We are in challenging times now that the COVID-19 is impacting every business in the world. Small players and creative independents like me are having a hard time and are probably out of gigs at the moment. In times like this, I reflect on the path I took when I first started and how I achieved what I now have in my hands. One of the things that made a massive difference to me was clearly defining the target audience for my photography business.

Let me tell you my story in easy-to-digest steps that hopefully will help you and your business better understand how important defining a target audience is for the success of your creative venture.

When I started my professional photography adventure, I was all over the place with no clear goals. I had no business plan or financial projections, I didn’t have a business coach and certainly didn’t have time or money to waste. I had taken a couple of business classes back at the university and had some ideas of what being an entrepreneur was. Instead of worrying about what I didn’t know, I started taking action with what I had and tried learning as I moved forward.

A no-strategy is limiting you

A no-strategy strategy has many disadvantages and can only help so much. One of the drawbacks, in this case, was not having a clear target audience for my photography business. In the beginning, I was lost and didn’t know who my target audience was, so I was aiming at everything: weddings, parties, products, family reportages, events, cocktail parties, EU conferences, portraits, fashion. You name it. I was all over the place. I was lost and didn’t know what I wanted.

For a while, I thought I was doing the right thing by putting my efforts a little bit here and there to increase my network, gain experience, and improve my portfolio. I did get all of that, and it was okay. But because I was so scattered, I was also losing time, effort, and energy that I could have used more wisely, especially in the beginning when times are more challenging and you have little margin of error.

Because I didn’t know what I wanted with my photography, it wasn’t straightforward for me to understand where I was going. For about three years, I just went with the flow and got random gigs to make ends meet. My online portfolio was scattered and unclear; no wonder I was attracting all sorts of “opportunities.”

Who is your target audience?

One day my now wife asked me the question that changed it all: “Who is your target audience?” and I didn’t know what to reply to that. She pointed out that my website was messy and unclear, and that by doing the exercise of defining my target audience, I would be able to get more of what I wanted, and less of what I didn’t. 

This question changed it all, and I began a process of analysis to understand what I wanted to do more in terms of photography shootings, and who my ideal client was. I started analyzing which type of photo shootings I enjoyed the most and which I wanted to pursue and improve further. The clouded vision began to clear up, and I started feeling joy and excitement about this new approach. On a practical matter, I started decluttering and cleansing of my photography business portfolio and aligned it with my new target audience.

A slow but steady path to success

The results were massive, and in little time I started attracting the right audience to my business. More and more people started contacting me about the type of shootings I wanted to do, which was event photography. Because of defining my target audience, I started expanding my network in the right way, and I began improving my portfolio and skills in event photography. As a consequence, I started enjoying my professional business way more than before as I don’t need to lose time chasing opportunities, but only the right ones.

Now, it is evident what I do as a professional photographer, and I have a clear target audience. I have refined my skills to provide a more professional and tailored service to my customers because I have worked with dozens of them. I understand their needs and seek to be their partner of trust, bringing value to their businesses with my professional photography services. 

Having a target audience is beneficial and crucial to my business and my customer’s business as well. Without a doubt, defining my audience was one of the best moves I have done to improve my photography business.

Final thoughts

I encourage all of you business owners to have a clear target audience since the beginning, if possible. If, for whatever reason, a target audience is not evident to you, then go with the flow and refine as you go. Also, be open to the possibility of changing your target audience, as we face challenging times ahead, we need to be resilient and adapt to changing environments to keep our business afloat.

I hope you find value in this article from my own experience, and that you can improve your business because of it. Do you have any advice or personal experience relating to having a target audience? Let me know on the comments below. I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for your time.

Video on YouTube available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9pXkE3FZXs

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