052: Finding Your Niche in the Photography World
Saturated markets shouldn't keep you from pursuing your niche.
The world of photography is larger than most people think. And many photographers start out taking any and every type of shoot and client they can get. As you grow in your skill and expertise, it's very normal to begin niching down and saying no to things you used to shoot.
Don't let other people box you in when it comes to your business. Go ahead and pursue different things until you find the niche that clicks!
Grew up in Dallas, TX and moved to Cali in 2008 with her husband, which is when they found out they were pregnant. Jana quit her job to stay home with her newborn son. She spent much of her day taking sweet photos of him and posting them on Facebook. People saw her photos and started asking her to take their photos. Overtime, she did every type of photography out there - weddings, baptisms, babies - but has settled into stock photography now.
She was asked to start doing home interior photography for a few renovation shows. Jana loved being on set with all the items and designers. The details of the home styling were what drew her into styled photography.
What is styled stock photography?
It is so popular because people don’t have the time and resources to create the same scenes. It can be very expensive to invest in due to buying all the props. Styled stock allows people to create their brands without spending a lot at the beginning.
Jana’s business timeline
Her son was born in 2009 and Twigy Posts was started in 2015. The market was so saturated and it was hard to stand out in the beginning. She and her husband were on a shoestring budget and she put all of her earnings into savings to grow the business. Jana used her basic camera to take the photos and then would spend hours editing them in order to make her business work. She learned so much about Photoshop during those years!
She helped her husband book weddings as an officiant and she started to dabble into the wedding industry. As she purchased a few stock photos for $50 each, she knew she could do something similar. Jana started Twigy Posts with $100 as she continued with her other photography business. Once she made more with her stock photography, she began to phase out the other business and clients.
Don’t give up
There was some discouragement in the beginning and that’s why her stock photos are so affordable. She knows how hard and exhausting it can be when you’re first starting out. Jana was doing something she loved, even when it was hard. Realizing that she did her best work when she was working from home with products and not people, her business flourished when she stopped doing live shoots.
Other struggles along the way
Imposter syndrome is real, especially when you’re self-taught, as Jana knows all too well. When she uploaded her first bundle to Creative Market, the “suggested rate” was higher than she was comfortable with but she went ahead and used it to boost her confidence. She also realized that she didn’t need to worry about what others would think as she bounced around in the photography world. You may be starting out as a family or wedding photographer and then realize you love another type of photography, but like Jana, you can make the switch to what makes you come alive.
It takes time to do things and build them. In the struggle is where the blessing can happen. Staying faithful to photography and people kept her going when things were hard.
Her business now and what's next
Jana’s income goals have doubled and tripled with her stock photography. Her time at home has also increased and give her more time back with her family. She feels valued for her work and there’s less demand to be on others’ schedules. Jana never thought she’d be doing a course, but she has one in the works to help others with styled stock. Recently she opened up a Shopify store in order to offer more coupons for her customers. The Seller’s Society is a program she has with Dannie Fountain and Rosemary Watson to help people sell on Creative Market
She has really invested in her business and knows that her hard work now has paid off. It’s sort of like planting and tending to flowers - either keep watering, or change the soil.
Community and growth
Rosemary Watson and Kate Max are two other stock photographers that Jana interacts with on a regular basis. They don’t want to muddle the waters with any backstabbing because they all have their own styles. Getting the “swipe up” feature on Instagram was a huge milestone for Jana! It took 2 years to get to 10k and the last year was a bit harder, but she started from scratch and is so proud of where she is today.
If you’re looking to work with Jana
She’s no longer taking on clients, but loves giving out tips and editing tutorials on her Instagram and Facebook page. Her new course will be a great tool to help you see what you may have around your house and office and how you can use them for your business.
Key advice for you
Just go for it! Don’t let imposter syndrome sneak up on you.
Think outside of the box. Look at others in your industry and see what’s missing. Fill that hole with your own personal spin.
Commit it to God. She knew she couldn’t do it on her own.