On today's episode we talk about:
Aaron: [00:00:15] Hello, and welcome to Episode 14 of the Marketing Natives. Today we are going to talk about why a photographer must find their niche. We're really going to just break down some points and hopefully convince you guys or at least give you some reasoning to stop being a generalist when you're a photographer.
Christian: [00:00:36] And we have Franklin here who is actually a photographer.
Franklin: [00:00:38] Yes. And I'm so happy to be talking about this because of, I guess you can say, a personal encounter with someone that was telling me that I need to try to shoot everything and not bottleneck myself. Yeah.
Christian: [00:00:53] So you're saying you've had this experience firsthand.
Franklin: [00:00:56] Yes.
Christian: [00:00:57] So you were the photographer who would just take everything. Anything.
Franklin: [00:01:01] Right. And I guess you can say to, like, to clarify, like, there's no way that you're going to get away from actually, like, shooting certain things especially when you're starting out. If you are shooting- if you want to shoot weddings but, like, someone asks you to come and shoot, like, a birthday party and you know that you need to pay the bills. I'm sorry, sir, but you need to get up and get geared up for cake and ice cream and screaming babies and very, very high-strung mothers that are, like, ready for the day to be over with whenever it comes to their birthday party because you have to pay the bills. But we're talking today specifically about, like, what you're going to put out there and who you're going to be marketing to.
Christian: [00:01:44] Yes. Obviously, there's benefits of trying new things, new styles of photography. So we're not saying start right off with a specific niche. Obviously like Franklin just said at the beginning, you can just sort of test the waters. See what you enjoy, and I feel like that's the first point.
Franklin: [00:02:03] Right.
Christian: [00:02:03] You have to enjoy what you're taking pictures of, you know? Some people like to take pictures of newborn babies. Some people like to take pictures of weddings, landscapes. I mean, there's a ton of niches inside of photography.
Franklin: [00:02:17] Yeah. And some people even like to take pictures of, like, cats and dogs and gerbils, and like you're laughing. But like, some people have made a career out of taking pictures out of action figures and, like, putting them in, like, creative different, like, arrangements. There are a plethora of things that you can do.
Aaron: [00:02:36] Absolutely. And so that's all great while you're starting out, but I think that's, like, the major thing is that the barrier of entry is really, really low. Like Christian and I are not photographers, but we could go grab a camera and walk around and say hey, we are now photographers. We'll go do these jobs really cheap, and we'll classify ourselves as photographers for whatever. So there's a ton of people who pick up a camera and say I'm a photographer. So that's one reason why just being a generalist is you kind of even yourself out with pretty much everybody else.
Franklin: [00:03:09] Exactly. And you kind of shoot yourself in the foot too because you won't be able to charge as much as somebody that does weddings and that's all they doing and they specialize in weddings because you shoot everything. That's what a generalist does. I mean like, if you get a quote for- if you give a quote to someone to come and shoot a birthday party- I keep on going to that because I hate birthday parties, but if you are shooting birthday parties and weddings, they're still classified as events. So you won't be able to charge what someone that specifically shoots weddings which sometimes can range from anywhere between 2000, sometimes on up to like five and six thousand dollars specifically because that's what they do on a constant basis. They specifically shoot weddings.
Aaron: [00:03:56] Right. I was going to say a good example is actually today - we're recording this in September - my sister is- she grabbed a camera and thought she could be- I mean, I'm not saying she's not a photographer, but-
Christian: [00:04:08] Shots fired.
Aaron: [00:04:09] No, I'm not saying that. I'm just saying she's- they're making air movement over here behind me, but I'm not saying she's not a photographer. But she's kind of been trying out like portrait photography. She's been trying other things, and now this weekend she's trying out her first wedding. She's doing it for a much lower rate than somebody else just because she doesn't know what all she needs to do. She's been doing the research on. She hasn't found out if weddings are going to be her niche. If she wants the portrait photography. So that's kind of going along with that, but it's a perfect example of, you know, just making sure you find out what you want to do. But also she's going to do a lot lower price than somebody else who specializes in the weddings.
Franklin: [00:04:48] Yes.
Christian: [00:04:49] That's very true. Now before we move on here, let's talk about sort of this negative effect to it. I mean, if someone asked you, Franklin, hey, would you consider, you know, a wedding shoot? You know, it's OK to say no to that person.
Franklin: [00:05:06] Yes.
Christian: [00:05:07] At the same time, it's negative because you don't want to feel like you're saying no to a potential client.
Franklin: [00:05:15] Right.
Christian: [00:05:15] But at the same time, if it's something that you don't enjoy, don't it.
Franklin: [00:05:19] You shouldn't do it. You shouldn't do it especially if you have the ability to do it. Specifically why you shouldn't do it is because if you are- which is one of my points. If you're one of those people that like to, like- if you're shooting, you're going to be shooting, and you're going to be practicing whenever you're shooting that specific niche. And one, it'll take away time that you could be putting energy into actually shooting or finding a client that you want to be shooting. Continuing to, like I guess you can say, putting energy into trying to dissect that specific niche of photography that you want to be shooting is where you need to be. And if you want to shoot high school portraits for, like, high school graduates or even college graduates, you should spend your time perfecting your skill level at actually shooting portraits specifically because then you can niche down to where you want to market that particular type of portrait industry. But weddings- I can talk all day about that because it's just, like, that's a different ballpark. So if you want to actually get into shooting weddings then yeah, you should dive until all you're going to shoot are our weddings.
Christian: [00:06:39] Now speaking about advertising. Basically, I mean, if you own that niche, it's going to be a lot easier for you to talk to those people. It's going to be a lot easier to speak directly to that particular audience, whether it's school pictures, weddings, whatever, but it's going to be a lot easier just to get those qualified leads online.
Aaron: [00:07:06] Right. I think something here is that when you talk specifically to like- so we run some ads and say we're running something for like newborn mothers. Like you know, you could do an ad where it says like just had your newborn, how are you going to capture the moment? Like that ad is so specific to those newborn mothers, and you could target those people versus are you looking for a photography this weekend or portraits this weekend, family portraits this weekend? That's a lot harder to market to than it is something very specific. Especially online you can target very specifically to, like, people who just got engaged, to the wedding industry. You could go after that and say, hey, you got engaged. Now the biggest thing is, you know, planning to capture those moments or whatever, but it's just niching it down and talking specifically to them. And you'll practice getting better at talking directly to them versus just general photography where you may not hit as much. You're throwing- It's kind of like a shotgun approach versus like a pistol or rifle approach.
Christian: [00:08:12] Go ahead. And we actually know a photographer who I think she started with family photography, and then she's now trying to switch to more corporate headshots. So even if you find your niche and you work on your niche for so many years, that doesn't mean that that's in stone. You can definitely venture out and try new things even after the fact that you think you've found your niche. It's good. I mean, sometimes one, it gets to easy for you maybe, or you just don't feel the creative juices flowing in you anymore.
Franklin: [00:08:50] And that was one of the reasons why she said that she wanted to switch to the corporate side because she felt like picking up her camera and she would go and shoot a family was like basically like drinking water. Like, just put the cup under the sink and just pour and drink. It was just that simple. So she feel like she's being challenged to do it. Another thing that I would actually like to add to why it's so important to, like, find your specific, like, lane, niche, or whatever you want to call it, whatever you're shooting, is because your presentation is everything. Now you might have a website where you're advert- like, on your website you might show that you are, like, well-versed in photography. You know what you're doing. It gives your client the ability to know that, OK, I know this guy shoots portraits, but maybe I can get him to come and shoot my wedding. Maybe. I'll reach out to him to get a quote, but if you want to shoot portraits, make sure that every social platform that you are, like, on, make sure that that's where you're showing your portrait work. If you're putting them on Pinterest, if you're putting them on Instagram, if you're putting them on Facebook, don't post weddings if that's what you- if you don't want to, like, shoot weddings, or let people know that you are actually shooting weddings. Give the people that want you to shoot that the ability to reach out to you, but if you want to make sure that people know and understand that that's not the lane that you're trying to go in, make sure that you don't give off a false, I guess you can say, a false perception that that's what you are shooting. Just because you shot it, doesn't mean that you have to show people that you shot it.
Christian: [00:10:30] Yeah exactly. I feel like a lot of photographers also do- you know, once you find your niche, then make it part of your logo. You know, say Franklin Williams and then wedding photographer because you love weddings.
Franklin: [00:10:43] Ha ha ha ha ha.
Christian: [00:10:45] So put that and make that part of your logo. Put that on your business cards. Put that on social media, and yeah, just make it very apparent that you are a wedding photographer.
Aaron: [00:10:53] Right. I was going to say I think that's the branding aspect of it. So for example, another photographer- which we'll release these photographers in the show knows, but like for Fred from Fredshots up here in McKinney, he just calls himself the headshot photographer. He does other photography for other things, but he just brands himself as Fredshots Photography and does headshots. And that's specifically people go to them for that, and then they ask him, like Franklin said, questions for other things like, hey, can you do videos and pictures for other things? He's like sure, but I'm the headshot photography guy.
Franklin: [00:11:25] Exactly. And I've always loved his name because his name is Fred and it goes with shots. Like headsets, Fredshots. It's ripe in a brand.
Christian: [00:11:36] It's true. I didn't notice that, but yeah.
Franklin: [00:11:38] Fredshots.
Christian: [00:11:39] Franklin, let me ask you a question since you're a photographer. Have you ever experienced a client or potential client who you said no and they just sort of backlashed on you and said like-?
Franklin: [00:11:53] Nope. Sorry. I apologize to Aaron because Aaron's actually listening to the playback. Like, I didn't mean to, like, blow your eardrum, but actually, no, I haven't because I very rarely ever tell a client like no, I can't do it. I'll tell them- give them different options. Like hey, I don't do that, but I can do this.
Christian: [00:12:15] Or you can refer photographer friends of yours who actually do specialize in that.
Franklin: [00:12:20] Exactly. The one thing that I definitely am completely opposed to doing right now is printing. That's one thing I am, like, completely adamant about saying no, I don't print. Like because very rarely does anyone print now, but as far as, like, having someone, like, backlash me, I can honestly say thanks to God I haven't had that actually happen.
Christian: [00:12:44] That's good.
Aaron: [00:12:46] One last thing to put on here I guess is that if you start doing a bunch of things, again being a generalist, you may not enjoy it. The money is not necessarily going to drive you. So if you do the job and you don't do as well as what you potentially could be- say for example, Franklin does a wedding, but he's just kind of, you know, dang this is another paycheck instead of passionately trying to grab the best images and everything and he doesn't put out his best work. If the client becomes unsatisfied at that point, that could potentially ruin business for him in the future instead of just saying no, I can't do it where he's not passionate and actually giving his full effort. And you may say I'm going to do my best job, but really if you don't care about it, you're really not living up to the full potential of what you could be doing.
Franklin: [00:13:31] So to end, love your art, and if you really are a photographer, no matter what you're going to be shooting, you better shoot it like it's the greatest thing on the face of the planet. Make sure that you are practicing. Make sure that you're practicing on that specific niche. Make sure that you are giving yourself the ability to be marketable. Don't be a generalist. And yeah, those are the key points.
Aaron: [00:13:59] All right, guys. We want to thank you for tuning in. Make sure you click that subscribe button. Even over on our website if you go to bitbranding.co/podcasts, you can check out all of our other episodes and the ability to leave comments there. We'd love to hear your feedback on other episodes, and make sure you click those three buttons in the right hand corner and share this episode with a friend. We know that you have a friend who's a photographer who's just trying to break out and maybe grow their business and this will help them to secure a niche. So make sure you share this with a friend, and we will see you guys next week. Or I guess you'll hear us next week.
Christian: [00:14:32] Yeah, you'll hear us for sure.