Oct 30, 2019
WISE PHOTOGRAPHER FB COMMUNITY // https://www.facebook.com/groups/wisephotographerpodcast/
WISE PHOTOGRAPHER IG// https://www.instagram.com/wisephotographerpodcast/
WISE PHOTOGRAPHER WEBSITE// http://wisephotographerpodcast.com/
Sponsor for this episode: http://trelloforphotography.com
I realized pretty quick out of the gate that if I tried to do it all good, I would never be really great at anything. My first adventure in finding my niche was family photography. This is where I really developed my shooting and editing style. In the long run, though, it wasn’t where my heart really was, so I tried my hand at senior photography. I went to workshops, I started renting a studio. I offered full hair and makeup services alongside my sessions. I loved my seniors, but scheduling all of that was a nightmare, and I hated how hard the girls were on themselves at times, and it was starting to take a toll on me.
I photographed a few weddings at some pretty low prices right away and learned so much jumping right in. It wasn’t until my 5th or 6th wedding that I found my stride! Y'all I freaking love wedding photography. I love being part of the planning process and helping to craft timelines that have hidden little pockets of downtime that allow my clients to get to sit back and enjoy the day. I love running into my couples at other weddings that will happen a lot in our small community. It’s always so much fun to catch up and hear how life is going for them!
And then my husband got sick. God’s hands were undoubtedly all over that situation in so many ways, but one thing I am so grateful for is the fact that all of his surgeries took place in the winter. Not many people are getting married up here in North Dakota in the middle of January when the weather can be -60 with the windchill. During that time, I watched as our own wedding vows were put to the test, in sickness, and in health.
Going through our two-year struggle with Justin’s heart surgeries and infections gave me a renewed love and appreciation for my work as a wedding photographer. I was blessed with the honor of photographing two people as they stood before God, their family, and friends vowing to stand side by side through it all, it was beautiful but also scary, because we have no idea what will lie ahead of us. Your partner could be diagnosed with cancer; you could struggle with infertility; you could lose a child, or have multiple bad years in farming. But with all the downs, there will be ups celebrating buying the first house, getting a new puppy, lazy Sunday afternoons around the house. My charge as a wedding photographer is to document the day this adventure starts.
It took me a while to find my calling and to narrow my niche, but it has helped me to build a business that is more profitable, more enjoyable, and more impactful than I ever imagined! I sincerely hope that every photographer can narrow in on what they are called to do, and who they are supposed to be serving!
Webster's dictionary defines a niche as only offering a product or service that appeals to a small, specialized section of the population. When it comes to photography, you are choosing one type of subject you enjoy photographing and going all in.
I hope I have at least piqued your interest about starting to niche down on the types of sessions you offer now it’s time to begin the process of figuring out what you want your niche to be
Like I said before, I really do think you need to shoot a little bit of everything in that first year, to get a good feel for what you like and what you don’t, what type of shoot gets you the most excited, what comes more natural to you?
I’ve created a worksheet to help you work through finding your niche. This worksheet walks you through the questions
You will be amazed at just how far down you can niche. Let’s say I decide I want to be a family photographer. Still, some of my favorite sessions have been with families on their family ranches, producing images that showcase their love for their family, and for the land that has been passed down for generations.
Can you see how my marketing messages could be used to attract ranch families who believe in preserving the western lifestyle while repealing others?
My first piece of advice in niching down is to only show what you want to shoot. This means if you are specializing in weddings, you need to remove everything else from your portfolio. So head over to facebook and remove any albums or images showcasing families of newborns. The same goes for Instagram. On Instagram, you can archive or delete posts.
Do family sessions get you so excited? Awesome! When someone inquires about shooting their wedding, that means you're going to have to refer them on to someone who specializes in weddings. It can be hard to do that! I get it! My best piece of advice here is to try to come at this with an abundance mindset. That means that there is more than enough for everyone. Even in my own tiny town, we have about 1500 people. I would have to shoot four sessions a day 365 days a year to photograph everyone in our town. There are more than enough people wanting photo sessions out there.
That doesn't mean I don't feel a pang of envy when I see other photographers picking up work I am capable of doing. But just because I am capable doesn't mean it's something I actually want to photograph, and I have to stop and ask myself why I am feeling envious sometimes!
It doesn't mean you can't shoot anything outside your niche. Sometimes it's fun to step outside your box every now and again. Maybe your sister just had a new baby, or you offer family sessions to just your past wedding clients, the key is to just not advertise these things. I actually just photographed a newborn session for some dear friends of ours as a baby gift. I mean secretly, it was a great excuse to snuggle the newest member of our gang and get my baby fix. It was also a good reminder for me that I do not have the patience to photograph newborns. After the session, instead of posting the sneak peeks to Facebook or Instagram, I shared them with the family and let them post them to social.