Why a Photographer Must Find a Niche

September 18, 2017

Show Notes

On today's episode we talk about: 

  • Being a generalist
  • The benefits of finding your niche
  • How to find your niche


Aaron: [00:00:15] Hello,and welcome to Episode 14 of the Marketing Natives. Today we are going to talkabout why a photographer must find their niche. We're really going to justbreak down some points and hopefully convince you guys or at least give yousome reasoning to stop being a generalist when you're a photographer.


Christian: [00:00:36] Andwe 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, apersonal encounter with someone that was telling me that I need to try to shooteverything and not bottleneck myself. Yeah.


Christian: [00:00:53] Soyou're saying you've had this experience firsthand.


Franklin: [00:00:56] Yes.


Christian: [00:00:57] Soyou 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'regoing to get away from actually, like, shooting certain things especially whenyou'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 knowthat you need to pay the bills. I'm sorry, sir, but you need to get up and getgeared up for cake and ice cream and screaming babies and very, veryhigh-strung mothers that are, like, ready for the day to be over with wheneverit comes to their birthday party because you have to pay the bills. But we'retalking today specifically about, like, what you're going to put out there and whoyou're going to be marketing to.


Christian: [00:01:44] Yes.Obviously, there's benefits of trying new things, new styles of photography. Sowe're not saying start right off with a specific niche. Obviously like Franklinjust said at the beginning, you can just sort of test the waters. See what youenjoy, and I feel like that's the first point.


Franklin: [00:02:03] Right.


Christian: [00:02:03] Youhave to enjoy what you're taking pictures of, you know? Some people like totake 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 oftaking pictures out of action figures and, like, putting them in, like,creative different, like, arrangements. There are a plethora of things that youcan 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. LikeChristian and I are not photographers, but we could go grab a camera and walkaround and say hey, we are now photographers. We'll go do these jobs reallycheap, and we'll classify ourselves as photographers for whatever. So there's aton of people who pick up a camera and say I'm a photographer. So that's onereason why just being a generalist is you kind of even yourself out with prettymuch everybody else.


Franklin: [00:03:09] Exactly.And you kind of shoot yourself in the foot too because you won't be able tocharge as much as somebody that does weddings and that's all they doing andthey specialize in weddings because you shoot everything. That's what ageneralist does. I mean like, if you get a quote for- if you give a quote tosomeone to come and shoot a birthday party- I keep on going to that because Ihate 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 someonethat specifically shoots weddings which sometimes can range from anywherebetween 2000, sometimes on up to like five and six thousand dollarsspecifically because that's what they do on a constant basis. They specificallyshoot weddings.


Aaron: [00:03:56] Right.I was going to say a good example is actually today - we're recording this inSeptember - 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] Shotsfired.


Aaron: [00:04:09] No,I'm not saying that. I'm just saying she's- they're making air movement overhere behind me, but I'm not saying she's not a photographer. But she's kind ofbeen trying out like portrait photography. She's been trying other things, andnow this weekend she's trying out her first wedding. She's doing it for a muchlower rate than somebody else just because she doesn't know what all she needsto do. She's been doing the research on. She hasn't found out if weddings aregoing to be her niche. If she wants the portrait photography. So that's kind ofgoing along with that, but it's a perfect example of, you know, just makingsure you find out what you want to do. But also she's going to do a lot lowerprice than somebody else who specializes in the weddings.


Franklin: [00:04:48] Yes.


Christian: [00:04:49] That'svery true. Now before we move on here, let's talk about sort of this negativeeffect 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] Atthe same time, it's negative because you don't want to feel like you're sayingno to a potential client.


Franklin: [00:05:15] Right.


Christian: [00:05:15] Butat the same time, if it's something that you don't enjoy, don't it.


Franklin: [00:05:19] Youshouldn't do it. You shouldn't do it especially if you have the ability to doit. Specifically why you shouldn't do it is because if you are- which is one ofmy points. If you're one of those people that like to, like- if you'reshooting, you're going to be shooting, and you're going to be practicingwhenever you're shooting that specific niche. And one, it'll take away timethat you could be putting energy into actually shooting or finding a clientthat you want to be shooting. Continuing to, like I guess you can say, puttingenergy into trying to dissect that specific niche of photography that you wantto be shooting is where you need to be. And if you want to shoot high schoolportraits for, like, high school graduates or even college graduates, youshould spend your time perfecting your skill level at actually shootingportraits specifically because then you can niche down to where you want tomarket that particular type of portrait industry. But weddings- I can talk allday about that because it's just, like, that's a different ballpark. So if youwant to actually get into shooting weddings then yeah, you should dive untilall you're going to shoot are our weddings.


Christian: [00:06:39] Nowspeaking about advertising. Basically, I mean, if you own that niche, it'sgoing to be a lot easier for you to talk to those people. It's going to be alot easier to speak directly to that particular audience, whether it's schoolpictures, weddings, whatever, but it's going to be a lot easier just to getthose qualified leads online.


Aaron: [00:07:06] Right.I think something here is that when you talk specifically to like- so we runsome ads and say we're running something for like newborn mothers. Like youknow, you could do an ad where it says like just had your newborn, how are yougoing to capture the moment? Like that ad is so specific to those newbornmothers, and you could target those people versus are you looking for aphotography this weekend or portraits this weekend, family portraits thisweekend? 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 justgot engaged, to the wedding industry. You could go after that and say, hey, yougot engaged. Now the biggest thing is, you know, planning to capture thosemoments or whatever, but it's just niching it down and talking specifically tothem. And you'll practice getting better at talking directly to them versusjust general photography where you may not hit as much. You're throwing- It'skind of like a shotgun approach versus like a pistol or rifle approach.


Christian: [00:08:12] Goahead. And we actually know a photographer who I think she started with familyphotography, 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 trynew things even after the fact that you think you've found your niche. It'sgood. I mean, sometimes one, it gets to easy for you maybe, or you just don'tfeel the creative juices flowing in you anymore.


Franklin: [00:08:50] Andthat was one of the reasons why she said that she wanted to switch to thecorporate side because she felt like picking up her camera and she would go andshoot a family was like basically like drinking water. Like, just put the cupunder the sink and just pour and drink. It was just that simple. So she feellike she's being challenged to do it. Another thing that I would actually liketo 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 becauseyour presentation is everything. Now you might have a website where you'readvert- like, on your website you might show that you are, like, well-versed inphotography. You know what you're doing. It gives your client the ability toknow that, OK, I know this guy shoots portraits, but maybe I can get him tocome and shoot my wedding. Maybe. I'll reach out to him to get a quote, but ifyou 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. Ifyou're putting them on Pinterest, if you're putting them on Instagram, ifyou're putting them on Facebook, don't post weddings if that's what you- if youdon't want to, like, shoot weddings, or let people know that you are actuallyshooting weddings. Give the people that want you to shoot that the ability toreach out to you, but if you want to make sure that people know and understandthat that's not the lane that you're trying to go in, make sure that you don'tgive off a false, I guess you can say, a false perception that that's what youare shooting. Just because you shot it, doesn't mean that you have to show peoplethat you shot it.


Christian: [00:10:30] Yeahexactly. I feel like a lot of photographers also do- you know, once you findyour niche, then make it part of your logo. You know, say Franklin Williams andthen wedding photographer because you love weddings.


Franklin: [00:10:43] Haha ha ha ha.


Christian: [00:10:45] Soput that and make that part of your logo. Put that on your business cards. Putthat on social media, and yeah, just make it very apparent that you are awedding 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 showknows, but like for Fred from Fredshots up here in McKinney, he just callshimself the headshot photographer. He does other photography for other things,but he just brands himself as Fredshots Photography and does headshots. Andthat's specifically people go to them for that, and then they ask him, likeFranklin said, questions for other things like, hey, can you do videos andpictures for other things? He's like sure, but I'm the headshot photographyguy.


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'strue. 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 everexperienced a client or potential client who you said no and they just sort ofbacklashed 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'tbecause I very rarely ever tell a client like no, I can't do it. I'll tellthem- give them different options. Like hey, I don't do that, but I can dothis.


Christian: [00:12:15] Oryou 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 isprinting. That's one thing I am, like, completely adamant about saying no, Idon'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 Ihaven't had that actually happen.


Christian: [00:12:44] That'sgood.


Aaron: [00:12:46] Onelast 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 necessarilygoing to drive you. So if you do the job and you don't do as well as what youpotentially could be- say for example, Franklin does a wedding, but he's justkind of, you know, dang this is another paycheck instead of passionately tryingto grab the best images and everything and he doesn't put out his best work. Ifthe client becomes unsatisfied at that point, that could potentially ruinbusiness for him in the future instead of just saying no, I can't do it wherehe's not passionate and actually giving his full effort. And you may say I'mgoing to do my best job, but really if you don't care about it, you're reallynot living up to the full potential of what you could be doing.


Franklin: [00:13:31] Soto end, love your art, and if you really are a photographer, no matter whatyou're going to be shooting, you better shoot it like it's the greatest thingon the face of the planet. Make sure that you are practicing. Make sure thatyou're practicing on that specific niche. Make sure that you are givingyourself the ability to be marketable. Don't be a generalist. And yeah, thoseare the key points.


Aaron: [00:13:59] Allright, guys. We want to thank you for tuning in. Make sure you click thatsubscribe button. Even over on our website if you go tobitbranding.co/podcasts, you can check out all of our other episodes and theability to leave comments there. We'd love to hear your feedback on otherepisodes, and make sure you click those three buttons in the right hand cornerand share this episode with a friend. We know that you have a friend who's aphotographer who's just trying to break out and maybe grow their business andthis will help them to secure a niche. So make sure you share this with afriend, and we will see you guys next week. Or I guess you'll hear us nextweek.


Christian: [00:14:32] Yeah,you'll hear us for sure.

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