When you started your photography business you were full of hope…
But now you can’t get any traction. All your marketing efforts are a bust…
You see other photographers in your area charging 3-5xs more than you and booked out…
It’s simple… You don’t have a niche…
But I don’t want to exclude anyone… I need all the sessions I can get.
I understand babe… But think about it this way. You only have $100 to market…
$25 goes to weddings… $25 goes to seniors… $25 goes to families… $25 goes to newborns.
But your competitors have the same $100 and all $100 goes to seniors.
Now let’s look at your time. You have 20 hours to devote to training.
5 hours goes to weddings… 5 to seniors… etc.
And your competitors devote 20 hours to developing their senior skills.
Who do you think will have the better outcome… Who will see the most growth?
As you graduate from a photography hobbyist to a business owner, you MUST be willing to get specific so that prospective clients can easily find you.
However, it can be quite difficult to narrow down. Today, I want to help you get there by offering 5 useful tips for finding your photography niche.
Look through your previous work.
The number one key to sustaining a long-term photography career is to preserve the joy in your daily routine. That means you’ve got to stay true to yourself, follow your personal interests, and surrender to the natural flow of your ideas rather than forcing yourself to follow fickle seasonal fads. When choosing a photography niche, it’s important to have a little sit-down with yourself.
As you sift through your archives, you’ll inevitably find yourself gravitating toward certain shoots, images, and memories about how it felt to be behind the camera on that particular day with that particular subject.
Here are a few prompts to guide you.
Which images are you most proud of?
Which images make you feel excited to keep shooting?
Which images spark new ideas, plans, or desires in your mind?
Which images did you most enjoy capturing?
Spoiler alert! You’ve probably already begun the process of finding a niche. Whether your hard drive is packed full of couples shoots, pregnant bellies, bright eyed seniors or gorgeous women, each and every photograph points right back to you, your personality and your interests. Keep going after the things that inspire you!
Experiment with different subjects
Many photographers fall into the profession by coincidence or necessity. Perhaps you began by photographing your children to preserve family memories or were asked to photograph clothing at your fashion boutique job. In cases like these, your image archives may not actually reflect your natural aesthetic inclinations. So ditch the laptop, pick up your camera, and start experimenting! If you’re anything like me, you know plenty of people who would jump at the chance to stand for a free photoshoot. Use your connections to experiment with different photography subjects so that you can gain valuable experience and insight into what path might be right for you. Here are a few ideas for how to begin.
Couples: Whether married, dating, or engaged, the couples in your life would absolutely love to have their relationships captured. Trust me! Pull your parents or grandparents aside and experiment with poses, angles, and props.
Seniors: Ahh, my personal favorite!This is an amazing time in a girls life and it is the last time most women are photographed until their wedding. There are so many genres of seniors… fashion, self expression, light and airy. So find a senior or teen and get out there.
Glamour: This intimate genre of shooting is detailed, relaxed, and poignant. Schedule a Saturday with one of your best friends and use your camera to capture their unique personality.
If any of these experiments aren’t clicking with you, try not to feel frustrated. Each moment you spend snapping photos is valuable, because it will either lead you toward your niche or allow you to eliminate the ones that just don’t fit. Keep at it! There’s something for everyone.
You’d be surprised how granular photography brands can be. For example, my brand focuses on portrait photography for empowering girls. Honestly, I encourage you to find the most distinctive personal style possible. You may fear that this will alienate potential customers, but in reality it will streamline your talents and attract clients who truly resonate with your work. After narrowing your options down to a few categories such as pets, portraits, products, etc., it’s time to log hours behind the lens developing your authentic creative voice. Continue to challenge yourself with the following question: what makes your work different?
Visit your local library’s photography section and see how others in your space have manipulated color, light, and exposure to create identifiable images, then try copying them in your own shoots. Eventually, your portfolio will develop a cohesive quality that connects each image exclusively to your brand. That’s when you know you’ve truly arrived.
Get back to basics.
In all the excitement of building your own business, it’s easy to lose sight of your true purpose. So, as you’re trying on all these different hats, ask yourself what attracted you to photography in the first place.
For me, it was the ability to uplift the people I capture by instilling confidence and joy. Perhaps for you, it’s the meditative bliss of admiring nature’s many details, highlighting the beauty of romance between partners, or honoring the power of motherhood through maternity shoots. At one point in your life, an experience sparked your passion for the art of photography. Identify that initial spark and continue chasing it! It’ll land you right where you’re meant to be.
Think about the lifestyle you want to live. Do you want to travel to exoctic locations and be paid for it? Do you see yourself telling beautiful love stories through your lens? Do you see yourself empowering women or girls to see their natural beauty? Do you want to capture the most precious moments between a family? Do you want to be seen as an artist who creates award winning work? Do you want to have a small but strong connection with your clients?
Really take time to just think about the impact you want to make with your work.
The whole point of starting your own business as a photographer is to build a life you love.
Your number one priority in choosing a niche should be to nourish your natural gifts and build a business that accurately represents who you are.
Remember, your work should withstand the test of time and continue to provide value to your clients for years to come. In order to accomplish that, you’ll need to actually enjoy your time behind the lens.
Forget the Instagram trends and focus on your passion. There will always be a market for high quality images captured with heart.
Good luck and happy shooting!