Freelance Photographer Market

As many freelance photographers will tell you, there is a particular joy in the freedoms that come with running your own photography business. It’s up to you to make the magic happen, and the creative direction in which you can take your work is boundless. Hence, there are over 12,000 employed freelance photographers in the US.

If you think it’s too late to get into freelance photography, think again because the average freelance photographer is 38 years old. So, if you’ve ever been on the fence about starting your own photo business, this might be the push to help you get on the right track. However, it all begins with exploring equipment, constantly practicing photography, building a portfolio, and ultimately finding your niche.  

Freelance photography niche and service
Photo by Erik Mclean

What is a Niche Photography Market? 

Businesses and freelance artists who offer photography services are considered professionals within the photography industry. One step further, a freelancer can offer a more specific photography service(s) within the general industry. These unique services are known as photography niches. An example of this would be wildlife photography or food photography. Both are part of the industry, but one specializes in shooting people’s animal companions, and the other captures cousin beauty. 

If you’re getting your teeth pulled out, you probably don’t care how well your dentist can perform heart surgery or treat an injured foot. Your dentist deals with healthcare industry needs, but their niche focuses on mouth hygiene. Your only concern is how good is he at his job— fixing your teeth. You pay for a particular service, and you expect the job to be done right and efficiently. That’s the essence of a niche photography market. 

freelance photographer
Photo by Reinhart Julian

Why is a Niche Market Important? 

Niches are an excellent way for businesses to advertise a unique service to a particular audience, eventually narrowing down your ideal customers. Photographers use niches to help build a resume, collect consistent work, and grow clientele. However, you don’t have to be confined to a particular niche forever. The photography market has an extensive range of services such as portrait, landscape, sports, real estate, and pets; therefore, there’s always something new to explore.  Furthermore, these categories can be broken down even more profoundly. For example, take event photography; it can be defined as— weddings, concerts, and corporate events.  

Because there are so many options, a professional might opt to narrow down their services to a specific genre instead of filming and shooting anything and everything. This is not only for your freelance photography business but also for clients looking for your particular service. A niche market will help your business thrive by highlighting and identifying the practices and solutions you perform. 

Photo by Paul Skorupskas

The Benefits of Having a Photography Niche

A few other things happen when you can find your appropriate niche. You can reach and weed out your target audience much more efficiently. It will allow you to quickly pinpoint where you should and shouldn’t advertise your services.  Advertising is essential, but you don’t want to waste your efforts in all the wrong areas. It would be best to learn where your target audience resides most – sites, locations, and events, and after target these areas. If you do pet photography, it wouldn’t be wrong to advertise at local dog parks or pet-related websites. Understand your niche, and you’ll eventually know where to find work. 

Narrowing down your work also allows you to charge more for your service because it will be recognized as a specialized service or product. If you want a sushi chef, are you going to hire someone decent at making a broad range of foods or an expert who has spent years honing their craft in making sushi? Clients look for comfort in that a job will be done correctly and, as a result, compensate for this accordingly. 

So the only thing left to ask is, how do you find your photography niche? Exploring new or unfamiliar fields and practices can often be scary and uncomfortable. However, if you can work through this, the benefits surely outweigh the cons. Whether you’re rebranding your photography services, expanding your niche portfolio, or flat-out new to photography, this is for you.  

Find out how you can boost your photography practices by finding the appropriate niche market. 

How to Find Your Photography Niche  

Photo by Kameron Kincade
Practice & Explore 

Before you advertise your own freelance photography business, you want to ensure you have a decent amount of photography knowledge and experience. Do you have to be the most informed expert on every type of service? No. However, the goal is to play around with enough styles and practices to have a narrowed-down idea of what work you want to pursue.  

If you’ve only explored two types of photography, there is so much content you’re missing out on.  Maybe you have a hidden passion for time-lapse photography, but you would never know until you tried it. Even the most seasoned photography professionals will find themselves attracted to niches they may not have explored a few years back. But just like anything in life, you won’t know until you give it a go. 

Have fun testing different types of equipment, settings, software, and subjects. Have you ever used a lens filter or experimented with a different third-party lens? Manipulate your temperatures and colors of indoor lighting on your subjects or play around with depth, exposure, and other practices. Whatever you do, never stop experimenting with photography, and you will discover a luscious world of potential waiting to be discovered.   

Do the Research and Ask Questions 

After investing time into exploring new techniques and practices, you should begin to build an idea of your niche photography market. When it comes to finding the right niche, you’ll want to start by asking yourself a few questions. This will help you narrow down viable solutions for your business to address. Niche questions should assess your location, budget, network, and the clientele you’re interested in working with. 

Answers these questions, and you’ll start to gather an idea of what practices suit you best. If night hours are when you’re available to shoot, nightlife photography could be something to explore. If you love working outdoors and travel often, maybe landscape photography is a suitable option. Do niche research and compare how a specific gig would fit into your lifestyle and schedule.     

Analyze competition in your niche. Is the pool saturated with plenty of freelance photographers searching for work in the same area? What about an untapped local market? Are there services you can provide that will fill a significant void? Use the questioning method to determine which direction your niche photography takes.  

Freelance photography business
Photo by Jean Pierre
Network & Build Meaningful Connections  

Don’t be surprised if most of your initial clients turn out to be close family, friends, and other familiar contacts. Like any career, you won’t start at the top of the totem pole when you start offering services. You will probably need to provide services to a small network of people before you can grow your credibility. Check social media, hit up old friends, research local businesses, or join third-party services for freelance photographers.

Conventions and photo classes aren’t just suitable for honing your skills and experience. They’re great opportunities to meet more meaningful people and discover a new community of like-minded individuals dedicated to photography. Stay informed on events near you through various services like Eventbrite and social platforms to improve your network.

Whether reaching out by email, phone, or face-to-face, be personable, transparent, and to the point. If a business needs to be persuaded, you should have plenty of work to show off if you’ve been practicing. Your work should be relevant to their needs. After you have garnered a portfolio, you should develop a compelling pitch about how they will benefit from your services and why they need you. Your selling point is a crucial step in the process, so make sure not to sell yourself short, boast a little.

Almost any freelance photographer will tell you how important having an active and reliable network is. After all, it’s how you will continue to reel in gigs and grow your services. Treat your clients well, give them great work and effort, and they should continue to reward you in return. 

Take Away

There are so many niches to explore, but this shouldn’t overwhelm you. This is a good thing, and the endless creative bounds are why so many people fall in love with capturing the world around them. Lastly, it’s crucial to shoot what drives you, even if it’s for clients; otherwise, your passion for photos will slowly dissolve. Work at a pace suitable for you and never stop having fun. 

Which freelance photography niche services do you offer? 


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