Perhaps the biggest challenge for any photographer, and wedding photographer alike is creating an identity. There are already too many photographers. All different skill levels and price points. But only few stand out and have a true identity which is instrumental to success. It can be a scary process not appealing to the masses or setting yourself apart from what is perceived as what most clients want. Most potential clients don’t understand that different styles of wedding photography exist as they do until after interviewing photographers.
As a documentary wedding photographer, I am indeed a niche style myself. I could have gone the safe route and posted some of what I do best mixed with the bright and airy styled shoots to attract more clients. Which is what a lot of photographers are doing. A couple years ago after meeting with a respected mentor in England who is also a documentary photographer, I realized it was time to narrow in on my niche.
I put my documentary approach in the forefront of my brand. Including my website, photos used in my portfolio, blog articles, and social media. Which means several things.
-I will attract couples looking for my style and approach and put off couples with other expectations.
-Most couples don’t look for photographer by style until they have started researching wedding photographers. Then they become educated and learn about the different styles of wedding photography. The product they receive and the experience they have varies with these different options.
-Yes, I’ve left the safety net. Safe is boring. Then I don’t stand out. While my style and approach aren’t for everyone, I have an identity. Why should a couple hire me when there are umpteen bazillion others? Well, when I offer something others don’t, that increases my value and makes competition a moot factor. It’s just a unique challenge putting it out there to my audience.
-This way, I get clients specifically for me, and we were meant to work together. Expectations are clear and they understand the benefits of my approach going in.
-Most important of all perhaps- I won’t fall out of love with what I do because I’m conforming rather than running with what I do best. A happy and passionate me makes for a happy client.