Does this describe you?
You start your photography business by taking any job that involves photography and provided a paycheck. Now, you do a little bit of everything, but you are not feeling fulfilled in your work. And, your business is starting to plateau. For many, this is a good start but it is an untenable strategy in the long run.
Yes! This is exactly me. Now what?
Simple—take a cue from nature and specialize. Plants, animals, and even microbes have been specializing for millennia. Giraffes have long necks to reach foliage that other animals cannot. Many birds have lightweight, hollow bones adapted for flight. Humans have the ability to sweat which allows us to run longer distances for longer periods of time without succumbing to heat stroke. These are all examples of how specialization has given something a competitive advantage. Translating this towards our businesses can help us retain—or discover—a competitive advantage, too. In this post, we’ll not only find a niche for your business, but also develop a phrase we can use to market your business to potential clients.
What do I need to do first?
The first step in finding your specialization, or niche, is deciding what aspects of photography you really enjoy and which you prefer to avoid. Perhaps you are passionate about photographing newborns and, conversely, hate photographing weddings. Wonderful, you should consider specializing your business towards infant and child portraiture. You’ll be doing something you love, which will show in your final product. You can still photograph weddings in this theoretical situation; it’s just not something you advertise as your specialty. You can read more about Specializing Your Business here.
Once I have determined my speciality(ies), what’s next?
Now, it’s time to create a marketing phrase for your business. The process is best described in the image below:
Let’s use my business as an example: Lumen Photography specializes in Couture Wedding and Portrait Photography for Adventurous People.
B: Wedding and Portrait Photography
You can see how formulaic it is, but how amazingly it describes your niche and ideal client. The options are limitless. You could do whimsical child portraiture for the nouveau parent or flirtatious boudoir for the empowered female. Half the fun is coming up with the various phrases and seeing which one fits you best. In essence, your phrase is not only describing your business but also “priming” your potential clients to see you as that sort of photographer. When you describe your work as whimsical, your client is more likely to see your work and think to themselves, “Wow, that’s incredibly whimsical!”
As we finish this post, you may have a lingering question about why anyone would want to limit the pool of potential clients they can advertise to. Let me give you three reasons that should convince you:
- You can focus on the type of photography you are most passionate about and stay inspired and creative.
- You can become the number one resource in your niche. When someone thinks to themselves, “I want some flirty boudoir,” the only option is to go to XYZ Photography.
- It’s easier for you to market yourself. Instead of having a blah, boring ad that tries to catch everyone in a wide net, have a compelling ad that targets your ideal client with a call to action that speaks to their emotions.
Hopefully, I was able to give you some food for thought on how to improve your business. If you’re looking for a couture photographer for adventurous people, feel free to check out our work at Lumen Photography.
My name is Evan Uribe. I graduated from St. Olaf with a Spanish and Political Science BA. Nowadays, I focus on my businesses: Lumen Photography, Atera Photography, and Booth 48. I am an endurance athlete who loves to XC Ski , run marathons, and bike. I also love my dog – Jessie. Want to know more, check me out on Facebook!