How finding my niche made me more profitable | ARP Brand Photography
brand photographer Amanda Richardson speaks on her niche decision to exclude headshots from her service offerings

How finding my niche made me more profitable

August 23, 2022

I always want to believe everyone is always being honest and that makes me easily swayed. I’m gullible, what can I say 🤷‍♀️ So when I first started as a business owner (over a decade ago!), I wanted to “fall in the line” and do things the right way. I always compared myself to other people in the same businesses and tried to figure out how they were making a certain elements work for them. But I soon found I was wasting my time and profit by following every business trend, advice, model, or guru in my industry, instead of finding my niche.

As you can imagine I fell on my face every single time I tried to mimic someone else’s success. You begin to realize that the other entrepreneur you compare yourself to are making it up as they go along too. There truly is no “doing it right”, it’s just about GETTING IT DONE! Following your gut, making small progress, and finding your own niche will get you farther than looking for a roadmap.

Chasing the light

Even still, owning a business and scaling to your personal version of success is equivalent to a photographer chasing the light. Light is a living thing. It can be harsh and intense, and in an instant change to dim and hazy. Minutes later, you could experience the most colorful, glorious sunset you have ever witnessed.

If you are anything like me, that analogy describes the questioning, doubt, happiness and then fear that rolls through your head again and again on a daily basis. Growing a personal brand or service business is an emotional rollercoaster. It never goes away, but it does get easier. For me, an immense weight lifted once I started doing things “the wrong way”: my own way!

I’m not a photographer in the typical sense

First off, the general title of photographer does not fit me. I didn’t love photography for the art of it. I loved it for its impact. I loved what I could accomplish and portray through photography, specifically when I got to sit with other passionate and creative people. I am a “Strategic Brand Photographer”. That title did not come to me over night but as soon as I started truly leaning into the meaning of it, I began giving myself permission to do things differently.

I wanted to follow my own path and pave a way to success that felt good and comfortable to me. Initially the choices were obvious and easy. I knew I would never shoot a wedding; I knew I did not want to be a family photographer; and I was absolutely certain I loved working with and being a part of other businesses succeeding.

Finding my niche in brand photography

But believe it or not, brand photography is not as well defined as a specialty as you would think. Initially, I didn’t realize it was an option! Competition can be frustrating, because most people don’t understand how strategic branding is. Customers tend to price shop and hire their family photographer thinking photos are photos. But that is the case in any industry and it simply means I am tasked with educating those who are ready to take their businesses to the next level, and I love that about my job!

So what do I do “wrong” that is outside of the norm?

Well, don’t tell anyone, but… I hate taking headshots. Yup I said it and I’m not taking it back! Let me explain….

Here is the thing about a headshot. Not only is it NOT branding, but it is impersonal. Don’t get me wrong, I take them during a branding session. I get excited about sunset light and pretty outfits. But what I don’t love is having someone show up for a 20 minute session, who I know nothing about, and trying to get them comfortable with me and the camera in a tiny snippet of time.

I am just a different kind of girl, I want to get to know who you are and all the whys of your business. I love learning that you love to be barefoot as much as I do and what your favorite thing to do on your day off is. All of these little intricacies tell the whole story of who you are and that is why I have the ability to capture people’s inner beauty and make them feel empowered during our sessions.

A headshot session won’t do that.

A technically skilled photographer can take an excellent headshot. I feel no desire to compete for that work because that just isn’t me. If you have been following along, you know that I recently had an offer for headshot sessions… and then quickly stopped pushing them because I realized just because everyone else does it, doesn’t mean I have to.

So how does this differentiation make me more profitable?

Well, during the time I would have been doing those headshot sessions, I actually booked 2 more branding clients! You read that right. That exact day two amazing business owners signed their contracts for my branding experience. So that just proved to me that if I don’t stress myself out with all the “noise” and what I am “supposed to be doing” to create success and I come back to what my values and vision of success are for me it makes all the difference.

And, I know I can accomplish their headshots and soooo much more in the time we spend together. My niche is the ambitious entrepreneur, and they need more than a headshot. They need a brand-defining, personal, expressive session. And I need that outlet too!

It’s ultimately about saying no to things that you see everyone else saying yes to and that is a risk I am willing to take to be able to serve my clients with time and attention they deserve.

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