I speak to a lot of photographers who have spent a lot of time shooting just one genre, and over time have become either bored of that genre, or just quite fancy giving something else a go!
I was one of those photographers. When I first began to build my career after university, I thought that wedding photography would be the perfect niche to go down. It wasn't until I'd shot my first wedding that I realised weddings weren't for me! Here's how I pivoted, and how you can too:
Plan Your New Portfolio: Before you can even think about booking paid work in a new niche, you need to have a portfolio to show potential clients. When I decided weddings weren’t for me, I knew I wanted to shoot for coastal lifestyle brands. So over the course of a couple of months, I very intentionally shot new images for my portfolio which reflected the kind of work that I wanted to be booked for by brands.
Don’t Stop Shooting What You’ve Been Shooting So Far: As I was making my pivot, I already had a lot of shoots and weddings booked. It wasn’t like I decided overnight that I was going to stop shooting weddings, therefore I cancelled all of my work. No way! I stuck it out.
The income I made from the work I was moving away from allowed me to finance the creation of the work that I wanted to shoot in order to move in this new direction. So don’t just give up on the clients you already have necessarily. It's ok to keep shooting your old genre for a while.
Change Your Website Up: One of the quickest ways that you can begin to pivot your photography niche is to change your website up. When I no longer wanted to book anymore weddings, I removed any information, images…. anything about weddings at all, from my website. It made no sense to leave wedding related imagery on my website.
You don’t have to be as drastic as I was if you’re simply looking to break into a new niche. I’d only suggest that you remove everything from your site if you’re looking to walk away from one niche, and break into a new one.
Begin to Pitch Yourself: When I decided to get serious about shooting fashion photography, it became apparent that the quickest way that I was going to make progress was if I pitched myself directly to the brands I wanted to work for.
If I hadn’t put myself out there, I might not have been successful in my pivot. I may well have gone back to wedding photography, or given up on photography all together. By taking matters into my own hands, I was able to push my photography business in the direction I wanted to go in.
If you’re interested in learning how to pitch yourself to brands using the same system that I use (which took me from having never shot for a brand in my life, to shooting for Joules, Boden, Barbour, Crew Clothing and more) then my online course, Pitching With Confidence, might be for you! Its currently open for enrolment, and early bird prices end in just a weeks time! Click here to get more info, and sign up before the price of the course goes up.
Start To Say No:The last stage in all of this is to begin to say no. It is totally ok to take on the odd job that isn’t totally “on brand.” I often take on jobs here and there which wouldn’t feature in my portfolio, or show up on my Instagram grid. It pays the bills, and sometimes that’s what jobs have to do!
What I don’t want you to do, is fill your calendar up with nothing but jobs you don’t really want to do… because that will ultimately suck the fun out of photography entirely. Listen to your gut, feel what is right for you, and the rest will work itself out.