Creating a new niche in your photography business

A common challenge for a lot of photographers is carving out a new niche. So, I thought it might be fun to create a new niche in my business – for the sake of this blog post. Here are some random ideas of what I might do if I decided to move into the pet photography market. Any of these ideas could be applied to other markets…so use your imaginations!

1. I would start by finding around 10 friends with pets and set up some photo sessions. I would shoot the sessions for free and include a couple of 5×7 prints for their time. If I totally nail it and they want to buy a 30″ print for their fireplace…great…I would charge them for that!

This will help me create some marketing material and it’s good practice so that I can work out the kinks (like how to work with a dogs short attention span…and anything else I can’t imagine right now) without the pressure of having a paying client.

2. Then I would print some referral cards for those clients with a photo of their pet on it. I would include a message like ” we would love to photograph more pets like Rex – please call to book your complimentary session”.

Note: If the referral card has a photo of their pet on it – they’re less likely to throw it in the recycle bin than if it’s just a generic studio card. So, I would give away a bunch of sessions and plan to make sales on the products/prints.

3. Once I had some decent portfolio material, I would write a blog post showing off the best shots from my latest session. But, I will need to spice it up a bit – because people see plain old photo blog posts every day. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated…just different! So maybe I’d post the silly series of photographs with dogs and cats wearing sombreros…now that’s something that should get peoples attention! I would also include some sort of call to action at the end – like “comment on this post and your name will be entered into a draw for a free pet photo session!”

If your first attempts at pet photography look anything like mine – you might need more than 10 practice sessions to pull together a decent portfolio!

4. Then I would post a link to that blog post on my facebook business fan page and spend some money to promote it. The key is to narrow down who you’re promoting it to. Think about location, sex and age when narrowing down potential readers. I also like to narrow it down even further to people that have the same interests as me (ex. hiking, climbing etc.) I figure I’m more likely to connect with people who I have something in common with.

5. I would also try to create a buzz in my community. I would talk to a local animal shelter about doing a photo fundraiser for them. I would invite people with their pets down to a local park where I would photograph them for a donation to the shelter. The folks could pick up their photo at the animal shelter (so that I don’t have to worry about it) and all the proceeds would go to them. I would make sure to send a press release a couple weeks before to my local radio station and newspaper to let them know what we’re up to. (tip: make sure to follow up!) If I’m lucky, not only will the press read/print the release…but the newspaper might even do a feature on the event and print some of the best photos from the fundraiser. Talk about some good press!

Now these are just 5 ideas that come top of mind…Do you have any ideas to add? Add them below in the comments section and maybe we can create an awesome “new niche resource” together! Or – if you have any “cat wearing sombrero” photos – I’d love to see those too!


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