I started my business and wanted to photograph EVERYTHING! From newborns, to families, to couples, to seniors, to food, to events… literally everything. But here’s the thing. Since I was shooting everything, blogging everything, and posting it all, I wasn’t excelling at ONE thing. I could only get slowly better at photographing families because I was also spending time driving to and from newborn sessions, events, etc. And to be honest, I didn’t even like newborn sessions, and had VERY limited time when I was starting but also a full-time college student!
Since I was posting everything I’d photograph, I’d get inquires for ALL the things and take as much as possible. I’d photograph a newborn, post it, and then get more newborn inquiries and cringe since I didn’t love photographing that! But I’d take it thinking that’s what I needed to do to keep growing a business and having an income coming in!
If I was too expensive, I’d give a deal. I had people guilt me into coming down on my pricing (people pleaser problems). I was attracting bargain hunters who wanted me to copy their Pinterest board exactly, or replicate what a friend’s pictures looked like. But it’s because I didn’t market myself as being specialized and professional in an area! I didn’t really see my worth as an “everything photographer.” And to be honest, others didn’t either and couldn’t since I wasn’t focusing on one thing specifically!
I finally began focusing on families and weddings, but came to a point where I knew I wanted to do more weddings and less families. So guess what I did? I didn’t post as many family sessions, but posted a lot of wedding pictures even if I was photographing more families than weddings! When I focused more on my niche, my business was able to grow and expand!! But not just expand in ALL the categories, but where I WANTED it to, and I got more inquiries for weddings! I decided I was going to pour more energy and effort into wedding photography. I become more passionate about being a wedding photographer, and was able to book more of those. As far as income, I didn’t make as much with family sessions after I stopped marketing them heavily, but since I had focused on weddings I was able to book more of those!
So here are a few steps to take when figuring out what your niche is!
Start with photographing multiple things.
It’s ok to photograph all the things at the beginning to figure out what you love! I did NOT want to be a wedding photographer at first, but I’m grateful I gave it a chance! Photograph multiple types of sessions multiple times so you get a feel of what this area would look like if you pursued it heavily! Don’t decide immediately after one session that you want to be just that type of photographer! I thought I’d stick with families, but as my business evolved, I had the desire to focus on weddings more!
Ask yourself what you love most!
What do you get excited about heading to, even if it’s a type of session you’ve photographed 5 times before? What can you see yourself doing repeatedly? And ask what you don’t get excited about! This will help in narrowing down what you love doing!
Only take sessions that will help you get there!
You don’t need to stop taking on other sessions completely when you figure out what your niche is, but I heard Jasmine Star advise to use those sessions to further what you want to do! For example, if you want to photograph just couples and have a family session, practice getting couple’s shots with the mom and dad, and post those! Or if a family has a teen girl and you want to focus on seniors, practice getting some great individual shots of her to post! If it can’t help what you want to focus on in the future in any way, it might be a sign to not take it since you need time to focus on what you actually love! Spending less time doing family sessions was more time to focus on growing the wedding side!
Dig further into who your ideal client is!
Once you know what area to focus on, go even further to decide WHO your IDEAL CLIENT is!! This will help your marketing efforts even further, and save you energy from trying to market to EVERYONE! Think about how much easier marketing is if you know WHAT you want to photograph, and WHO you want to serve when photographing it? What type of family do you want to continue photographing? If you love newborns, do you prefer studio or outdoors? For weddings, are you wanting to market towards brides planning intimate elopements, or big, southern weddings? Knowing WHO you’re marketing to after you’ve discovered your niche is priceless!
So here’s a few steps I took to book more of my niche!
I stopped posting other types of sessions, even if I still photographed them.
I got less inquires for things other than weddings, and was able to invest more time and energy into weddings and marketing for them.
Since my time was more focused, I was able to serve and do MORE things for my brides to create a better experience- thus raising prices.
People saw me as a wedding photographer not an “everything” photographer who will bargain.
I still take some portrait sessions, but upped my rates for them so only those who really wanted me and my style would hire me!
I figured out exactly who my ideal client was as I photographed more and more weddings!
This meant I could market INTENTIONALLY to my ideal client instead of to the masses!
If you have no idea where to start, don’t get discouraged. Go through the steps on figuring out your niche, and make it your 2018 goal to figure out what it is!! It sometimes takes time for this, but making it a goal to find it out will help you and your business! I promise knowing your niche and ideal client will give you so much of your life back, and give more time to focus on what you love in your business!
If this post was helpful, you might enjoy my post on tips for getting light & glowy images!