Ignore 98% of the Photography Market to Win

The video title alone should make you want to come and dispute this claim, but give it a couple of minutes of your time. The majority of people won’t support you or appreciate your work. You’re not alone, and here is an example.

Beyonce’s last studio album, “Lemonade,” sold 1.5 million in America, a nation with 323 million people the same year the album was released (2016). That means only about .46% of America was Beyonce’s customer base, and she’s doing quite alright! She headlined Coachella and then a sellout world tour right after. 

Another example: Madonna holds the record for the number one selling female recording artist of all time! She sold over 300 million records globally. The population of earth is 7.5 billion humans. Madonna is the number one female artist of all time by serving only about 4% of the earth. Someone will dispute that, but I'm trying to make a general point.

Walid Azami photographing a beauty skin line

Walid Azami photographing a beauty skin line

Now, can you open up to the idea of ignoring 98% of the market and still finding immense success? Ok fine, maybe ignore 97% or 95%, you decide that part, but try to focus on the niche that will appreciate your work and support your business. Finding your niche means knowing why an ideal client avatar will set your business on a successful path. 

Here are five reasons why I feel having an ideal client avatar will set your business on a different path:

  1. Work Smarter, Not Harder: Everything you do for your business should impress your ideal client. It's important to communicate with the people most likely to support your creativity. If other people like your work, great! But the odds of them buying is far less. Instead, focus only on the people who will love your work. Serve them prices that will interest them and products that will make them pick up the phone!
  2. Powerful Social Media Posts: Imagine having every post reach your ideal market. Imagine every post bringing those viewers closer to investing with your services. When you know your ideal client, you can plan social media posts that will resonate with them.
  3. Setting Your Business for Success: What will your ideal client like? Will they like a particular type of style or pricing package? If you know your ideal client, then you know how to set it up. It makes sense once you think about it.
  4. Are you pricing for anyone who will listen or the people most likely to buy? What would interest them and what kind of offers do they normally respond to? What is their disposable income and what do they consider an investment? Price for your ideal client.
  5. We're creative souls and we have ideas that come up all the time. As an artist, it's ok to do anything that makes you happy. As a business, it's not the most productive way to grow a service. Having an ideal client avatar means you have a roadmap to success. You may have a great idea, but will it excite your customer base? If not, that's wasted effort and time. 

Now, you see why having an ideal client is essential in your business. Look into making your own and using that as a roadmap to success in 2020 and beyond. 

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Jeff Walsh's picture

I did this not too long ago. I even named my ideal client Ray, after one of my favorite photographers. It's helped a lot when making decisions about my business. If it wouldn't interest Ray, I leave it alone, or at least don't put it out for Ray to see. How I approach clients, who I approach, how I speak to them, everything revolves around Ray. It's kind of freeing because I'm not longer trying to appeal to everyone, just Ray.

Walid Azami's picture

It's great, right? OK fine, I will ignore most everyone and only focuses on the people who like me. For many photographers, it's unsettling to think you want to ignore most people. Looks like you're the perfect example of someone who has done this and finds out it works perfectly.

Glem Let's picture

Oh I love this.... well done for putting it up..

There are plenty of us who are ‘old’....

We don’t do twatter or Insta, we don’t have any likes and couldn’t care less.. as we constantly avoid 95% of the market and avoid 100% yes 100% of this newer social media based (weak and poorly paid) market.

But we’ve been working in this industry for 20-30-40yrs and we do very well.

An increasing number of clients say to me ‘I don’t want it to look like something off Instagram.., I don’t want too see to much post..’

I reply ‘ I don’t go on Instagram so we should be fine...’

Ignore the 95%


Vincent Alongi's picture

I think it's more about being focused rather than the social media aspect- that's just one component of getting your word and work out there.

Walid Azami's picture

I agree with you, Vincent. It's so much more than just social media, but that's a loud component nowadays. It also helps you do better test shoots, better gallery and website design, etc...

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Can I have more than one ideal client?

Walid Azami's picture

Good question. Ultimately it's up to you, but I really suggest a male version of your ideal client and then a female version. They don't have to know each other.

Dan Marchant's picture

You can. You can do family/social and corporate headshots... but then you need to market to those customers clearly. If 75% of your marketing on a platform appeals to families then potential corporate clients are less likely to be paying attention.... unless you market to then via a completely different channel.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

This is excellent advice.