Step One: Select A Focus

It’s not uncommon for first-time entrepreneurs to set lofty goals and make bold statements: “We’re going to be the next Amazon.com.” It’s quite uncommon, however, for first-time entrepreneurs to achieve such goals. That’s not to say it can’t be done. It worked for Jeff Bezos, but even Amazon started with a realistic goal and singular focus before expanding its services. Photographers, specifically, dream of major success based on their perception of the quality of their own images, but as this course explains, image quality is only one piece of the photography business puzzle.

If you plan to shoot senior portraits and weddings, we would suggest creating two separate photography businesses to keep each focused on the special service it provides. To provide another example, commercial and wedding cinematography may share many traits, but businesses like Nike or Toyota will more likely hire commercial cinematographers to film a piece for them before they would hire a wedding cinema team. It really comes down to brand perception, and it can impact the success of your business.

You might ask, “Why should I attempt to compete with two or more markets at the same time?” Even though you may be able to work well within multiple genres (headshots, maternity, weddings, etc.), you’ll still likely have a specialty, and you don’t want the weaker work to influence the perception of the genre you’re strongest in. Your competition in wedding photography, for example, will ultimately take your potential clients if their message is better and more consistently branded, regardless of whether or not you’re better at photographing weddings.

The next step is considering whether the operating margin or profitability for the weaker genre (such as photographing headshots) warrants continued effort in building a business around it compared to your stronger area of photography, such as weddings. In other words, if the profitability of shooting headshots is nowhere near what you can earn with your wedding photography business, it might make sense to just focus on building your wedding photography business.

It’s worth noting that even within a single genre, such as wedding photography, there are stylistic differences that will affect how you market the business. Some clients prefer bright and airy filmic-looking weddings while others prefer dramatically-lit, epic images. The two styles are vastly different, so marketing must be handled with care.

How you will compete in each of these areas?

  1. Product/quality
  2. Branding/identity
  3. Marketing
  4. Pricing/efficiency

To better answer these questions, create the following mind maps:

  1. What you love about photography
  2. A day in the life of (genre of photographer you are)
    1. Ask your friends/colleagues about their experiences for more insight.

If the results of each of these mind maps sync up, as in what you enjoy about photography lines up with a day in the life of a wedding photographer, then you have probably found a good fit for your photography business and by default have selected your focus. If when comparing what you love and your chosen genre do not sync up, then you might consider exploring other genres. The alternative is to consider partnering with somebody or hiring out third parties to complete the tasks of the day in the life that you don’t love.

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

Total Course Run Time: 7H 50M 44S

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