There’s a plethora of different types of photographers out there. Some of us shoot corporate work. Others focus on portraiture and weddings. And while being a jack of all trades might sound like it’ll help you get more work, having a specialty is actually more beneficial in the long run.
A Back Story
When I first started out approaching photography as a profession, I accepted any job out there. I said “yes” to weddings, family photos, corporate events, newborn shoots and more.
It was soon that I realized that I was really only good at one of those things — corporate events. While I can take photos for those other genres, the fact of the matter is, I don’t enjoy them as much. I’m not as passionate about shooting weddings as I am corporate events, despite them having similarities.
What I began to realize, is that I needed to choose a few distinct types of photography to specialize in. Doing so would make more more well-known as a photographer in my area. Instead of being a “photographer,” I could be “the events guy.”
How to Choose a Specialty
Don’t overthink the process of selecting types of photography you want to specialize in. For me, corporate events was a no-brainer. And that soon funneled me into more corporate work, including my food/drink and corporate lifestyle photography.
It was about what I enjoyed. But it also was about what I could market. I had a lot of contacts in the corporate world, and I knew that I could utilize at least some of those through networking.
The awesome thing about having a specialty is that you become known for that. You market to a more narrow audience than you would otherwise. I have no desire to market to engaged couples or families, unless they’re marketing executives at companies I want to work with.
Having that specialty helps you narrow both your audience and your focus, and ultimately helps to define you as a photographer.
But there are other benefits, too. Having a specialty means that you can network with other photographers, and exchange referrals as they come about. And the more work you get, the more likely you are to be seen by your ideal clients.
Imagine this. I’m creating a new website, and I’m a “jack of all trades” photographer. That means I need information about weddings, senior pictures, portraiture, landscapes and nature, street photography…the list is endless. By focusing on a specialty, I only need to market to my corporate audience. It’ll make my website appear more professional, and also tell my potential client more about me and what to expect, before they even read my biography page.
In addition to my website, I can cater all my marketing materials to that specialty. My business cards, brochures, social media feeds and more can all be focused on what I want to do for work.
Won’t It Lock Me In?
In a sense, yes. But just because I’m a corporate photographer doesn’t mean I can’t go out on the weekends and shoot landscapes, or shoot my friends’ family portraits.
While I started off shooting corporate events, that quickly led to me getting hired for corporate portraiture, lifestyle promotional shoots and product photography. All fall under the umbrella of “corporate,” so while I’m locking myself into that genre, I’m still able to keep it broad.
And when I do get the opportunity to photograph something like my neighbors’ portrait, I can apply what I’ve learned in the corporate world to their photographs, creating a unique look and feel.
For more on Photography Marketing, see our weekly column.
Learn more about Bryan at bryanesler.com.