Since relocating my photography business from the San Francisco Bay Area to Charleston, SC, one trend I’ve noticed in the Charleston market is that none of the photographers specialize in any one type of photography.
Many of the websites of local photographers I’ve viewed, boast a long list of different types of photography. I recently stumbled across a site from a local photographer that read: “From engagement portraits, weddings, family portraits, school portraits and sports photographs to architecture photos, corporate photos, marketing photos and much more!” Is there anything this photographer DOESN’T do? Oh yeah, SPECIALIZE! They don’t specialize in ANYTHING.
Coming from the Bay Area, where most photographers have developed a niche market for themselves, I think it’s a smart business strategy to specialize and set yourself apart from your competitors. Even more importantly, it’s crucial to know what you do well (and maybe not so well!)
I am not only a portrait photographer, but I teach college as well as photography workshops. As an educator with almost 20 years of experience in photography, I can easily spot what it is that people do well which, as it turns out, is usually what they love to shoot. It’s easy to recognize because it stands out in the images. It also takes different kinds of personalities and skill sets to be a wedding photographer vs. an architectural photographer or even a portrait photographer.
Although I LOVE to shoot all kinds of photographs, what I have learned about myself over the years is that I have a knack for connecting with people, and capturing what is authentic and unique about them. That’s what makes me a portrait photographer. Specializing in portrait photography is also what distinguishes me from my competitors.
Tanya’s Tip: As the old saying goes, “You can’t please all the people all of the time!” So I say don’t bother trying! Be true to yourself. Specialize and do one thing well.