In most difficult economies, photographers will inevitably take on work that is outside their niche area. Having one commission is better than having nothing. Being a multitalented photographer who is able to shoot both weddings and macro photography can come in handy.
However, being a multitalented is not so easy to appropriate, particularly when it comes to advertising and looking for more work. I had the opportunity to talk to renowned Wedding Photographer Brett Florens who shared a couple of strategies that can help multitalented photographers appropriate their work more efficiently.
Side Gig Approach
Let’s say most of your work revolves around landscape photography. By some miracle, a billion-dollar company that manufactures shoes approaches you to photograph their catalog. You create the most amazing images, you get money in the bank, Frank gives you a pat on the back, and you’re are impressed with your awesomeness. The next obvious thing is to place those mouthwatering images alongside with your landscape photography on your website that you single-handedly created and designed from the depths of HTML, right? "If I’m going to photograph a catalogue of shoes, I will take the job but I’m not going to market myself as shoe photographer,” said Florens. “I am not going to look for those jobs. I will kind of keep it quiet that I am doing those jobs and just do it for the money because as a freelance photographer I do need to take on work that will make me money.”
If you are one of those photographers who strongly believes that wedding photography is no different from frog photography and still insists on putting both your portfolios on one website, you might want to pay attention to this. According to Florens, you are better off having separate websites for each photography type. “If I was shooting insects or frogs, I definitely wouldn’t put that on my site because it’s not going to resonate with my target market,” said Florens. “If the bride sees that I photograph praying mantis, it’s defiantly not going to make her want to book me as her wedding photographer.”
Separating your websites will ensure that that you attract clients who are interested in the type of photography you have displayed. Even clients who might want your frog images might think you’re only dabbling into it as a hobby.
Multifaceted Photography Job
While there are multitalented photographers who prefer to separate their various photography interests, others prefer to have a single job that combines them. “From a strategic point of view, I think wedding photography is definitely suited for photographers who can do everything,” said Florens. “Mainly for the reason that one moment you are shooting like a photojournalist, the next minute you are shooting food, and the next you are shooting fashion. You have to have a good command of most of the disciplines of the photographic genres.”
One of the advantages of shooting weddings is their multifaceted nature. If you do not like the idea of having multiple websites and instead just like having one website that attracts decent paying clients, wedding photography might be ideal for you.
The cluster approach is where a business combines two or three related types of photography. In most cases, these types of photography would be complementary. “My wedding work is very much fashion-based editorial style,” said Florens. “If clients see that I work for big brands such as Wonderbra, Roxy, Quiksilver, and Under Armour, then that’s going to validate my brand and strengthen my position.”
In his strategy, Florens presents himself as a fashion photographer that shoots weddings rather than a wedding photographer who wishes to shoot fashion. “I make it clear that I am a fashion photographer first and would love to shoot your wedding,” said Florens. Combining two or more types of photography also makes more sense when the clients’ interests overlap. For instance, a client who is interested in wildlife photography might also be interested in landscape photography.
Advertising Your Work
I’m sure you have gone to a networking event where you asked someone what they do and their response was something like, “I’m a graphic designer and I write a lot about jewelry making and indoor fish farming.” You are better of telling people you are a human being than mentioning a ton of things they won’t remember.
This is no different than when a photographer places everything from jewelry to a bride’s family all in one advertisement. When placing in advertisement, for example in a magazine, Florens encourages photographers to have “one image which is going to be totally brand representative.”
“If you put jewelry and food and all of that, you end up with six to eight pictures on to one advertisement and all you are really doing is confusing the viewer,” said Florens. “Rather than them looking at six pictures which they won’t remember, I want people to look at a picture and remember that one particular picture.”
Delegating and Outsourcing
This is one the most difficult tasks of being a multitalented photographer. At times you just have to let someone do the job even if you are the best person you know who’s good at the job. It might be indeed true that you are quite good at everything. However, because of time constraints and work overload, you might want to give your other work to someone else. Florens said, "When we used to shoot film, the printing was done at the lab and we were outsourcing that work. Now that we are shooting digital, photographers are no longer outsourcing postproduction. Why is that? It takes so much time. The client does not even see the amount and effort that goes into postproduction.”
“l know that my talent lies in photography so in my business I outsource a lot. I do the stuff I that I’m good at and the rest of the stuff, I give to the right people," said Florens.
Images used with permission of Brett Florens.