Any photographer loves to see an inquiry for potential work come through. This may not happen every day, so there is excitement in new potential work.
But, what type of photography is being requested? Ask a photographer if they can shoot a type of photography for you and you’ll get a resounding yes. Photographers can shoot anything, right? We photographers are quick to say photography isn’t about the camera. The moment we’re asked to photograph something, we revert to the technicality of using the camera. Instantly we can shoot anything you ask. Don’t believe me?
Check forums like Reddit for people requesting what to say or how to approach a genre they’ve never shot. I’ve been like this myself before and it only raised my anxiety. Things aren’t that simple. Almost a month ago, I shared how I wasn’t going to be one of the A-Z generalist photographers in 2017. Instead, I specialized in my area of interest and expertise: Architectural Photography. This decision meant no more wedding photography, portrait photography, or anything outside architecture. It would need to be a really unique situation.
Dealing with a new inquiry
But then came the inquiry about my wedding photography and pricing. It was tempting to send over my beautiful pricing PDF. It was tempting to ask the future bride some questions. My mind was screaming: ‘C’mon, one more wedding wouldn’t be that bad.’
Instead, I kept to my word and explained that I no longer shot wedding photography. Can you believe that?
Last year, I was writing about being broke and trying to make 1k a month. Here I was, turning down potential work. It’s important to note that I wouldn’t want to leave someone with a blunt message about not being able to help them. I made sure to recommend another photographer in London. One that loves photographing weddings. And it felt good. It felt right.
My focus is my focus
My focus is on architecture photography and its use to make an impact in a client’s business. This is my sweet spot. If something is unrelated, it’s outside my focus and I won’t take that work on. Every day, I submerge myself within architectural content and less with other genres. Sure, I can shoot a wedding; yet, I’m not obsessed with it enough. My attention isn’t in that space in a way that it should be for people. And, when that’s the case, a photographer cannot do as great of a job as someone that lives that type of photography. Specification, even in photography, is a big deal. Consider this information if you’re looking for a photographer or you are a photographer.
Less is more
As a photographer, my stress levels subsided even though I turned down a potential job. My mind didn’t have to switch into “wedding” mode. I didn’t have to research anything going on in wedding photography currently. I didn’t need to learn if I needed specific gear to be successful. All my focus remains in the photography of architecture. Usually, people experience a lot of fear upon specializing. It’s been the opposite for me so far. I’ve experienced a boost in confidence because of focusing on what I have always loved.
Looking at this scenario in a different way, I am working in a position of providing deeper value. I’m not interested in trying to play a game of width and reach everyone. That would result in a small bit of value for more people and I don’t believe it would provide measurable impact. If you’re looking for a photographer, you’ll find less risk with a specialized professional. More Value. They deal with the problems related to the work you are requesting on a regular basis.
It makes good business sense for everyone involved.