and why having a niche is so important!
1. Stand Out
If you want to be put on the map – you need to be known for something specific.
Let’s pretend for a second that you are a dog trainer that can get any dog to stop barking in one week. If someone went to a friend and said ‘my dog barks non stop, I need help because I’m going to be thrown out of my apartment at the end of the month – if only I could find someone that could get my dog to stop barking’. And that’s exactly what you do, what your niche is. Your name is right at the top of the list because you are THE dog trainer that helps dogs stop barking in 7 days.
Now let’s use this example with photography. Let’s use the niche newborn photography. But that is still a very broad niche. It is not babies, weddings or branding, it is newborns. But what is this newborn photographers niche? What do they want to be known for? The photographer to go to for what? I don’t even know if this is still a niche but I remember how cute it was when I had my kids – the brand new newborn dangling from a branch in a gauze blanket.
Now if someone had contacted me and asked me if I could do that shoot, I would say absolutely not. I am not qualified. I could take beautiful lifestyle type photos of a newborn in the home, amongst the newborn’s surroundings but I can’t do elaborate posing like this specialist can.
Taking the ‘dangling from the branch’ newborn photos is high specialized. A niched down niche. New moms will seek out this photographer, maybe drive a few states away, actually travel to get these ‘tree branch’ photos taken of their newborn. You know why? Because this photographer has expertise in something that the client wants.
Does that mean the photographer is not capable of photographing all sorts of other newborn photos? No. But that’s not why they are sought after. This demand doesn’t happen for this photographer if their website is filled with 10 different types of photography.
Having a very special niche puts you on the map. You don’t get lost in the sea of other photographers.
I know it can seem counterintuitive. But it is the best marketing advice I can give. I’m not telling you to say no to other clients or jobs that light you up as a photographer – but to be known for something will propel you to stand out in this highly competitive profession.
2. Clients value your Expertise
No spreading your net far and wide, nope, you need to zone in on exactly who you want to work with and what you offer them. This is really important, you don’t want to work with everyone!
It is scary at first because you think you are losing out on all the other business. But you aren’t. You are building a business based on your strengths as a photographer and what your clients want because you have established yourself as the must use photographer for this niche. The clients that love what you do – and become raving fans. Organically helping you with referrals and recommending you to anyone and everyone who sees their amazing ‘tree branch’ newborn photos. Your evangelist.
This is how we built several successful photography businesses, by having specific niches.
So how do we define a niche? For example: I work with newborns – not babies, newborns. I specialize in studio newborn shoots. Keep niching down. Is that in studio newborn shoots in a documentary style OR is it a posed, baby resting on its hands shoot? Nope it is newborns dangling from a branch in a gauze blanket.
Guess what you show on your website? Exactly this because this is what you want to be known for. If you show everything, a confused mind says no.
Or maybe you are a personal brand photographer for women over 50 looking to reenter the workforce after they are empty nesters.
Or a wedding photographer that works with couples that want a 100% candid approach to their wedding day, no posing, no family photos, just literally shoot what is happening as it happens.
Niche down, then niche down even further. And I’ll repeat myself again, then show exactly this on your website and socials. Show photos that represent your niche so that your ideal client resonates with the images when they find your website or social media.
I’m sure you are asking yourself – how do I determine my niche? Everything is taken. Wouldn’t I just be copying someone else? It may seem like it, right? But everyone else is not you. So whatever you decide to do as a niche, you will do it with your own flair – Your narrative, your story, your reasons are unique to you.
So how do you figure it out? I’ve attached a worksheet in the show notes – a cheat sheet of sorts to help you.
But here’s a couple questions to get started:
- What is your passion in photography?
- What do you like to photograph the most? What brings you joy? Write down what this is. For us it is Wedding Photography. For you it might be my Newborn baby dangling from a branch Photography but you must determine before going all in whether or not there is a market for your niche. Will clients pay your for this? And the case of dangling branch newborn photography – paid very well I might add.
- Clearly there is for wedding + newborn photography but if you chose photographing something as specific as photographing Evian bottles, then that is toooo nichy, too specific. There may not be a lot of clients looking for that niche, maybe product photography but not a specific type of bottle. But it could be a specific type of horse, or puppies or elopement weddings at city hall, vineyard weddings, 3 generation family photos, or family photos with an autistic child, black and white street photography in paris, and I could go on and on.
- The example For wedding photography, my niche is couples that don’t want the same photos all their friends have, they want real, emotional, raw moments on their wedding day with very little posed or arranged photos. With that niche I just eliminated all the couples that want posed, or traditional wedding photos, also eliminated are light and airy, non emotional, hyper posed photos.
3. Earn More.
What we are trying to create is demand – to create something for your client that they can’t live without. They have to have it. You are not the interchangeable photographer that doesn’t stand out. Intentionally tell your potential clients that you are right photographer for them – because they love what you do. This isn’t about working with any photographer – it is about working with you.
And guess what, once you become known for something, your relevance spreads like wildfire. People will start seeking you out. And this is where it get fun!
Want to learn more? Grab my FREE 3 Secrets to Attract and Book the Right Clients
Watch Chris Do / The Futur explain the benefits of niching down better than I can!
And I love some of the things people said in his YouTube comments: