The most important decision photographers have to make is whether to specialize or generalize. While generalizing may increase your chances of work, it can also harm your reputation. The good news is there's a clever way to do both.
I completely understand why photographers may want to dabble in various different areas of the industry. First, it's more interesting, and second, it can open up many more revenue streams. The real downsize of generalizing is the negative perception that some clients and customers can get from it. Many of these people won't think you're doing lots of things because you enjoy a variety. Instead, they will jump to the conclusion that you're casting your net far and wide because you're desperate. When someone wants a problem solved, they'd rather get a specialist. I'm sure if you had a bug infestation in your house, you'd be more confident hiring the professional who does the job day-in, day-out over the guy off Craigslist who seems to be doing all sorts of random stuff to get by?
This very topic is the subject of The Futur's video this week. Chris Do, the founder of the Futur, explains in detail the issues with both specializing and generalizing and offers the best solution I have heard in a very long time. Thankfully for us "variety is the spice of life" kinds, we can actually do both. The important factor to note is how you present what you do to the world. Do stresses the importance of specializing externally, so clients and customers think you are a specialist, while still generalizing internally, so your practice is enriched by all those different creative avenues.
The video goes on to talk about the halo bias and how this concept comes into play when specializing and how opportunities may come as a result of this. The video is just under eight minutes long and is well worth a look if you're at a crossroads in your photography career. You really can have your cake and eat it too; just be sure your clients don't see any unwanted crumbs on your chin.
Lead image by Lê Minh via Pexels, used under Creative Commons.