Eye on Business | Are You Ready to Specialize?

What’s your theme song?

I know I cannot be the only one who thinks in songs.  Right?  My song changes daily, as if I’m living out my own reality show.  Before a senior shoot, I’m super-pumped so it’s Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Good Time.”  During image slideshow production, it’s Beckah Shae’s “LIFE” as I’m thinking about how exciting it is for my senior to start their future.   I know, I don’t really live in my own reality show and no one hears my theme song.  But it makes me happy and it’s nice here in Suzanne’s world, so come anytime and I’ll have a dessert waiting for you.

If I think back to the first year of my business, my theme song would’ve been Everclear’s “Everything to Everyone.”  Embarrassing.

How many photographers do you know of who “specialize” in maternity, birth, newborn, toddlers, children, pre-teens, seniors, engagements, weddings, events and families?!  Must be exhausting.  Oh wait, that was me and it was insane.

I shot anything and everyone who came to me, from a high school senior to your grandparents’ 50th anniversary.  I’m not saying those weren’t great opportunities for me.  You must have experience actually shooting something before realizing it’s what you love (or not).  I’m not implying that someone who shoots several types of sessions can’t be good at it.  But, don’t we owe it to ourselves and our clients to truly figure out what we love and what we are best at shooting?

Confession time.       I do not shoot weddings.

I do not hate weddings.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I really think I could wedding plan as a hobby…Um, have you seen my pinterest wedding board?!  And, I could probably be a killer wedding DJ because duh, I think in songs 😉  But, weddings are a big deal.  Although I enjoyed the few that I shot, the pressure was much more than I wanted on my shoulders.   I swoon over the wedding images of my favorite photographers and because I know all it entails, I am totally in awe of them!  But, I do know it’s not for ME and my clients are better off because I can give them some slammin’ recommendations for wedding photographers.

So, you’re here which means you may be considering a specialization in high school seniors.  Woo-hoo!  How do you know you’re doing the right thing?

  • Before you shoot a senior, are you terrified or so excited you could burst?
  • Do you senior sessions seem to flow easier than other types of sessions?
  • Are you on Cloud 9000 driving home after a senior session?
  • Do you scour PINTEREST for senior session ideas?
  • Do you find yourself perusing Seventeen and Teen Vogue while checking out of the grocery store?
  • Do you prom stalk?  Ok, maybe that’s not relevant but something I do every year 😉
  • Do you just enjoy hanging out with seniors for their awesome, contagious, youthful energy?

Did you answer yes to most of those questions?  Hmm, you may have your answer as to whether you’re ready to specialize.  Yes, it’s scary.  What happens during the slow season?  Won’t my potential target market decrease significantly?  You can choose to look at those challenges as barriers or opportunities.

  • Slow season = Time to target seniors’ families for sessions or shoot something else you love, go to workshops and develop your skills
  • Smaller market = Time to implement a senior model program, design marketing campaigns specific to seniors

Admitting that you can’t be everything to everyone may seem like you’re cutting into your profits but it’s quite the opposite.  It is freedom to shoot what you love, generate excitement that will positively show in your images and within your client interactions, and allow you to hone in on your style and business.

Finally, here’s an image that told me I was shooting what I love…This was my first session after having my fourth child just four weeks earlier.  I couldn’t wait to start this session!

Join me over on FACEBOOK or on my WEBSITE and share your challenges or opportunities to specializing, I can’t wait to hear from you!