My article in the April issue of Shutter Magazine is all about the importance of diversity in your skill set; not regarding your technique, but your subject matter. While it's important for every artist to have a core specialty, between the economy and customer trends, it's important for you to focus on more than one type of photography. Work to develop a little expertise in multiple specialties, which will expand your appeal to a broader target audience.
Let's take a wedding photographer for example. I'm assuming you've been doing a terrific job for your wedding clients. If not, then you might as well pack up, change your name, leave town and start over in another market! LOL But, let's stay positive and assume your bridal clients loved working with you and the job you did. Why not be there when the first baby is born? As the family grows, there's an opportunity for pet photography, family portraiture, seniors and a wealth of other applications in the lives of what started with that first shoot, the engagement session.
Always remember the hierarchy of why people hire a photographer in the portrait/social categories - Brides, Babies, and Pets came out of a Kodak survey years ago and I don't believe it's changed one point. And, if you want to expand the list my guess is it would go Children, Seniors, Family and Boudoir.
I know a lot of you want to specialize and the idea of bringing in other types of photography has no appeal. So, if for example you hate photographing children, then build a relationship with another photographer who you respect. Refer business to each other. Your goal with every client is to build a lasting relationship. Why be a one trick pony when you can be there to meet their photographic needs for generations to come?
Your goal is to never turn anybody away. Whether you've got the expertise for their request or you're working with an associate, be solution driven and give them support with a little direction. You never want to say, "Sorry, I don't do that kind of photography," and then leave them to fend for themselves.
Need help with newborn marketing?
Check out this free download from my pal Sarah Petty. It's not going to give you help in developing your photographic technique, but there are dozens of sources out there to help you with that. What it will do is plant the seed to get you thinking about how you might extend your marketing skills and expand your coverage into the next logical link in the chain.
Just click on Sarah's Newborn Marketing cover on the right and you'll be able to download the pdf.
Meanwhile, take some time and think about how many different ways you can grow your business. Remember the hierarchy of while people hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories. They're all logically connected.
Don't forget - women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer in these categories, so your website and marketing material need to match your target demographics. Make your work different, but never compromise on quality. Be diverse in the services you offer and most important of all remember your goal; make yourself habit-forming!
"Strength lies in differences. Not in similarities.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.