Should Photographers Specialize In A Genre? Yes or No?

What would be your answer if I asked you: “If you could only photograph one genre, what would it be?”

Would the answer be easy for you? Or would it put you in a twist and make your stomach hurt?

I get asked this question a lot by photographers and typically the longer they’ve been in business, the easier this question is to answer. When you first start a photography business you will photograph anything that gets in front of your camera. You’re looking for experience while building a portfolio, so you are ready to say “yes” to anything and everything that will work with you.

Then reality hits and you start to realize that there are genres that you LOVE working with and others that you would rather pull your eyelashes out before spending another second. This is a natural process as you grow in your business. Here are some tips to think about as you are finding the right fit for you.

  1. Photographers that specialize in a genre can charge more. Score! Right? It’s true! The more you pair down and specialize, the more you can charge for your services because clients see you as an expert. Think about it… When you go see a heart specialist or an orthodontist for braces, they charge more than an average doctor or dentist, right? People pay MORE when they see you as an expert and someone that will bring them a higher quality of service.
  2. Specializing will grow your skills and confidence in photography. Practice makes perfect and the more you work with one genre, the better you will become at posing, lighting, and providing your clients with a higher level of service.
  3. It’s easier to run your business. Seriously? You bet! Think about all the tasks you do to run your business. Marketing, client preparation, communications, education, financials, the list goes on and on. If you are photographing multiple genres you have to prepare materials for each one (Client Guides, anyone?). When you specialize in a genre, you narrow your focus and can put all that time into perfecting what you love to do. Your message is more consistent, your marketing is more targeted, and there is less confusion over WHO your ideal client is and how you can serve them best.
  4. You get to spend time doing more of what you love. When I took my first senior out in 2014, I knew INSTANTLY that this was the genre I wanted to specialize in. I loved the one-to-one time, the control over posing, and lighting. It was totally my jam. When you specialize in a genre, you get to focus on more of what you love! You enjoy your work (your editing) and it feeds your soul to be doing what you love.
  5. Clients think of you first. When you specialize in a genre, clients will think of you first because you have consistent messaging and they see you as an expert. The more you post images in your genre, the more people will associate you with that expertise. When it comes to the time when they need that service, you’ll be top of mind.
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