One of the biggest complaints that's passed around in the photography community is that there are "too many photographers".
Feeling like you have competition from all ends of the earth, it can seem daunting to try to compete in an over-saturated market.
But just because there are photographers to your left and to your right, it doesn't mean that you cannot thrive as a business owner to gain new clients and run a sustainable business.
So how can you ensure that you & your photography skills get the attention and business you desire?
It's simple, really. You need to stand out from the masses and create a brand that's unique & can't be compared with.
If you look at any successful photographer from around the world, no matter what type of photographer they are, you'll notice one common thing about them: they stay true to themselves, their craft, and their brand message.
All-in-all, you need to create a brand & experience that can't be replicated by another photographer down the street for $50.
In order to stand out from your competition, you will need a little bit of research, soul-searching, and a whole lot of dedication.
But, if you can stick with it, you too can create a buzz-worthy brand and not ever have to worry about "competing" with the local togs, no matter how saturated your area might be.
Let's uncover just 4 ways how you can stand out as a unique photographer in your area.
If you want to be unique in a saturated market, then niching down will be your ultimate weapon for diversity.
If you are just another photographer under the sun who will shoot anything and everything, then what makes you stand out from the masses?
It's going to be a lot harder to differentiate yourself from your competition if you are photographing the same things time and time again as they are.
So, how can you niche down?
Simple. Pick a type of session you'd like to be known for and only take on clients or show work of these types of sessions.
If you'd only like to photograph babies, then you can advertise as a maternity - 1 year baby photographer.
If you prefer branding or modeling clients, then make these types of sessions your priority.
But, what happens if you can't decide on what to focus on? Or perhaps you have many interests when it comes to your craft?
You can be a multi-faceted photographer and still niche down.
For instance, I personally label myself as a family photographer and will photograph anything from maternity through high school seniors (with the occasional wedding sprinkled in).
How this works for my and my business is that I have honed a certain style in my shooting and branding: happy moments, genuine smiles & family connections. I portray this style in my branding, how I talk and communicate with my following, my website, and obviously the photos that I display online and in my marketing pieces.
You too can take a broad niche like 'family' photographer and niche down from there, you just need to find what fuels you and make sure it's displayed in your branding across the board.
Just like with a photography niche, choosing a style will help you stand out in a saturated market.
A style can be a multitude of factors, but it mainly boils down to three subjects: posing style, lighting style, and editing style.
Your posing style is how you prefer to place your subjects & how you interact with them to achieve the final results.
If you're a newborn photographer you could favor a more posed look with backdrops, props, and lots of swaddling babies. If you prefer a more natural look, you might tend to shoot more lifestyle or baby-led 'posing'.
Your lighting style will be based on the type of lighting that you prefer to shoot in to achieve your desired results.
Either in-studio with a complete flash set-up, going all natural with the sun, or a mix of both, the type of light you choose to use will create consistency in your work and help you a hone a style so you can stand out among the crowd.
Want to improve your natural lighting skills? Check out this natural light guide to help you level up your lighting game and take more beautiful photos in-camera!
The same goes for your editing preferences.
Are you more attracted to a clean simple look, muted colors and trendy skin tones, or bright and bold colors to help your subjects stand out?
Whatever editing style you decide to strive for, just try to make it unique to you, your brand, and your vision.
Nothing can be more confusing to consumers and potential clients than looking for photographers and not being able to tell the difference between photographer A and photographer B.
Want to create a more unique editing style that current trends can't compete with?
Check out our complete line of Lightroom presets to create a simple, clean, and colorful look that will never fade with time, trends, or tastes of your clients.
The way you speak, your online presence, and even the way that your website flows and communicates is a HUGE way to standout in a saturated market.
If the copy on your website is boring and your about page is written like every other photographer on the planet, how can you expect to make an impact or make a great first impression?
If your work, your website, and your words look like every other photographer in your radius, you're going to have a hard time standing out and making a lasting impression when trying to reel in new clients.
How can you ensure a brand personality that speaks for itself?
Assert your own personality into how you communicate with your clients & followers online.
If your brand is bright, fun, and colorful, then the way you comment, talk, and communicate your brand message should match to fit. This includes email responses, social media captions and posts, and how you talk to your clients on the phone and in-person.
If your brand is more mellow and soothing, your communication can take on a different role. Using bold colors, fonts, and writing style would clash with your brand style and could be confusing to others.
Use fonts and colors that speak your brand message.
Your website, marketing pieces, and social media posts should match across the board, not only among themselves, but your overall brand image.
If your editing style is more airy and muted, you'll want the fonts and colors you choose to fit along.
If your shooting style is edgy and new, then you might consider bold fonts and striking, unforgettable colors to use in your branding.
Words, fonts, and colors all can speak a language on their own, so make sure yours stands out and aligns itself with an image you wish to portray.
Nothing will clump you together with other photographers faster than providing the same service, same style, and same products as them.
Why not create and offer something different?
Instead of being the all-inclusive digital download photographer like every other tog on the block, why not consider offering tangible products instead of or in addition to?
You can pull out all the stops and provide a complete line of high-quality print products OR you could change up the all-inclusive package option by adding a print product with every session.
Think of a way you can set yourself apart from others in your area so you can standout as a unique photographer.
Either way, adding a unique & tangible product to your line will help differentiate your business among the sea of photographers in your area.
Bonus tip: customer service
Big tip: your customer service alone can help you stand out instantly in a sea of competitors.
From your initial email response to an inquiry all the way through the delivery of your client's final images, you have countless opportunities to serve your clients in ways that will make you unforgettable.
Have an inquiry for a session?
Instead of waiting a few days (or weeks) to return the response, carve out some time during the day to respond back as quickly as possible (bonus points if you call them!).
Inquiry turned into client?
Why not send them a thank you card for booking with you? A simple hand-written card will make a bigger impression than you might think, and will help your clients anticipate working with you even more!
Don't miss an opportunity to make good & lasting impressions with those you serve.
Photography is a service trade after all, so take advantage of that and serve your clients and potential clients in the best way possible!
It doesn't have to be complicated to stand out as a unique photographer (even in an over-saturated market), but it will take dedication and application.
Determine your priorities as an artist and business owner and let your creativity flow into your business approach.
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