Finding my niche and niching is something that personally, I was terrified of doing. I thought it meant I would be cutting off potential clients which would result in less work and the dreaded less money. I listened to podcasts, read articles and all the information out there is the same; it’s vital for small/new business to niche and drum roll, please… I finally agree.
Taking all the information out there and combining it with my own experience, I feel in a placeto open a conversation about this topic and I would love to get your guys input too. I want to know how you feel about finding your niche and when you think is the right time to do this for your business.
What is niching and why is it important for a photographer?
‘Niching down’ means to focus on a small, but well-defined segment of the market. Instead of being a Jack of all trades but a master of none, you hone in on a particular area of expertise and this becomes your identity within the photography space.
Like I said, I resisted the idea of niching for so long and I still do struggle with it. Countless times people would be in my inbox asking for photos of their pets and I’d say yeah course I can do that; I can shoot anything. Just because I can do it does not mean I should.
If you don’t have a clear niche, then no one is going to know what you can offer them. You might be sat thinking you’re winning at life because you’re open to all clients, but it’s actually having the opposite effect. The way I think about it is, you need to be a magnet. You want to be very clear on your website and social media about what your skills are and what work you can produce for potential clients. However, don’t be afraid of putting people off. If you’re totally honest and open in your copy you will be repelling the wrong clients, but you WILL be attracting the right ones. The ones that you are going to be able to produce amazing work with because your expectations are perfectly aligned.
‘But money is money’ I hear you cry! And yes I fully understand that the main thing stopping people niching down their business is the fact you end up turning away potential clients and ‘easy money’. The thing is, yes, you are turning down the quick easy money right in front of you, but by doing this you are freeing up space and time to do the shoots you want to be doing.
And okay, I’ll compromise a little, when you’re first trying to establish your niche you can carry on shooting anyone and everyone to earn your rent, but DO NO SHARE THE IMAGES. The images you share with the world are (very fairly) what potential clients are going to assume you shoot/ specialise in. So do the shoots but only share images that fit your new-found niche, you must be strict with yourself.
How and when to niche?
Okay so you are on the same page as me, you hear what I’m saying but how do you know when is a good time to niche? As a photographer, I think it’s very important you take between a year or two, shooting anything and everything. You might think you want to shoot portraits, but when you realise how comfortable you must be with establishing relationships with new people, you might realise landscapes are for you. You might realise you only want to work with natural light, you might be good at working on set with a team of 30 people. You’re only going to work out your niche by getting out there and trying all the different options that photography holds. Which is a lot!
I think at least a year and anything up to two years is a great amount of time to dabble in everything and anything, to find what really makes you tick. Understanding which environment you thrive in can really benefit your long-term career aspirations and goals. However, there is no need to panic, it’s not like you decide you’re going to be a wedding photographer and then that’s set. You of course can change and adapt your niche if you feel it no longer fits.
A step by step guide on how to find your niche…
- Explore your passions and skillset – Write down, or with a friend fire out ideas and keywords that describe your passions and your skillset.
- Identify customers’ problems and needs – Research potential clients, google keywords and explore where there are gaps in the market. Always remember you do not have to experiment in everything, you just need to be a step ahead of the person you’re helping.
- Check your competition within your niche – Before you go all-in on this niche, check there aren’t millions of people offering the same thing, and if there are… what spin can you put on it? What’s your unique selling point?
- Test it out – Now you’ve got your niche established, it’s time to test it out. Change your business profile description or social media bios to pinpoint exactly what you are offering people. People don’t like to have to search for how you can help them. You need to be slapping them across the face with who you are and how you can help them.
- Niche further – Once you’ve test run your new business model, see if there is room to niche down even further. We should always be assessing the structure of our business, what we offer our clients and always make sure your marketing is very clear!
I really hope this post has given you something to think about in terms of your brand/ business. I know it can be very daunting at first, but trust me once you get started and see just how beneficial finding your niche can be, you’ll become obsessed. Come join the conversation on our Facebook group By You.