Several months ago, I decided to determine my niche in photography.
My plan of attack was to:
- Reflect on and understand my passion for photography
- Identify top drivers/motivation
- Determine area(s) of concentration based on those drivers
- Continuously build and leverage my skills in that area
This seemed like such a good growth exercise and business strategy when I started.
I excitedly began the in-depth, self introspection behind my love for photography. I feel I learned alot about myself and am grateful that I did the exercise. Unfortunately, when it came time to narrow down the list to my areas of focus, I couldn’t choose.
I became confused and stressed that I couldn’t identify the direction I should go in, which lasted several weeks. It was around this point that I realized I had also pushed away my camera while working on the initiative. How and when did that happened? No longer was it my favorite accessory and people were starting to recognize the right side of my face again. I was becoming the photographee instead of the photographer.
It was then that I decided to nix the niche search… and I could feel the frustration melt off almost immediately. I had been putting too much pressure on myself unnecessarily. So I like to dabble in many areas of photography- so what!!! 🙂 I started picking up photography jobs again and seeking other avenues to express my art as well (iStockphoto, etc..).
~Here is where I will digress from the story to express how excited I am to have been accepted as an iStockphoto contributor!!! The photos below are what I submitted as my samples with my applicaton (after taking the rather in-depth test)~
So the conclusion of the story is actually a happy ending. Almost magically, the true answers I needed materialized. I had been looking for a solution for my feelings of photography burnout and frustration with customers last year. (I’m sure the personal, emotional rollercoaster I had been on at the time and fully loading my schedule didn’t help- hahah). Developing a niche was simply the wrong answer. What I take from the whole experience is the following:
- I am not reliant on the money from my photography since I have an amazing career that I don’t see myself leaving any time soon.
- I can continue to treat it as my hobby, my passion, my love and not let it become a job (dabbling wherever I want).
- I can say no to sessions/customers as desired and avoid spreading myself too thin.
- Focus on expectations management with customers to avoid difficult situations