How to dominate your photographic specialty

March 2017 issue

How to dominate your photographic specialty

When agricultural photographer Todd Klassy launched his business in 2010, he did so with two underlying objectives that helped him quickly establish himself as one of the most successful photographers in his market:

1. Own his niche
2. Own his location

Sure, that sounds great, but how does one accomplish these dual goals? Klassy breaks down a few more specific suggestions to help you carve out your own successful corner of the photographic landscape, and then establish yourself as the dominant player in that corner.

Understand your niche. What kinds of images speak to your particular audience? What kind of images do they need? Understand what works for your niche market and what doesn’t. Study those who’ve gone before, and chart a course for yourself that builds on that history but also braves a bold new path.

Be authentic. When you work in a niche market, clients expect a specialist. They expect someone who knows them, knows their lifestyle, and knows their needs. If you’re faking it, they’ll figure you out. Be real, and create images that show your expertise.

Optimize for online search. You could be the best specialist photographer in the world, but if you’re not tagging your images, adding metadata and keywords, and optimizing your website for search, then you’re never going to be found in today’s web-heavy world. Don’t be invisible!

Then narrow the search. When you’re focusing on a niche, make sure you’re optimizing for very specific searches. Be as detailed as you can. For example, if you take a photo of a cat and post it online, it will be lost among the millions of other cat photos out there. However, if you take a photo of a cat in a funny hat, sitting on a balcony in the middle of the city, with a very specific landmark in the background, and then you tag that image appropriately, it will be found. Believe it or not, there are people out there looking for it.

Outwork your competition. Part of owning your niche and your location means keeping your competitors out of it. That doesn’t mean being nasty or aggressive; it means doing better work, and providing better service, so there isn’t room for others to encroach on your market.

Never be satisfied. If you’re absolutely satisfied with your photographs, then you’re killing yourself professionally. You have to develop that critical eye to see what is wrong with your own work. There is always something to improve. Find it, and improve it. Then repeat. You should always be improving. 

RELATED: Learn more about Todd Klassy's agricultural photography

Jeff Kent is editor-at-large of Professional Photographer. 

Tags: business operationsniche photography

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