Making money in photography can sometimes be seen as the death of your creativity, and finding that sweet spot between creating amazing images, being paid to take pictures and what you are actually the best at is a debate that’s been happening in the creative industry for many years. Photographers usually love capturing many different subjects from portraits to landscapes so narrowing down what exactly you make money from can be a daunting task. Finding your niche helps you define your services and what it is you will be offering to your customers and clients, but remember this doesn't mean you have to stop shooting things you love, you just have to be conscious of looking like a professional photographer not a jack of all trades.
Honesty is a great thing to implement into your business from day one, so for the best results being honest with yourself is just as important.
You Love To Photograph: What type of photography are you most passionate and interested in? What type of Photography do you want to be known for? What photographs make you the most happy? What type of photography do you study and learn about the most?
Paid To Photograph: What do potential clients or even family members recommended you for? What type of photography do clients most ask you to capture? Do you receive requests to capture something you don’t currently capture? Ask your current clients what services they would pay you for, consider a survey.
Your Best Photography: What do family, friends & clients say you’re best at capturing? What do people ask your advice and tips on the most? Take time to read your reviews, what do clients thank you for the most?
So no matter how long it’s taken you to generate the answers from your homework, the information you will have received will be highly valuable to your next step. There is a host of possible outcomes that you will have generated from your homework but here’s some of the most popular scenarios and how best to act on them:
You Love To Photograph + Your Best Photography If these two options come in with similar answers then you’re at a good starting point for your photography career, but a long way to go. If your results appear as 'You Love To Photograph + Your Best Photography' and the genre of photography is the same in both answers, then everyone is on the same wave length. There’s just one thing missing, clients aren't willing to pay you yet. There could be numerous reasons why they’re not willing to pay you, they don’t see a need for your photography, for example you may have the answer of Wedding Photographer and they’re already married, they may not value the type of photography you’re shooting or more than likely you’re work is just lacking that final touch and professionalism. To start putting the building blocks into place with your business you need to work on learning your trade more. Education or assisting photographers is a great way to gain expertise and start you on your journey to becoming an expert in your field.
Your Best Photography + Paid To Photograph You might find that people's view of your best photography isn't what you think is your best photography. If you’re talented in a certain genre of photography and people are willing to pay you, but you don’t necessarily like shooting that genre, you may find yourself resenting your clients or even worse - photography in general. If this outcome is the case then consider how you can implement your love of photography into your best photography. For me I never had much of an interest in wedding photography but when people noticed I was really good at it, I used my love for all things portraiture to create a wedding photography business that was built on the essence of creative and fun portraiture.
Your Love To Photograph + Paid To Photograph If you love what you shoot and people are willing to pay you to do it then you’re onto a winner! But just like the combination of You Love To Photograph + Your Best Photography you still have a long way to go. Remember that building a business is no easy task and creating a long sustainable business that will give you a long and happy career, takes a lot of time and skills. Never stop learning and practising your skills in photography, no matter how advanced you think you are. Take Martin Parr’s advice ‘You’re only as good as your last photograph’ and keep learning!
Here’s a few blog posts that will help you on the next step of your photography journey:
Make sure you share your outcomes in the comments. What was the combination you came out with?