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Specializing Matters – Part One

12x12 Zook Book with Acrylic Cover

In a photography business, it’s great to be able to offer a variety of services and products. Many photographers have multiple galleries on their websites, showcasing weddings, professional wedding albums, maternity, headshots, family portraits, canvases, newborns, and more!  However, having a brand that focuses on excelling in one particular genre can define you as a specialist, versus a generalist. In this blog, Specializing Matters – Part One, we are focusing on why many potential customers are seeking individuals and companies who are masters at their craft, rather than just freelancers looking to book a gig. These customers can lead to better referrals and a better bottom line. 

Why does specializing matter? First, consider the shopping behaviors in the examples below. Then, find an example in your own life when you opt to skip the everyday items for a superior, specialized purchase. How might you position your specialized photography business in a way that caters to the type of customer who really values what you do? 

The Right Stuff

For someone whose hobbies include outdoor adventures, like hiking, kayaking, and tent camping, the right gear is very important. When preparing for these outdoor excursions a quick trip to Target isn’t going to cut it. Sure, they can get some basics, but they’ll want to seek out a shop that exclusively sells outdoor apparel and equipment for the backcountry. For comfort and safety, the serious outdoors person would go for the store that specializes in exactly what they need. 

Catering to Your Needs  

Let’s say you are a vegetarian. You can usually find something to eat at any typical restaurant. It just takes a little effort to read through the ingredients to find the dish that is right for you. Imagine though, if all the menu items were suited to your preferences? At a restaurant specializing in vegetarian cuisine, a vegetarian would have a variety of options to choose from. Along with that, diners can feel confident that they have the expertise of kitchen staff that understands the requirements of the meal preparations.  

An Expert’s Opinion

The medical and legal fields both have a wide range of specialties. Knowing this, you wouldn’t have a patent lawyer handle your divorce, and you wouldn’t have a dermatologist remove your appendix. Both could probably pull it off in a pinch, but would you take that risk? Undoubtedly, your health and personal security are both areas where finding the right professional for the job is essential.

Specializing matters - Part One, Specializing Matters – Part One, Zookbinders
You can find flowers at any garden center or grocery store, but couples will seek out a florist who specializes in putting together their wedding bouquets and arrangements.

Positioning your business.

Getting any new clients means new income. If someone inquires about a service, you’ll want to book them. You’ve gotta earn a living right? However, you might ask yourself if the wide net you’re casting as a “jack of all trades” is preventing you from getting hired, or getting hired for what you are worth.  

Potential photography clients are searching for everything from wedding photography to personal branding, and babies to corporate work. Each consumer may have a different concept of what they’ll invest and what your services are worth. In many cases, inquiries to generalists are price sensitive. They are asking who out there can do the job, and who can do it for less. 

On the other hand, when people are searching for a specialist, a master, an expert, an artist, they are looking for the assurance of quality, knowledge, and experience. They’ll also be prepared to invest and allow the professional to take the lead on recommendations and purchases like flush mount professional wedding albums and finished prints.

Specializing matters - Part One, Specializing Matters – Part One, Zookbinders
Customers want the expertise of a specialist when it comes to selecting the details of their unique wedding album, like this dual splash cameo cover with custom text from Zookbinders.

What you see is what you get. 

A couple is searching for wedding photography services. Let’s look at these two scenarios. 

They come across a website that shows a plethora of subject matter with tons of great imagery. There is not a lot of copy and a generic about page. There’s no mention of collections or wedding albums, just a lot of pretty pictures. 

Next, they come across a website with a curated collection of stunning wedding images. The “About Page” introduces the photography team, with photos. There is a copy explaining the dedication, experience, and mission of the company. In addition, there are great images of premium professional wedding albums and contemporary wedding album designs on the site. There is a starting price point listed that isn’t shy about where the budget needs to be to hire. All these details illustrate the full-service experience that the client will receive. 

It’s true that budget-conscious people may feel faint if they see a price point that “surprises” them. They may be saying something derogatory like,  “That’s just ridiculous – it’s just photography!” And, that’s okay. Imagine how great it feels not to work with that person. You’ve just dodged a bullet. 

Someone who values photography and wants a high level of service and professionalism at one of the most important days of their lives will want to make the investment with the specialist. 

Specializing matters because it can elevate your business. It can create desirability and weed out bargain hunters. For the part-time business owners, it could shift your business into full-time. If you are a solopreneur it may lead you to develop a team. If you are finding yourself struggling with “giving up” on the variety, look for the next, Specializing Matters – Part Two blog!

Maureen Miller CPP

Maureen Miller CPP

Contributor to Marketing & Client Experience at Zookbinders. Professional photographer for 25+ years. An advocate for making money and doing what you love. My motto, ”Photography is a BIG DEAL!”

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