Recently I’ve had a lot of questions about the things I’ve implemented to help my business grow and what strategies I recommend to photographers who want to see an increase in clients.
There are a million things to do when starting to grow your business but the one that I’ve found have the biggest impact on all areas (marketing, client experience, sales, etc.) is choosing to specialize and finding a niche.
This means choosing what you like the most and then going all in on serving and marketing to those types of clients.
It can be intimidating when trying to decide what direction to take your business, especially if you are just starting out.
Trust me, when I first started I photographed everything –– seniors, babies, couples, events. You name it.
But I realized that I wasn’t really getting to where I wanted to go within my business –– I wasn’t booking the things I loved, I was having a hard time attracting the people I wanted to work with, and I was continuing to do things that didn’t really fire me up.
So I decided to put my all into seniors and weddings. I relentlessly pursued education about working with them, practiced creating images that I knew they would love, and marketed only for seniors and weddings.
Originally it was hard for me to say no to people who wanted me to photograph them but I started to realize that running in all different directions was taking a toll on me…and I can’t serve anyone well if I’m run ragged.
We’ve been talking a lot about the idea of finding a niche. Maybe you’re not sure if this is even for you.
Here’s what happened when I started specializing in weddings and seniors:
I wasn’t running around trying to get quick responses to potential clients for something I’d never done before.
How many hours did they need? What were they expecting? How long would that take to edit? Do I have the right equipment? Can I do my best job…and enjoy it?
When I narrowed myself down to the specific people I loved to photograph, all of that went away.
Every senior and bride now goes through the same process. It took awhile to get it exactly where I wanted but I have email templates and questionnaires set up in my CRM to allow me to move quickly and focus on giving a seamless client experience.
I don’t have to stress now about not having the right contract or not knowing how to price what they’re looking for.
Everyone goes through the same process so I don’t have to worry about people comparing their experiences.
When you do something over and over again, you learn A LOT.
I’m able to anticipate things that I would have never thought about if I wasn’t photographing seniors and weddings multiple times a week. I can now confidently help my clients get what they want and sometimes what they didn’t even know they wanted!
That is PRICELESS to clients –– to have someone who knows everything they don’t. That is when people truly feel like you have given them the best experience (which also lets you charge expert prices).
What do you LOVE shooting the most? What brings you the most joy?
Whether or not you’ve ever photographed babies or an event, most people are naturally drawn to certain people and stages of life.
You may need to do a little bit of exploring before you truly feel at home but I would encourage you to start with the subjects that you are really excited about.
What do you feel like you’re best at? From communicating, to posing, to actually shooting, what do you feel like comes most naturally?
I can say that while I definitely think kids are cute, I am not the best communicator with them! Not like I am with my seniors and couples –– I can jump right into conversations with them and I know exactly what to do to make sure they’re photographed in a way that makes them feel beautiful.
Of course everything takes practice but similarly to the things that you’re excited about, some things will come naturally.
Once you’ve identified the things you’re naturally drawn to, you can run head first into perfecting those skills and it’ll be the best of both worlds because you’ll be excited that you’re good at it AND it won’t be as difficult.
What do you find yourself getting the most excited about photographing? What brings stress and anxiety?
When I used to have couples reach out to me about engagement sessions, I was so excited. I was nervous of course, but I knew it was something I would be really happy to do.
When people reached out about events and their birthday parties, I instantly was stressed. How do you price that? What do I deliver? Do I have the right equipment?
I started to realized that my heart wasn’t really in that type of clientele so I poured my all into the things I knew I could do really well and left those types of requests other photographers who could serve those clients better.
Thinking about those things should be a good start to understanding what direction you should head into –– and it will be SO good for not only your clients, but also your own love for your business!!
For those in Eastern North Carolina, I will be speaking more on specializing and finding your niche at A Really Good Workshop on June 25, 2019 @ The Firehouse in Goldsboro, NC! If you are interested in attending, you can sign up here: http://bit.ly/ARGW2019
I would love to see you there!
I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.
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