Are You a Specialist or a Generalist?

Photo by Wedding Photographer Mike Larson

Are you a Specialist or Generalist? Today we’ll talk about what this means, why it matters & how to figure out which category you belong in. Specialization and generalization are two totally different approaches to doing business. Business owners tend to adopt a bit of both practices, but doing so actually ends up hurting their business.  I’ll admit that over the years I’ve done my share of this as well. That’s why I want to start this dialogue and share some of what I’ve learned about making intentional choices and clearly developing a purpose for a photography business.

Are you a Generalist? A generalist is a person (or business) whose skills, interests, and/or habits are evenly distributed and unspecialized.

A generalist has NOT chosen a single category or niche to operate their business within, but instead does a bit of everything. There are a lot of these businesses in the photography industry.

Wedding Photography …

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Character Marketing: Why do your clients hire you?

character marketing for photographers

Why do clients hire you? Think about it for a minute.

Over the past 13 years as a photographer/entrepreneur, I’ve realized that the reason people hired me was not always what I assumed it was, especially in the beginning years of building my business and reputation. I would have liked to think that people hired me because they had to have me as their photographer. Looking back over my first few years though, I realized that many of the people who hired me did so not because of who I was, or what I did, but for some other lesser reason. They might have hired me because I was the most economical, because I sold them on me, because I had a show special, or because I was one of the few available for their date.  Certainly not reasons I would want to brand myself on. As far as positioning myself …

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Do You Have Style Integrity?

on location engagement shoot by photographer mike larson

Take a look at most of the big companies, and they have a Graphic Standards Manual containing guidelines for the proper use of their identity, logo, and style of marketing. It describes authorized usage for communication of all kinds, with consistency and with purpose. You would never see the Nike swoosh above the Nike text part of the logo, as it always is placed below the text. You would never see more than one Apple logo on the same product, and there is an order to which the style, size, colors and organization of everything is used. Every company has what is called a standards manual, where the designers of the logo give parameters for the color, logo, size and the details for every possible variation. More often than not, this is very specific, and does not allow for use beyond that which the designers designed. …

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Mastering Reception Lighting, Forever.

Reception Off Camera Lighting - Photographer Mike Larson

I’ve had this problem for years when it comes to an entire wedding collection I would post on my website.  Great getting ready, great portraits, beautiful ceremony, and the light is sweet, then we grab the stellar sunset shots and then the reception hits and I’m left with horrible lighting when the DJ turns the lights down low.  I was never really happy & satisfied with the quality of the light on the images with my on camera flash and therefore I just hated to use the images.  So my slideshows stopped with the first dance.  As the years went by I got on camera flash down, but off camera flash was always touch and go.  I could get some of the shots to turn out great, but when the action kept moving and people got in the way of the flash units, things just didn’t come out consistent enough.

That …

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Preparing Yourself and Your Clients for a Styled Shoot

This is a topic I had wrestled with for years, how do I get my current shoots to attract the type of clients that I want in the future? How do I give my shoots the edge and style that I want to portray to future clients? I eventually learned that a photographer really needs to be a leader to make this happen. We do not necessarily have to do everything ourselves, but instead we can source help and lead them and our clients toward the common vision.

Here are four basic steps to help you style your shoots & clients:

Step 1. Know what you want. Pick out some samples of work from different photographers or from ads you’ve seen that inspire you, then you can put together some ideas to springboard from. Jose Villa is one photographer that really inspires me & I love his work. I …

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