WHEN IT COMES TO SPECIALIZING, SO MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS THINK THAT THEY NEED TO PHOTOGRAPH IT ALL IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL. HOWEVER, THE OPPOSITE IS ACTUALLY TRUE.
When I first started my journey as a Joshua Tree Family Photographer, I thought I wanted to photograph anything and everything. I was seeing all the amazing work my fellow photographers were producing, and I wanted a piece of that. It was not until about a year later that I started to consider my photography specialty.
Specializing in one, or maybe just a couple, of genres will actually help set you apart from the other Photographers in your area. On top of that, it is a great way to make some networking connections with other Photographers. Specializing opens you up to photographing what you really love, and allows you to refer the rest to another Photographer who specializes in the other stuff. If you are not sure how to figure out what you would like to specialize in, here are 3 ways to discovering your specialty.
TAKE SOME TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH EVERYTHING
This was what I did when I first started out. I could have sworn that I wanted to be a newborn Photographer – with all the cute props and poses. I reached out to a local Photographer who specialized in newborn work and asked if I could mentor under her for a bit. She agreed and we set up a date for me to come to her in-home studio and help her out. We had one baby on the first day…ONE! It took us 5 HOURS to get the shots she needed. I left there feeling super tired, and the next day I hurt in places I didn’t know existed. I knew after the first day that I did NOT want to be a “props and poses” newborn Photographer.
I later tried lifestyle newborn photography, and fell in love. This blended so much better with my shooting style. Relaxed, no pressure, natural moments…I loved it! Had I not tried the “props and poses” newborn session, I would never have known it was not for me. Trying it out allowed me to realize the direction I wanted my business to go.
THINK ABOUT YOUR DREAM CLIENT
A couple of years ago, I signed up for the very first round of Profitography through The Snap Society. One of our exercises involved getting to know who our dream clients were. If we wanted to photograph more than one genre of photography, we needed to write out who each dream client was who coordinated with each genre. Let’s face it, the dream client who would hire you for family photos is going to be different than the dream client who would hire you for boudoir photos. While they may have similar traits, their profiles will still be different.
It was during this exercise was when I completely forgot about boudoir photography, and I didn’t even realize it until later. I had discovered that as much as I love empowering women, that was not the way I wanted to do it. Being able to let go of even just one genre of photography is very freeing. It was like a weight had been lifted off of my chest and breathing became a little bit easier.
SHOOT WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
If you were to sit down and think about all the photography sessions you have had, have you ever felt more anxiety when you are photographing one more than another? If you have been photographing for a little while, you will be able to realize this quickly. If you are rather new to photography, think about what you have already photographed OR think about what you MIGHT photograph. Does any of it worry you or make your palms start to sweat? On the flip-side, does anything make you giddy with excitement? Make you feel a bit more relaxed because you just love doing it so much?
For me, I get the most excited when it comes to anything involving a mother and her child/children. The bond between a mother and her child warms my heart and lifts my spirit. This reassures me that I am doing what I am meant to be doing. Why waste time on something that gives you anxiety, or feels like more stress? Life is too short for anything that does not make you happy.
WHEN IT COMES TO SPECIALIZING, DO NOT LOOK AT IT LIKE YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO PHOTOGRAPH CERTAIN GENRES. LOOK AT IT LIKE YOU ARE GOING TO GET TO PHOTOGRAPH MORE OF WHAT YOU REALLY LOVE.
Connect with other Photographers who specialize in the genres you do not, so you can refer clients to one another. Specializing helps set you apart as an expert in the eyes of a searching client, and it allows you to actually become one. Spending your time devoted to perfecting a particular area of photography, will take you so much further than spreading your skills all over the place. Do what you love, and you will be happier for it!