Finding Your Niche in Photography - Ben Connolly

19 March 2018

Making money in photography or turning a hobby into a business can sometimes be seen as the death of your creativity, so finding your sweet spot in the genre/s you love is so vitally important. The juggling act of creating amazing photographs, being paid properly to create them and what you are actually the best at can be as frustrating as it is time-consuming, then add starting a business to that and the amount of brain damage you give yourself in starting up can be huge.

As creative professional photographers or enthusiasts we usually love capturing many different subjects from landscapes to babies, so narrowing down what exactly what you love to do that will make you money can be daunting. Finding your niche helps you define your services and what it is you will be offering to your clients. Just remember, this doesn't mean you have to only shoot in that genre/s, you just have to be the best you can be in that genre given your skills and abilities.

There is no such thing as “The Best” in a creative environment, you just have to strive to be better than you were at you last shoot.

#1 - Start with why!
This is the sole greatest advice I’ve ever been given. For me, my “WHY” guides me in every business, personal and creative decision I make. Spend some time in formulating your why and don’t skip this very important first step.

Your why should be compelling, it should be what gets you out of bed each day and it's always bigger than just you. Your why isn’t to make money or be creative, that's a by-product. If your why is strong enough it will help you make decisions and choose your path. You might feel this is a bit of hocus pokus, but just imagine if all your future decisions and work was aimed at achieving an amazing outcome, the odds of you achieving it would be seriously high. 

Finding Your Niche in Photography - Ben ConnollyFinding Your Niche in Photography - Ben Connolly

If your why isn’t strong enough, your excuses as to why you can’t will be!

#2 - Honesty!
Honesty is a great thing to implement into your business and personal life from day one starting with yourself. Ask yourself these questions and be brutally honest in your answers to yourself.

• #1 - What type of photography are you most passionate and interested in?
• #2 - What type of Photography do you want to be known for?
• #3 - What photographs make you the happiest?
• #4 - What type of photography do you study and learn about the most?
• #5 - What do your close friends or even family members think you’re great at?
• #6 - What type of photography do people ask you to capture?
• #7 - If you're starting a business, do some research and ask yourself what type of photography will feed my creativity and also feed me?

Finding Your Niche in Photography - Ben ConnollyFinding Your Niche in Photography - Ben Connolly

#3 - Your discovery
It really doesn’t matter how long it’s taken you to work out the answers from your why and the questions above, the information and discoveries you have received will be highly valuable to you so make sure you have them written down, saved, emailed to yourself or carrier pigeoned to a safe place thats accessible for you. There is a whole host of possible outcomes that you will have just generated but you’ll also see a very clear path to take in the way of what it actually is you want to niche in.

You’ll notice you’ll have a few things you feel your great at and you’ll also see what it is you actually love to photograph, If these two answers are similar or even better exactly the same and similar to whats going to make you money then bingo, you’ve just discovered an awesome path for yourself.

If your photography is a hobby for you, then now is a great time to step out, get creative and shoot everything that moves and love every minute of it. If your objective is to be a business person in photography, then now is where the hard yards and your learning really begins, thats another really long blog post!

Just know that there is just as much creativity in business as there is in creating the photographs themselves.

#4 - Not everyone will like your style, be ok with it!
Now that you're comfortable with your why and feel you have a clearer idea of your nice be ok with the fact that there will be thousands of reasons why, in the beginning, people won't be willing to pay you. They may not see a need for your photography, they personally may not value the type of photography you’re shooting or they might just not connect with your style and thats totally ok. This is where your why comes in, the quality and type of people attracted to you or your work will be directly proportionate to how effectively you can communicate your why to them. You don’t need everyone to like you or your style, you just need some of them to believe what you believe!

Finding Your Niche in Photography - Ben ConnollyFinding Your Niche in Photography - Ben Connolly

#5 - Practice makes permanent!
To start putting the building blocks into place with your skills and knowledge by learning your genre, photography and business in depth. The best investment you can ever make is in yourself so don’t be afraid to spend some money on a business coach, photography mentor or general photography education. Assisting QUALITY and ACCREDITED professional photographers is a great way to gain skills, experience and start you on your journey to becoming an expert in your field.

#6 - Stay clear and true
So many of us creative types suffer from Goldfish Brain, it's not a formal condition but it's when you’re off in every direction attracted to every bright, new and shiny thing you come across. Be aware of Goldfish Brain, it's a saboteur of time, money and your why!
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 you start feeling like this then it's time to revisit your list of questions to yourself and your way to gain your clarity and truth again.

If you love what you shoot and people are willing to pay appropriately for it then you’re onto a winner!

#7 - Parting Shots
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 and business, no matter how advanced you think you are, there is always someone out there willing to work harder, shoot more, learn more and push the limits of their creativity further. You’re only as good as your last photograph so make it an amazing one!

Happy Shooting! - Ben Connolly

If you'd like to see more of Ben's work, check out his galleries and website in the links below!

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