Let’s journey back to 2009, shall we?! I’d been married for almost a year… been teaching middle school and elementary art for two. I’d gone back to school to get my teaching certificate and was contemplating a masters, possibly even ranking up in my school. I wasn’t looking for a way out, and how on earth could “taking pictures” ever lead to a break in a conventional job like teaching!?
My side hustle looked like photographing everything and anything… babies, families, dogs, tiny weddings (sound familiar, anyone?). I had a desktop computer, a Canon Rebel and a kit lens, very little ‘back up’ systems in place, no website and a blog that doubled as my portfolio. I did have an art degree under my belt, but no business degree, very few local mentors and no peers to bounce ideas off of (even if I did, the whole #communityovercompetition did NOT exist!). I was charging a tiny price for a lot of work and a ton of images. Shoot, edit for hoooours, burn onto a cd, pop it into the mail… repeat.
I loved what I did. I adored the people I got to meet, but some shoots went better than others, and some genres got me much more excited about the sessions than others. It wasn’t until MUCH later in my work (fall of 2016) that I decided to niche WAY down. This was both thrilling and stressful for me. By niche-ing down, I was basically turning away work in order to become an expert on the sessions I did shoot. Deciding to focus on plantation weddings and high school seniors meant that while I’d have to let other client types go, I’d be fulfilled by the way my calendar would shake out each month. And because I photographed these two groups SO often, it became my specialty… my area of expertise! And that is where things started to get interesting!
You may love photographing everything… it may be your jam all the way around, but I challenge you to take a good hard look at which sessions (or types of clients, types of work, etc) make your heart all pitter-patter with excitement. Which ones make you want to wave your little “PICK ME” flag and run out into the streets gathering them? Which type of work burns the fire stronger for you? And which ones make you want to run in the other direction, dreading the session, giving you that sinking feeling in your heart? I challenge you to drop the ones that you dread and fill your appointment calendar with the type of work that makes you thrive!
Until next time… keep up that hustle friends and run towards your favorite types of work!
xoxo — Lindsay