Specializing in Seniors ~ When is it time to start referring out other business?

So, you’ve made the decision to specialize in senior portraits…Congratulations!   You’re excited and motivated!! You’ve been working on your brand, your shooting style and you’re gaining some name recognition. Awesome! You begin to have some momentum… yay!! Then, someone comes along and asks you, “Can you shoot my wedding in October?” So…..What do you do?
Here is the moment of truth….
At least it was for me. It is when your decision to “specialize” becomes a bit more real. Now there is money on the table right? So what DO you do?
Honestly, there is no right or wrong here. It’s simply a matter of practicality.
If you have decided to specialize in senior photography, when exactly do you begin to refer business out to other photographers?

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For me, my senior business had tripled in volume one year, then doubled the next. That was sort of a strong indication to me that I had some great momentum going, and I could afford to take the risk, (that’s what it feels like) and refer out business to other photographers.
For some photographers, they simply decide…and then, they just do it. Maybe they have other income coming in from a spouse, so they can just focus. For me, I didn’t have that. I am a single parent, a widow, and I needed some momentum. It’s different for everyone. But there does come a time, when you DO decide.
I’ve got to say, that 1st time I did refer business out, well…it just felt odd, a little scary too. But, it also FELT REALLY GOOD!
Truth is, I ENJOY photographing seniors. They are my passion, and my goal is to focus on them exclusively.
I don’t really ENJOY doing weddings, so it was a relief actually, to refer out my 1st wedding. It just felt good! It also felt right once I started referring out maternity shoots, newborns and engagements. Doing this enabled me to really focus more on what I loved, which enabled me to improve my senior business.
The only other shooting I might ever do occasionally is families, this is because many of my seniors end up getting family pictures taken as well, and I enjoy it. But the focus of my business is Senior Portraits.
This year, my number of seniors that I photographed was actually lower than last year, but my earnings were greater. That was my goal, to pursue a business model that focused on creating greater value with each client, which has helped increase my earnings per client. I honestly think this could really only occur because I was able to focus on specializing and customizing my business to seniors.
So, it begins to pay off, saying no. It begins to pay off, referring out other types of photography. What feels strange at first begins to feel right and empowering. It gives you the time, energy and ability to really focus on becoming more of an expert in your business and in the craft of senior portrait photography.
So if your goal is to specialize, hang in there…be encouraged!!

I believe if you are committed, it will pay off.
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