival job 2.5 years ago. I am finally back to good health and am able to shoot again, however, weddings are not on my immediate horizon due to health as I’m not 100% yet.
I live in a sparsely populated area and i find it hard to find clients. In fact, i find it hard to even get sample work. So, after reading this article, I realize i need to find my Niche area of photography. Not sure where or how to find it.
Kim Hartz says
Hi Ron! Thank you so much for sharing your story. That definitely sounds like a tough road, but finding and developing your niche can help. There are lots of places you can start, but I would first start with figuring out what you want to specialize in. What do you love photographing? Let me know if I can help!