Photographer’s Corner: Working in Multiple Markets

January 5th, 2015
photographer's corner photos of professional photographer

With so many photography genres out there, sometimes it’s hard to pick just one. We interviewed three professional photographers who have added multiple genres to their resume and learned why they chose to forgo specializing.  

professional photo of golden gate bridge

Where in the world do you work?

For events, I mainly shoot in the San Francisco Bay Area since it’s close to home, but this year I have also photographed in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Costa Rica, Seoul…

photo of Eiffel Tower through cracked glass

Why shoot different genres?

I just love the challenge of photographing something new. I am so ADD that shooting the same type of subject all the time bores me.

Do you have a favorite genre or location?

The most exciting job for me is when I photograph the Olympics for Team USA. The energy is so electric, the subject matter is cool, and the pace is nuts. I love that!

Contract photo of bobsled on course

How do you advertise?

I am really lucky in that I don’t have to advertise much. I rely mostly on word of mouth and my website to get my work. The website is so important to me, since this reflects who I am, what I photograph, and it represents my brand.

What is the most rewarding part of running a split business?

Having the ability to capture history in so many different ways. My blog has a really strong following now, and I love sharing my experiences with everyone.

professional photo of wedding party

What’s next for you?

So many people have asked me to teach workshops—I hope to announce a partnership with a photo tour company in the next couple of weeks.

ginny dixon professional photo of forest

Where in the world do you work?

Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Georgia, North Carolina, NYC, Costa Rica, Ireland, Barcelona, London and Paris.

Why work in different genres?

I think it’s because of my background in newspaper photography. We got to shoot everything: sports, food, portraits, news and a lot of features. I liked that you never really knew what you’d be shooting. It made it more challenging.

lake photo at sunset of person running in hamster ball

What are your favorite places to shoot?

Ireland and the Northern Coast of California are still, to me, some of the most beautiful places. The Irish people are so welcoming and friendly.

How did you start working in multiple genres?

When I moved back to Florida from California I really wanted to try something different. Through a chance meeting at a seminar I got involved with golf, of all things. So I started shooting a lot of golf, and from there started shooting a lot of resorts all over the country and then in Ireland and several other places around the world. Simultaneously, I started teaching at an advertising school in South Beach, which kind of launched my work in advertising. When 9/11 happened, travel came to a screeching halt, and so I went back to shooting newspaper stuff again.

That’s how I ended up having clients from all kinds of genres. If you keep those relationships alive, then as people move from different jobs, they usually keep calling you. That’s why networking and keeping your working relationships in good order always amounts to about half of the business you get and keep.

Anything you might add to your list in the future?

I’m more and more interested in video—short films—and I’ve always loved documentary photography the best.

What’s your consensus on working in multiple genres?

I think it’s all visual storytelling, really. No matter what you are shooting, you’re telling a story with an image or images. If it’s advertising, portraits, travel—you’re telling stories with pictures. To me it’s that at the core.

What’s next for you?

I’ve gotten very much into teaching and charitable work. I have always donated a lot of my photography, but I have one charity I’ve been working with for a few years now called The Raw Beauty Project. Recently, we teamed up with The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and have been spreading the project to major cities.

movie set photo shoot

Where in the world do you work?

Portraits have taken me to New York, Chicago, Orland and Toronto. Weddings have taken me to Boston, Portland, Albuquerque and Belize.

What do you shoot primarily?

The majority of my work is portraiture. I shoot all kinds of personalities from celebrities, to professionals, to actors and musicians and other creative types. I also shoot around 8-12 weddings a year.

pee wee herman breaking through paper wall

Why shoot different genres?

Fear of commitment, maybe? Honestly, I thrive on the variety and find inspiration going back and forth between intimate portrait sessions and the celebration of a wedding.

Favorite shoot destination?

For weddings, my favorite location that I’ve shot at so far was at a Mayan temple in Belize—pretty spectacular. For portraits, my favorite studio is Madera Design House in downtown Los Angeles.

professional online photo gallery

How do your clients differ in each genre?

My portrait clients are mostly using my photos to promote themselves or their business. They are coming to me to help convey a message of who they are and how they want you to feel about them (love them, respect them, trust them).

My wedding clients want photos that tell the story of the day they celebrated their love for one another and celebrated with all of their family and friends. At the end of the day, all my clients want are photos that capture their personality in an eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing way.

Would you recommend young photographers choose one market and stick to it, then expand into to others, or try doing more right off the bat?

Do what works best for you. I’ve done well for myself with the help of a loyal client base who send me to their friends and peers. I am focused more on portrait business, which means I’m not shooting as many weddings as I could be, but that’s the way I like it. Build a business model that works for you.

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