Specialization - why do people do it? Let’s think about a restaurant. You’re craving reallllly good Italian food. At first glace, would you choose a restaurant that served Mexican, Italian, Chinese, and American food, or would you select the restaurant that only served Italian? You’d probably pick the exclusively Italian restaurant. Because they’re not juggling seven different cuisines from around the world, they have more time and energy directed on just Italian, and therefore the food's quality is higher.
The same principal can be applied to photography.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with wanting to do it all. The one stop, all your needs photographer. The awesome thing about being your own boss, is that nobody can tell you what to do. However, if you dream of targeting more high end clientele and have no idea how to do that, specializing is the way to go.
When you’re starting out, it makes sense to take every photographic job you can get. You need every bit of business to make a living and to get your name out there. But after a while, it’s time to rethink what you really love to do.
Some love to photograph moms-to-be and newborn babies. For other photographers, weddings and engagements light the fire in their eyes. Pay attention to which kind of shoot gets you the most excited, and think about specializing in that.
Saying “no” can be really hard at first. Not only are you turning down a super nice person, but money!!! What you’re doing, though, is best for you and your prospective client. You want them to have a photographer who is jazzed about family portraits, not trudging along wishing it was a wedding. By referring them to another photographer who specializes in that field, you are establishing a network of professionals to generate referrals and get business, gaining respect for being honest with your client, and strengthening your brand image all at once.
People want what they see. If you hate shooting parties, don’t have images of parties in your portfolio. If you would rather shoot a reception at a barn than a hotel ballroom, only post photos from higher end barn weddings. Tailor your website and the content people see to further reinforce what kind of work you do and don’t do. I’m a wedding / portrait kind of girl, and after listing the services I offer and re-structuring my portfolio, I have received two event / party inquiries in three years.
It will help your business and make you happier in the long run. By saying “no” to the things we don’t want, we leave more time to focus and improve upon what we truly love, while catering to more ideal clients in the process. It’s a win-win!