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The Business of Photography – Finding My Place

Trying to be a successful photographer is becoming harder and harder.  Photography is so much accessible these days and so many people are doing their own, that for someone to try making it as a photographer means something completely different.  So I have to work out where I fit into all this.  Is there a place for my photography and if there is how do I find the people who want it?

An Image that has been posted before.

An Image that has been posted before.

These aren’t new questions, I’ve asked them before. but as I put myself and my work out there, I am finding that the world is not quite as I thought,  and there seems to be a change in the way photographers work.  The word “niche” seems to come out a lot.  Once upon a time if you wanted to be a photographer then you did as much as you could, now, it seems you will never find success if you do that.  Today I am being told that if I want to be a successful photographer then I have to find a niche market and I need to specialise.

So what would my niche market be?  I thought it would be the portraits, and it is something that I really want to pursue, but I am finding that I am getting inquiries about my Architectural Photography, so should that be my niche market?  You get how confusing it can be.

leannecole-dca-5105-2Then this morning I went to a networking breakfast.  I have been trying lots of different workshops and trying to find ways to help me work out how to market myself.  So this morning I went to a networking breakfast held by the local chapter of BNI.  Someone at a marketing workshop said they were good, so I thought, okay, I will go.  I don’t know what I expected, but what happened was not what I expected to happen.  It wasn’t bad, it seemed like a very supportive environment, they help to refer people to your business and you do the same for them.  It seemed rather unique, though I know it isn’t, there are chapters for BNI all over the world.

As I was driving there, I wondered whether my Fine Art Portrait business would fit into this environment, and after being there a short time, I realised that they would not be able to help me in that respect, but perhaps, my Architectural Photography would be more suited.  So after they all talked about the referrals they would like to get, all the newbies, that was me, was asked to talk about what our businesses were and what work we were looking for.  I stood up and talked about my Architectural stuff.

This also came on top of me doing work for the Inverleigh Hotel where they wanted me to take photos of the building, inside and out.  I was approached by a Real Estate Firm inquiring about my rates for some photos they were interested in.  So I have to ask myself if I am going to have two niche markets?  Is there anything wrong with that?  Can I be a Fine Art Portrait Photographer, and a Fine Art Architectural Photographer?  I would like to do both.

Then there is the stuff I just want to do for fun.

One of the images to be framed and hung at Barwon Orange in Barwon Heads

One of the images to be framed and hung at Barwon Orange in Barwon Heads

The BNI was interesting, but it comes with a very heavy membership fee.  I need to do some research as to whether or not it is worth it.  There is so much information on the internet, that has a heap of people saying it is a scam, then there are also people saying it isn’t and that you get so much work from it.  That the networking is invaluable.  Right now it is right out of my price range, and even if I wanted to join, I couldn’t, I don’t have the kind of money they are asking for.  It is an interesting idea, and I will have to investigate it further.

Sorry long post, but I wanted to talk some stuff out with you.  I hope you don’t mind.

257 Comments
  1. I like the stuff you do for fun. Rustic.

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you, I like it too.

      September 26, 2013
  2. Leanne I love your blog. You are very talented. Of course you can do both. As a Aussie Fine Art Photographer sitting in Kuwait, where barriers to change and nepotism is rife, I am facing the same dilemma. I guess you go where the professional journey takes you and then do what you love for yourself. Good luck.

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you Tania. Wow, Kuwait, I imagine that would be hard, and I can also imagine how hard it must be, especially in a place like that for a woman. I think I will do that, just try doing both and see where the journey takes me. I might have to get two different types of business cards. thanks again, and good luck to you as well.

      September 26, 2013
  3. Doing both Architectural and Portrait photography… Why not? Take music…. some music producers will often do more than one genre. While some, specialize in specific areas. I hope you can find a way to do both. Because you’re good at both. 🙂

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you LBT, I do too, I enjoy both, though I find the portraits more creative in some ways. I do like architecture and find unique ways to photograph it. Will have to see where I end up.

      September 26, 2013
  4. why not? As long as you can be responsible to both. I think you might want to create two separate identities for each niche to show that you are serious. Overhere where I live, generally, it has never been about how good you are in a certain niche… no we don’t work that way. It’s about how you can infuse to the network of people around you that you are the can do man/woman.

    here, sometimes, a photographer (or anyone with a camera) who is already a jack of all trade expands to the realm of videography, make up, even costumes, employing others, creating packages. Most of the times a wedding organizer might double as a photographer…

    for some of us, it’s just business for money. On the field, the pragmatists win. And there are so many adjustments that we might have to do to cater to the business side, that everything would seems to be draggingly automated and passionless.

    The thought that you might want to separate some of your photography for personal fun is solid.

    I believe there are still exist “free” networks, it’s just everything seems to be comodified these days. Good luck.

    September 26, 2013
    • A lot of what you are saying is also true here. The marketing workshops I have been to say you should try and do a niche market, that way you can become known for that. I don’t know yet. I know there are things that I am good at, and things I don’t like.
      I am thinking the same about the networking, it does seem a lot of money to charge for it. Thanks for your thoughts.

      September 26, 2013
  5. I read you loud and clear with that problem shared.

    September 26, 2013
    • Common problem I suspect.

      September 26, 2013
  6. Johann Briffa #

    Why not both? If you’re doing this as your primary income, then you specialise in whatever you find the market for (and are good at, of course). If/when you get to a point where you need to refuse clients then you specialise further. Just my 2c of course.

    September 26, 2013
    • That is the way I am thinking too, if I am prepared to do both then see which one pays off, that should be interesting. Thank you Johann.

      September 26, 2013
      • Johann Briffa #

        I’m sure it will! Best of luck!

        September 26, 2013
      • Thank you so much Johann.

        September 26, 2013
  7. I don’t see why you cannot do both. Could you use slightly different logos to distinguish and create the impression of two areas of specialisation. That way people who see your architect stuff see you as a specialist in that area and likewise for portraits. Of course all would be under the banner of LCP. Ultimately one does have to pay for the bread to put onto the table…..

    Just my random thoughts (and all for free!). MM 🍀

    September 26, 2013
    • I am not sure about the differentiating them, I seem to be getting the architectural work from the blog, surprisingly. People see the work here and then contact me. That is nice. I like that saying, having to pay for the bread.
      I like your random thoughts and thanks for sharing them MM.

      September 26, 2013
  8. The last image for me is the strongest as it stands out as being different…

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you, the fun one, I do like those sorts of images, but I worry that they are just a current trend.

      September 26, 2013
  9. Do both, if that’s what you love. People will appreciate it even more. You are awesome either way. 🙂

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you, I like that idea, and I think it is something I am going to have to do, I love both. 🙂

      September 26, 2013
  10. Good morning Leanne.
    Interested top read your post about the BNI – we have similar networks here in the UK and I have attended a couple of these events myself and found overall that they don’t fit my business model. Lots of solicitors and accountants and “grey suits” selling me their services and all of them seemed impervious to my efforts to interest them in photography.
    Generally a bit dispiriting.
    As to your “niche” in photography I think you are doing exceptionally well and have developed a really clever aspect of your work. Your skills seem to lie in the post production of images and not so much in the capture. Which is absolutely fine. You have skills that can’t be replicated by simply going down to a camera store and buying a reasonable camera and calling yourself a “photographer”. Your work on images is very very clever and requires real learning and informed decision making> (I have seen many people try the same thing as you and end up with some awful photoshopped mish mash).
    Leanne you are really skilled and I think (tell me if I’m wrong) that when you start on an image you know where you are going with it from the start and are not happy to keep pressing buttons until something “comes out nice”!
    Fine Art Portraiture and Fine Art Architectural exist alongside each other ?
    Yes, why not – if what you are really marketing is your post shoot expertise.
    The Leanne Cole Look , which I am convinced is a very marketable product.
    If you are still concerned about having the two brands why not re-brand them:
    Cole Architecture, with a web site that reflects that brand and Leanne Cole Fine Art Portraits and create a web site and look that suits that product.
    I know you have the technical skills to split them apart and give them their own identity.

    But in my heart I feel that my first remark is better advice –
    The Leanne Cole Look, which you, and only you, can apply to ALL your photography, landscapes, architecture, portraits

    Good Luck

    September 26, 2013
    • Good evening David.
      Thanks for the information about BNI, I have wondered whether I would fit in there, I am concerned my market doesn’t really fit what any of them are doing.
      What an interesting idea, I hadn’t really thought of that, though I know I have gotten work because of my processing and people wanting me because they like the way I process images. So I guess you are right.
      I wish I did have an idea before I started. I usually know what I want to do, but I am always surprised at the finished image. I find if I have an idea of what I want then I get disappointed, I like to let the image evolve, so much more fun.
      I like the idea of the Leanne Cole Look, that is great David. I am not concerned about having the two brands, and at this stage I am happy to just go with the flow.
      Thank you so much for this David, great boost to the confidence.

      September 26, 2013
  11. Nothing wrong with having more than one niche, the question is do you try and keep them seperate under different businesses so to speak, or not. i do architectural shoots, book covers, personal art work, and maybe weddings in the future, some complement each other and some do not, so I plan to have different sub businesses to keep some subjects seperate and others together. i don’t know a lot about BNI but have heard about them, any organisation that requires high membership fees like this always make me wary.

    September 26, 2013
    • That is the question it seems, I don’t have a problem doing them under the same umbrella, they are all fine art and many artists specialise in more than one subject matter.
      I am wondering the same about BNI, I just can’t understand why you need to pay so much money, it is a lot of money. thanks Russ.

      September 26, 2013
  12. I love all of your photography!! Good luck with your business decisions!! I think where you live you have wonderful architecture! We don’t have such beautiful places here! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you Lisa, I am lucky with where I live when it comes to architecture, there is lots to check out and photograph.

      September 26, 2013
  13. I understand the dilemma; battled with it myself. But than every photographic (niche) market is a challenge so I grab (almost) everything which comes in my way. Recently I made several pictures for a new very upmarket restaurant and 8 of them are acquired in huge poster format for display in the restaurant. I never did food and kitchen photography before so I looked into what others are doing (and read about the in and outs of food photography) and decided to do it my own way and now a food magazine wants to have some of these as well (except that they don’t want to pay enough… 😉 ). A completely different market is that of NGO’s with projects in townships in South Africa. I made several pictures and film fragments of life of children in shacks and how they cope with lack of sanitation and electricity, etc. The NGO compiled all into a DVD which every visitor (mainly tourists from abroad) has to buy as part of a tour (visitors are not allowed to make pictures over there) in the township and the pre-primary school which was originally initiated by the parents but of which the fundraising is done by the NGO. As this NGO has our full support I decided not to ask money upfront but negotiated a small fee per sold DVD …. I prefer to get an income as art-photographer but galleries worldwide tend to stick to known names thus playing for safe. To break through as an art-photographer is something as finding the needle in a haystack… But whatever niche you try to specialize in; just try to put something of your own in; in fact that is all I’d like to advise you.. BTW; didn’t I mention you in the past to look into the real estate market and architects of even the local council … ?

    Greetings from a wonderful village in South Africa,
    Herman

    September 26, 2013
    • Thanks Herman, it is interesting trying to work it all out and negotiating it all. Sounds like you are having some luck coming your way, similar is happening here. I am finding that my blog is getting me work now, seems tagging is important.
      I have to admit, I will have a go at just about anything, but I love the portraits and architecture, and I think my blog is about those things more than anything else. Things have started happening and slowly I am getting contacted more and more, so I am pretty sure that success isn’t too far away.
      Thank you so much for all your insights Herman, they are appreciated.

      September 26, 2013
  14. I have been following your blog for quite some time. Love your architecture portraits. They inspire me to sketch buildings from different points of view. Plus those pics you have posted look like something i might find in interactive mystery crime-thriller video games. In my opinion I think it’s great to venture both or more avenues and not just focusing on one because a niche market demands it. After all, you will encounter other niche markets 😉

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you Jackie, that is an interesting point. I like your observations too, thank you, and that is so fantastic that you find my work inspirational, that is so good, thank you for that as well.

      September 26, 2013
  15. Your work is what defines you, be it what it may, yet there is a tinge of existential angst ultimately pursuing us constantly. You are good so no matter where you direct yourself you will succeed. I agree photography is a common place now a days, yet there are people like you, defining what is good photography

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you Javier, what a lovely thing to say, really. I think the advice I am getting from everyone is that I should do what I like doing, which means pursuing both. Thanks again.

      September 26, 2013
  16. Sorry to hear your struggle regarding what direction, I was talking to my son in law yesterday how hard it is for photographers.

    I’m not a professional just a passion for photography.

    I admire your work.

    I use to run a successful company from 1971 until 2004 when I sold it. I discoved very early follow your intuition, it won’t let you down.

    Business is about hardwork, meeting the right people and a bit of luck on the way and of course proving good service. Your works speeks for itself .

    I like the idea of workshops you spoke about before, I’m sure the hotel market can be good, have you thought of limited edition screen prints?

    I have been to BNI meetings before they are good for the service type industries as they tend to give each other work. Specialist work like yours I personally don’t think you will get a return on your investment.

    I wish you every success because you deserve it.

    September 26, 2013
    • It is very hard for photographers these days.
      Thank you Trevor.
      I like that, following my intuition, it is usually very good advice, and my intuition says to do both.
      Business is all that, I am told I am good with people, so I hope that helps too.
      I am still planning on the workshops. Screen printing is not something that people seem to do much of anymore.
      I am starting to think the same as you about the BNI, I am not sure that what I do would be very good for an organisation like that. I might try a couple of meetings and then see how I go.
      Thank you so much, that is so nice of you.

      September 26, 2013
  17. You CAN do both, because you have gotten very good at doing both, Leanne! Don’t let anyone tell you ‘how’ you have to be…just keep going at it!

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you, maybe I need to brand myself as Leanne Cole, Fine Art Photographer. I do love doing both, having heaps of fun with the photos I took of the hotel a couple of days ago. I will keep doing it, thanks.

      September 26, 2013
      • Adding the ‘Fine Art’ is a must, Leanne!

        October 2, 2013
      • I spoke to a women at a business advisory place and she said the same thing, seems important to separate myself like that.

        October 2, 2013
      • It’s something so very important, distinguishing yourself from the rest of the ‘hoi polloi’ who call themselves ‘photographers’, when they really have no talent for composition, tweaking, and going that extra mile!

        October 2, 2013
      • I agree, there are so many out there like that now.

        October 2, 2013
      • In what little ‘play’ time I’ve had, I’ve been doing some very different stuff, with many, many layers…which is fun, because one layer seems to prod me on to add another and another, etc.

        October 5, 2013
      • I love, love, love layers, they are the best, I end up with so many in my images. I totally understand how much fun you are having.

        October 5, 2013
      • So many people I know don’t understand how working in multiple layers can be considered ‘fun’, Leanne. They have an idea that it is tedious, and there’s nothing special about it…then they look at the final product in awe, wishing they could do the same…but I guess they’re just too lazy! I find it very exciting, and though I may sometimes take an image a bit ‘too far’, I always have the original to go back to, to do another version.

        Kind of like a classical composer, writing ‘variations on a theme’.

        October 7, 2013
      • I think also some people don’t do it because they can’t get their head around doing layers, how they work. I think the same, they are fantastic and you can do some really cool things with them. The other good thing is if you go to far then you can go back and delete a layer. I am watching something now that is talking about layers.
        Yes, very much like that. 🙂

        October 8, 2013
      • YES! And occasionally when you delete a middle layer, some wonderful ‘new’ effect comes about! Perhaps those who don’t ‘play’ as we do are really fearful of mistakes…but we know they can be done away with with just a click or two!

        October 11, 2013
      • You just never know what is going to work or what effect you will get.

        October 11, 2013
      • It all becomes so mysterious, Leanne, yet so very satisfying, doesn’t it?

        October 12, 2013
      • Yes, I know just what you mean.

        October 13, 2013
      • 😉 !!!

        October 19, 2013
  18. Keep doing both architectural and portrait photography, you’re very talented at both. I work with pinhole and digital cameras and enjoy the variety of images produced and the challenges faced. Some people find themselves a niche, which can work very well, but for others this can feel restrictive.

    September 26, 2013
    • It is funny, well sort of, I decided ages ago that I wanted to do portrait because I didn’t think I would get anywhere with architectural photography, and now I am getting asked to take architectural images, I think I can be impatient, but things are starting to happen now, so fingers crossed more work comes in. Thank you Simon.

      September 26, 2013
  19. In Greece, most photographers do a little bit of everything. There was the mindset that why not do everything so you can get more money? The result of that is that many professional photographers aren’t really good at anything. Only a few stick to a kind or two and try to be the best at what they do. Unfortunately there is a very limited market here. You cannot make any money out of landscape photography which is what i like the most. And then sports photography is also a very closed market. The only thing that brings money is wedding photography, which is something i don’t like and i know i’ll never be good at. So i’m thinking of moving to Austria, there are still more options there.

    September 26, 2013
    • I think you will find that you can’t make money from landscape photography anywhere, the biggest problem is that people think they can take the photos themselves, some can, most can’t. They don’t understand how hard it really is. Sports photography is the same here, very hard to break into it, in Australia, the market is too small. Part of the reason for specialising is so you aren’t competing with everyone else, you offer something different. I don’t really want to do weddings, though, having said that, I am doing a wedding in a couple of weeks, I will be some fine art images for them, so that should be good. Good luck with what you do, hope you have better luck than you are now. Thanks

      September 26, 2013
  20. Very nice to read someone in the same position as me! I am a photographer, fine artists, painting, teacher, I don’t want to pick one thing, but I feel that unless I specialise, or get a niche, I will not get anywhere. But, what makes me a good art and Design teacher is that I practise so many different areas. What to do ?!?!
    I look forward to reading how you progress and thanks again for sharing!

    September 26, 2013
    • I think you can practice in different areas, but you will find that there is one you specialise in one more than others. I do lots of different types, but I know my passion is with the portraits and architecture. There is a theory that if you do go the niche way, then you are separating yourself from everyone else. Time will tell if it works. Good luck with your practise and I will keep everyone updated with how I am going. Thank you.

      September 26, 2013
  21. This kind of photography will always be sought by advertisers, for example. This is not run of the mill. Relax and enjoy your commanding performance.

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you Mario, it would be good if it was, it is how to get their attention, though I am getting better at marketing, still a long way to go.

      September 26, 2013
  22. Oh, and if it is photography you love to do, do it and if you aren’t making enough money, get another job to supplement your income. Your life is about taking pictures. Enjoy it! Love it! Keep doing it! That’s the way it is.

    September 26, 2013
    • I do want to do photography, but I don’t want to get the other job, hoping to avoid that, luckily I don’t have to make a lot. My life is that for sure. Thank you so much Mario.

      September 26, 2013
      • I know, one job is plenty.

        September 27, 2013
      • So very true, I worry that if I start doing something else, it will take all my energy.

        September 27, 2013
      • It may, but as a publisher told me, the misery I have with my normal job gives me the fire to create.

        September 27, 2013
      • Perhaps, I suspect I would be too tired and wouldn’t get as much done, but hey that is me, I am basically a lazy person.

        September 27, 2013
      • You don’t have to worry about life. It will come and get you.

        September 27, 2013
      • Now that would be wonderful, thank you.

        September 27, 2013
      • Well, that’s not exactly what I meant.

        September 27, 2013
      • What did you mean.

        September 27, 2013
      • Well, you said you were being lazy, and I said lazy or not life makes you not lazy. You cannot escape its series of lessons, one after the other. You’ll know what I mean.

        September 27, 2013
      • Yes, that is very true, if you want to succeed you can’t be lazy, I am finding that now.

        September 28, 2013
      • 🙂

        September 28, 2013
  23. Why not do both – or all of it?!
    What I find a ‘shame/pity’ (sorry can’t quite get the right word!) in all of this is that it seems that you are trying to force your passion for photography into little boxes in order to sell it. Of course, how many of us wouldn’t want to make living from what we love doing?! I would rather keep doing what I love and if I’m lucky enough to make some money – great! But to limit/constrain or frustrate myself for financial gain – no thanks! I guess it comes down to some pretty basic choices in life …..

    September 26, 2013
    • That is what I am thinking Noeline. Why not?
      Hey do you want to be on my Monday post, the introductions.
      I can see the sense in specialising, if you can find that niche market you can get more money and get better known, I like that. Though, I want to keep doing what I love and maybe that is just the niche market anyway. I want to do certain things, but there are things I don’t want to do and want do, no matter how much money I am offered. It does come down to basic choices, thanks Noeline.

      September 26, 2013
      • It would be great to feature in one of your Monday posts – thanks for the offer! What next? I guess you get in touch when you’re ready?

        I get the impression that of all the things you do, your portraits are closest to your heart and you certainly have a niche market. I think the best way of getting those noticed would be to win a competition or two (easier said than done!) and through the best social network of all – personal recommendation. Sadly, it all takes time!
        I certainly don’t think you have to limit yourself to one thing though – far from it! I guess the only thing is that, for a professional appearance, you need to have quite separate identities for each aspect. But above all be true to yourself and do what gladdens your heart – in the end it’s the best satisfaction!

        September 26, 2013
      • I will send you an email Noeline.
        I love the portraits, and love seeing what I can do, they are fairly new to me, so I am happy to keep trying, I’ve had a couple of clients already, that has been great. I do love the architecture as well, so I would like to see if I can do both. It does take time, and I need to learn how to be patient. A few people have suggested that I market myself as a fine art photographer, that does portrait and architecture, I have to admit I like that idea. Thank you so much Noeline.

        September 26, 2013
  24. I definitely think both… One can be your bread and butter, e other explores your artistic and creative side more. You probably need to market them both differently, so two different websites, or two distinct parts of your websites need to be made, but I’m sure there is a market for both 🙂 good luck!! Xxx

    September 26, 2013
    • I want to do my thing, and there is some good sense in a niche market, but I want to do both, so that is what I think I will do. I am going to see how it all goes Barbara, but I believe too that there is a market for both, just need to find them, thank you.

      September 26, 2013
  25. If people are asking for something you like and can live with that pays the bills and buys the new gear, go for it. That doesn’t mean you can’t shoot what you love as well whether or not a market develops for that

    September 26, 2013
    • That is great advice Robert, and so very true. Thank you for that.

      September 26, 2013
  26. Skye #

    I am new to your blog, but I truly feel that if anyone can do both, it would be you!

    September 26, 2013
    • What a lovely thing to say Skye, thank you so much.

      September 26, 2013
  27. You probably could have guessed that I would read this post. Nice of you to share this side of the biz with your community here. I am right there with you on your comments and queries regarding the “niche” aspect and the BNI membership. I don’t see anything wrong with having a few niches, as long as you are focused on each and can maintain them. As for the fee for the group, I would be very curious to see where the money goes.
    PS, sorry, this week has been crazy, but will get to your email soon.

    September 26, 2013
    • I like sharing this kind of stuff, it is great to hear what others suggest and I get lots of advice from people. That is always great. I think having a couple of niches is good too, and I hope I can maintain them, I might have to pick one over the other though. Time will see. I am not sure about the group thing either, my first thought was why was it so expensive and what is the money used for, or who gets it. I will have to do some more research. Thanks

      September 26, 2013
      • Yes, exactly. Who or where does the money go??? As you say, your niche (s) will form on their own…..

        September 27, 2013
      • It is just so much money, and I just can’t see how spending that much gets me anything, I like networking, but do I have to pay so much to do it. I hope so.
        Sorry I have responded to your email, I got read and thought about it, but this week has been crazy, so will try and get to it today. I am seeing the business advisory person on Tuesday.

        September 28, 2013
      • You never need to worry about responding in a timely manner. We are all busy. Not to beat a dead horse, but I was invited to one of these networking groups by a friend and it cost $95 US at the time. It folded before I could join, But I never found out where the money went. I also asked myself, why aren’t I getting the $95. It seems like I’m paying everyone else lately, but very few are paying me…ok rant over.

        I def want to hear about you meeting on Tues. I hope you will share some of it. Have a great weekend…..

        September 28, 2013
      • Thank you, it can be so hard, I am so far behind in looking at blogs, that everyone just gets a like these days. It is nice to be busy, but some parts are disappointing. That sucks big time, the $95, was it meant to be for one meeting? I don’t understand why you need to pay money for these things, what is the money used for and why can’t you network without having to pay money. If this BNI was about a quarter of the price, you know to cover some costings, I could understand, but it is almost $900 a year, I don’t understand why. I know what you mean about money being paid out all the time, doesn’t seem to stop sometimes.
        I will let you know about the meeting, it should be interesting.

        September 29, 2013
      • I am with you on all of this. $900 is a ton to pay. You have a right to ask where the $$ is going and what you get for it. Thanks so much for letting me know what happens.

        I believe the $95 for my group, which never happened, was a yearly fee.

        September 30, 2013
      • I don’t seem to be able to find out where that money will go. From what I can gather it is a major scam and seems unbelievable, not at all what I thought it would be. They are all suits in my chapter, so I don’t see how I would get any benefit from it, not at all. I couldn’t afford it, even if I thought it was any good.

        September 30, 2013
      • Well I do have very good intuition and based on all of what you have said about it, I do not believe it is for you. In fact, I look for little extras or small customer service attempts when dealing with these sorts of things. For example, did the head of the chapter or anyone else call you or email you to thank you for coming? Was there any follow-up on their end? Did you feel they really cared about you or your business? Did they give you any tips already that you could use? If so, that would go a long way for me.

        September 30, 2013
      • The reality of BNI for me is that regardless of whether I think it is for me or not, I don’t have the money to pay for it. I am starting to earn money from my photography, but not as much as that. I have had one follow up and someone has emailed me to say that are going to call me. So will see what happens. They did offer me one month free, to see how it goes, and I have thought about doing that, see if I get any work from it. I just don’t know there is a place there for me. Whether my photography is really something that fits into that. I suspect you are right, though.

        October 1, 2013
  28. great insight , I guess it’s hard with photography being so accessible , but there is still a very high appreciation for artistic skill, which you have , I say keep going with fine art ,, do what u have to in the meantime . I too found it hard to break into the scene as a photographer , so many ladders / obsticales to climb , so I begun running digital photography / photoshop workshops at local community houses …. there is a need for a huge amount of people to understand the technology … more than what I expected , I guess I landed on a ‘ niche here … I am evidence of producing great results – far beyond what I imagined .. by taking risks ..!! it’s worth it ..

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you, I think you are right, and I will keep going with the photography. I have also been teaching at a local community centre, I love doing that as well, and I want to start running my own workshops, and hopefully the first one will happen in January February next year.

      September 26, 2013
      • yes yes yes!! there is certainly a demand that is for sure !! I’m sure you will be successful! My sets of workshops started as an idea, and I have managed to manifest far beyond my expectations , and wow, what I have done for participants ~ really something else .. awakening them to their artistic self , you will be appreciated !!

        September 28, 2013
      • That is my goal too, would be great to get a following that I could do workshops in places all over the world, I could handle that. Thank you so much.

        September 28, 2013
      • for sure!! my personal attitude is … ‘I want to live an extra-ordinary life .. and have an extraordinary job..’ seems to be working so far , all due to support of community houses , and my enthusiasm towards teaching people photography . ~ I guess to , once you develop your style, you don’t want to give away all your secrets , just enough to get them interested, and practical actives ~ ‘Ah , I understand now’ …!!! Go For IT ~!!

        September 28, 2013
      • I love, love your personal attitude, can I adopt it? I totally agree, give away some stuff, I teach photography, but teaching my techniques for processing that is a different things, I never give away all the secrets, but am happy to give some away. I will go for it, you too.

        September 28, 2013
  29. Hi Leanne,

    I like the lighthouse picture. If you haven’t already joined LinkedIn might give you some useful contacts.

    September 26, 2013
    • That’s great Mike, thank you, I have joined Linkedin, but I am having a hard time working out the best way to use it.

      September 26, 2013
  30. Tough question! I come more from the marketing side of things, and must say that niche is the new mainstream now… customised is becoming the standard (however weird this may sound). Can’t say there is anything wrong with being good at two things though 😉 Maybe keep two business cards?

    September 26, 2013
    • Thanks Tina, it does seem to be the thing now, I have been told that doing that is good way to go, less competition, or something like that. I am thinking the two different ways could be good, I had thought of the two different cards too. Thanks again. Shame you aren’t around here, I would love some marketing advice.

      September 26, 2013
  31. Your niche (as far as I can see) is neither architecture or portraiture. It’s Fine Art. That gives you room for both.

    September 26, 2013
    • I like that Brian, someone else said something similar, thank you so much.

      September 26, 2013
  32. Yes you can be both a fine art photographer and an architecture photographer – it all fits in to doing good work with your own particular “spin” on it – people should be able to tell a Cole shot from most others (which I can do from the lead photo of most of your posts!) You are having the same issues as many graphic designers – people will settle for a sub-standard design done for $10 from their aunt’s best friends daughter who happens to have a computer as opposed to an effective quality design from someone who has both experience and education in art & design. Too bad we are in a world that only values “good enough…”

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you Robert, I still find it amazing that people can tell my work before they know it is me, makes my head spin. That is so true, good enough is killing the great work, will we become the generation of good enough, with nothing really outstanding because people don’t understand it. Great comment Robert.

      September 26, 2013
  33. Do what sells. If it succeeds it will free you up to do more of what you enjoy later. If both sell, problem solved. If one sells and the other doesn’t, choice made. If that is you need to be commercially successful. What business doesn’t? This is not a hobby amy more.

    September 26, 2013
    • I haven’t thought of my photography as a hobby for a long time, it is a business and I want to be successful at it. I have invested too much time and money into it. I like what you are saying Andrew, it makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much.

      September 26, 2013
  34. I Think that you have a eye and talent for many markets. You work is outstanding.

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you so much, what a lovely thing to say.

      September 26, 2013
  35. Keep doing both! You have a great style. I would think keeping them from overlapping is the key. But keep them separate from each other. I love shooting people, but I also love Nature and Landscapes. I just split up my website and created a new one with an alter ego name for the landscapes. I am hoping to avoid people getting confused about what I am trying to do. This way they will see only one or the other.

    September 26, 2013
    • How to keep them separate is going to be an issue and not something I have worked out yet. I will have to do something on my website I suppose. Thank you so much Phil.

      September 26, 2013
  36. I get how complicated this is. I have it too. My love is really for travel photography, but that isn’t really getting food on the table. Thus, I ventured into wedding. But a wise photographer once said that you should follow what you really love doing…be enthusiastic about it, and before you know it, the blessings will follow. 😉 Good luck! Hope you’ll figure this out. hehe

    September 26, 2013
    • I think your wise photographer gave you good advice. It is hard doing it, but we hope that our passion will bring those that love it to us. I agree, do things you love, and I do love what I am doing now. Thank you so much Florence and good luck to you too.

      September 26, 2013
  37. I’m right there with you on this one with trying to find where my photography fits; niches and all.

    September 26, 2013
    • It is a hard one to work out. Good luck to you and thank you.

      September 26, 2013
  38. Hi Leanne,

    I feel your pain, and confusion and lack of direction and everything else that goes along with creating a business identity. But, I agree with most of the people on here about being able to have multiple “niches.”

    I’m struggling with supporting myself as a freelancer in the U.S. and go back and forth on this subject all the time. Everything I’ve read and researched and gotten advice with has supported being able to have multiple identities as an artist. And by that I mean specializing in multiple areas.

    What I’m trying to do, and I think it is a good strategy, is to develop a brand (which you seem to have already) but have separate portfolios. I’ve seen many professional photographer websites with genre portfolios like food, lifestyle and fashion. Wonderful Machine (http://www.wonderfulmachine.com) has a listing of professional photographers they “represent.” Browse through some of these professional’s websites and you’ll find they have a style that is consistent throughout their work (mostly), but have separate portfolios on their websites. I don’t think you need two business cards. You are a photographer. Just say that and make sure you have a link to your website with a portrait portfolio and an architecture portfolio.

    As for networking … this socially anxious-photog still hasn’t found a solution 🙂

    Thanks just my two cents.

    September 26, 2013
    • Sorry for the long comment. I used to be a reporter. lol.

      September 26, 2013
      • Haha, not problem at all with that, it all made perfect sense and was very appreciated.

        September 26, 2013
    • Thank you Nichole,
      It is tough thing, working out which direction to go and where to go. I really love doing both architecture and portrait, and I think I will have to continue doing both. It seems to be the best solution. I know there are things I won’t do, but I love both of those so I want to keep doing them. I like the idea for the website and will take a good look at that link you sent me, thank you. I don’t really want to do two business cards, but I might have to find something that is in between both.
      Ah, yes, the networking, that is a different thing altogether, and marketing, such strange things.
      Love your two cents, thank you.

      September 26, 2013
  39. Leanne, I think as long as you are doing something you love to do, the rest will follow. Your passion will define your niche.

    September 26, 2013
    • What a wonderful idea Jessica, not the first time I have heard that, thank you so much.

      September 26, 2013
  40. Reblogged this on A Photographer's Journey.

    September 26, 2013
  41. Reblogged this on dm2photography and commented:
    Good Blog

    September 26, 2013
  42. I don’t have much to add – so many more knowledgeable people than I have given you lots of good advice – except to say that most artists have to do commercial work to support their art. The real estate photos (if it pays) can help, even if they’re not fulfilling from an art standpoint. That said, don’t you give up on the other – I would cry. 😀

    September 26, 2013
    • There have been some great comments and it has been wonderful hearing from everyone, that is true, artists generally do have to do something that will make money for them. I won’t give up on the other, I am assuming you mean the portraits, I love doing those, and I know there is a market there for them, so I will keep doing those. Thank you.

      September 27, 2013
  43. I share your frustration on TRYING to become a a successful fine art photographer. I have a niche, “equine”. But it is still hard. People rave about my work at my shows and sales are pretty good, better than others around me but actually making a profit is another matter.

    September 26, 2013
    • It is very hard, it is hard to work out how to market to them. Making a profit is the hard part. Good luck, and thank you Jo.

      September 27, 2013
  44. I hear what you are saying. I think about saving for a new computer with all the extras for one who loves photography and then I think about lots of lenses for the camera and then I remember to just take photos I enjoy, as trying to find something people can not live without, is hard out there. So I will practice and practice and hone my skills with a cheap camera and settle in with knowing I can always find beauty within my world and others may never see that in what I capture 🙂

    For me it is about personal growth now and always having fun, there is no fun in stress. 🙂

    September 26, 2013
    • It is different for different people. I don’t want this to be a hobby, I want to take photos for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to have to do something else to make money. I am an artist and this is what I do, so now I need to make it start paying for itself. well it has been doing that for a while now, but I need to get more from it than that. So it is now, for trying to work out what that best way is to do that. I agree about the fun and growth, that is part of the reason I think I want to do the niche market thing, I want to continue taking photos like I have been, but it would be good to get paid for them. So many interesting responses to this post, thank you so much Eunice, it is hard to know what to do. Go for the computer.

      September 27, 2013
      • THANKS!

        Yes you are wanting what I had as a trucker recognition for all your hard work and talent. At 50 they told me I would never drive a truck again so for 7 years now I have been trying to find out who I want to be when I grow up lol maybe that is the problem I do not want to 🙂

        September 27, 2013
      • You are welcome, it is hard when you need to try to find that identification. I know I am an artist, and my medium is most definitely photography. The biggest problem I have had has been my inability to recognise that I am any good at it, I find it strange when people say that I am good, it comes from being told that I was no good at anything my whole life.I am starting to think that maybe I can do this, and more importantly I want to do this, so I am going after it. Thanks for this.

        September 27, 2013
      • All the perfect reasons to push forward with your dreams 🙂 Leanne

        Someday I shall settle down for now I will do beading, polymer clay jewelry and try and capture a pretty picture 🙂 Maybe I shoot Shoot n Semi Trucks 🙂

        September 27, 2013
      • Yes, they are.
        I was doing similar a few years ago, some painting, printmaking, drawing, you name it I would get right into it. Then one day I realised that I just couldn’t do it all, that there came a point where I just had to stop and say, no, I am only going to do photography, and I haven’t really done any of the other stuff since then, it was a good decision and I don’t regret it all.

        September 28, 2013
      • You will be the first o know when I grow up and become something 🙂

        September 28, 2013
      • I look forward to it. 🙂

        September 28, 2013
      • Thanks!

        September 28, 2013
      • Doing a post on the fair we just attended such a gorgeous day 🙂

        September 28, 2013
      • Nice, it is a blowing like crazy here.

        September 28, 2013
      • Wow we have been so spoiled but soon we will pay big time so we are fully enjoying this stretch 🙂

        September 28, 2013
      • We are doing the same, but opposite weather, making the most of the cold weather before the heat sets in.

        September 28, 2013
  45. Hi Leanne – you are a very talented photographer. I think it’s more about marketing your talents in a few (maybe 2-4) specialized areas, creating portfolios that are structured for these niches and reaching broader than just the local market…my twopence

    September 26, 2013
    • Thank you so much, I think you are right, I do think marketing is the key, it is working out how to do that. I am going to have to start really pushing myself I think, and make myself go out and market. The days of running an ad in the paper are gone, people want a lot more now. Thanks for you twopence.

      September 27, 2013
  46. great post Leanne,
    good insights

    September 27, 2013
  47. Your architectural work is OUTSTANDING…really exceptional. It should definitely be one of your niches. Sometimes we have to pick one thing to concentrate on for a while and put another other love aside….then what we put aside is reawakened later. Take the opportunities as they come 🙂

    September 27, 2013
    • Thank you, that is sound advice, I do love the architectural photography, and would like to continue and after listening to so many people, I am realising that I do need to continue doing it. I think there is a market for it, I just have to find that market. I have some idea. I do love the portraits too, and want to continue doing those, they are so much fun. I will do that, thanks again. 🙂

      September 27, 2013
  48. I agree that you can do both. Specializing in Fine Art Architecture and Portraiture. One business card should be fine for both, I think. You could even have a double-sided biz card. I also agree that you have a unique post-production look that is very interesting. Good luck with all your adventures, I know it’s hard to make a good living income these days, and I wish you all the best. ~Tricia

    September 27, 2013
    • Thank you Tricia, the post processing is the thing that seems to be my thing and the thing that I have noticed that have got me jobs. I often hear people saying they want me because they like the way I process images. So that is probably the angle I need to be going for, that my images are uniquely mine. I am seeing a business advisory person on Tuesday, so I hope I can get some good ideas there. fingers crossed.

      September 27, 2013
  49. An innocents view.
    I’m not sure ‘niche’ is the answer, however, it’s important to develop a style. So when somebody looks at one of your pictures they say to themselves, I know whose that is. As I have yet to achieve a ‘style’ I can’t hope to suggest you achieve it.

    On the wider issue of market – perhaps instead of doing this or that or worrying about combining two or more areas of work, why not start a company? You could have department A doing Architecture, dept B doing portraits, dept C doing Corporate Identity, dept D doing Marketing. …. whose to say that the resource in photographers shouldn’t lie in one person?

    I think it’s a truism that says the easiest money to be made out of photography is through services to photographers. – in your case, that may be running courses on portraiture/architecture. (Whether you have the patience for that sort of thing is another thing).
    Good luck!

    September 27, 2013
    • I keep getting told to that I need to find a niche market, something you become known for, though I am thinking I can do it for both the portraits and architecture. Creating a style is interesting and often happens when people don’t have realise that they have it.
      Company are incredibly expensive to start in Australia, and they are a whole other thing, it doesn’t really work the same here, and small business is where all the support it, at least that is what I am finding. I think I can run a small business and do both types of photography, I am starting to see that that is the best way to do it.
      I like teaching and do that now, and will continue to do it. I am also thinking of running some of my own workshops, so that should be interesting. Thank you so much for all your thought Stephen, it has been fantastic to see what others think.

      September 27, 2013
  50. I love your photography and I love all the ways you took. From your portraits I love most Melissa’s portrait (http://leannecolephotography.com/2013/05/28/melissa/leannecole-scmelissa-1510-4/). I love the landscape photography and the Architectural Photography.
    I think you have a lot interests and this makes the choice difficult for what you do for fun. I have no idea what kind of nice still persists.
    Our music teacher told us that I loves stay with young people and he is lucky he can earn his money in this way. He was a composer as well and his works were really what he wanted to produce, but doesn’t bring him any money. If he would like to produce money he would have to produce what the other love.
    Other artists I know (a painter, a singers and a pianist) differentiate their activities: the main part of money is coming by giving courses and a smaller part from their art. Giving courses they inspire other people and in this way they see how people develop their interests and “grow”.

    I love your inspirations and I love you blog!

    September 27, 2013
    • Thank you, that is great to hear. I have lots of interests, in that I will try lots of things, but when I think of my photography and what I specialise in, it would be portraits and architectural photography.
      I have to agree with your music teacher, and I will do similar, I also teach and I love doing that as well.
      Thank you so much for all your thoughts, fantastic.

      September 27, 2013
  51. I have many favorite authors who work in completely different niche markets, writing everything romance to horror novels and selling to both markets. Why not have more than one? Have as many as you feel you can handle and make an income pursuing, I say.

    September 27, 2013
    • Thanks, that is interesting, I like the comparison, many artists work on more than one type of work, so I don’t see why I can’t do the same. I will continue doing both and I will see where they both go.

      September 27, 2013
  52. Good evening Leanne…the fact is the digital era let everybody say: I’m a photographer…even if they don’t understand nothing about photography…and yes, managing a digital camera instead of a completely manual 6×6 format makes things even more complicated. But the real talent, the passion and the eye behind the camera (whatever it is) can not be substituted…
    Organise a perfect portfolio, and promote yourself…all the rest will follow…(in my modest opinion)..

    Wish you all the best,
    Luana

    September 27, 2013
    • That is so true Luana, I need to learn to market myself and sort some things out. It hadn’t occurred to me that I would get work doing the architecture. I don’t know what the market is like, but I am happy to roll with it for now.
      That is a major problem with digital photography. I hear all the time that people buy a camera and they think it will be great to become a photographer, they don’t understand it takes more than just pointing a camera and shooting. So many obstacles to overcome here.
      I need to do soemthing like that. I am think I should put a gallery on website too for the architectural photography, so one for portraits and one for architecture.
      Thank you so much Luana.

      September 27, 2013
      • My dear Leanne….Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr…etc…everywhere you see super wannabe photographers…:) I also saw galleries where they want to sell their !great photographs!….) Question: does anybody buy them?? some of them are absolutely ridiculous and the fact they can only point the camera is obvious…I remember once, while I was taking pics with a friend (she’s also saying she’s a photographer), as it was getting dark and she was complaining: Just change the ISO values, my dear….Whhhatt?? What is that::?:::)

        so, let’s roll:::))

        ps I’m a designer:)

        Have a nice day:)

        September 27, 2013
      • So are you saying that I am one of those wannabes, it is hard to tell.

        September 27, 2013
      • hey!….absolutely noooo! you’re one of the rarest that does not make part from the category! Sorry, my english might not be perfect…

        September 27, 2013
      • Oh that is good, I just wanted to make sure before I replied, I think sometimes I worry that people think I am like that too, what makes me so different. Your english is fine,
        Now that we have sorted that out, I couldn’t agree more, there are lots of people out there who are trying to be photographers, some are good, some aren’t. It is really hard,
        Thank you so much.

        September 27, 2013
      • I thank you, Leanne…
        your Art and Photography are very different than what certain “….” might offer. Guess the results obtained are already giving you the confirmation….
        Have a very nice day!

        Warmly, Luana

        September 27, 2013
      • Thank you Luana, that is fantastic to hear. I work very hard on my work, so I do want to be successful with it.
        Have a great weekend.

        September 27, 2013
  53. Absolutely stunning Leanne! x

    September 27, 2013
  54. Allison Andersen #

    I think whatever you love to do most is your niche. And that may change or evolve. I think your work is beautiful and while some of it is of people and some of buildings you still have a look, a particular style that is unique to you. It’s so easy to over think this stuff, I do it all the time. The key, I believe, is to realize what you get excited about and follow that. Whatever you decide will be amazing, I’m sure!

    September 27, 2013
    • Overthinking, I know what you are saying. I am getting requests for both and at this time it isn’t a problem to do both. It is interesting the style thing, but I do know that I have got work because of it, people like the way I process my images, someone said in an earlier comment that I should market the Leanne Cole Look, which I thought was interesting. I want to do both, so will have to find a way to do that. Thank you so much for your comment.

      September 27, 2013
  55. I feel the same way you do. I have many niches that I welcome.

    September 27, 2013
    • It is an interesting market place, and I am excited to see what happens, Thank you Charlie.

      September 27, 2013
  56. I agree with the previous comment by TaniaDavies. You CAN do both! One will pay your bills. The other is what you truly love and will pay dividends in the end through relaxation, pleasure, and stress relief. I’m not a person that likes limits. 🙂

    September 27, 2013
    • Yes, I am starting to see that should be able to do both, both are different, I hope, so I will have to start marketing myself for both. Thank you so much for your thoughts.

      September 27, 2013
  57. Jen #

    Having a couple niches is fine, IMO, if you do both well – and I think you do. I’m inclined to suggest that you continue to use this blog as a way to promote both, but treat the two niches as separate businesses.

    However, I’m not familiar with NZ laws (that’s where you are, right? I forget), so my suggestion is to make your first stop at a CPA’s office. Or financial consultant. Or…whatever you call them down there. The Tax/Business guys. You want to be sure that you’re not complicating things for yourself with taxes, and be sure to keep very good records. The Tax guys can help you get started with all that, and they can help you decide whether to create a LLC business under which you operate both niches separately, or to create two separate businesses or just a sole proprietor business with two niches.

    Once you’ve learned more about the technicalities of running the business, it may help make your decision a bit easier.

    September 27, 2013
    • The blog has been great and given me wonderful exposure. I have got jobs because of it, so it is important to continue doing it.
      I am in Australia, though the countries can seem similar. I have a meeting with a business advisory person next week, so I think this is something I should bring up. I have an accountant who is a friend, so may be I can take to her. I have been watching some things on creativeLIVE and I realise that we don’t have the same restrictions on setting up businesses here, we don’t need a license to do it, you can just start one. I think I can have one business, that just does both, though I will have to learn how to separate them, so I know what is working and what isn’t.
      I want to do both, so will see what happens, see where I get most of the work from. Thank you Jen, really appreciated.

      September 27, 2013
      • Jen #

        Sounds like you’re off to a good start.

        Every now and then I think about trying to start a photog business again (did before, it kinda flopped before it really started). A part of the issues is I’m very much an introvert and have a hard time marketing myself let alone communicating with the clients. And I have little to no interest in doing the sort of portrait photography that most people tend to want. So…for the time being, it’s just a hobby until I figure something out. 🙂

        September 27, 2013
      • Oh yes, being an introvert could possibly be a problem. I am not really outgoing, but I am not really shy. I don’t like doing new things, but I will push myself to try some new things. I am fine in front of people and don’t get too scared. I am similar in some things. thank you Jen, I hope I am off to a good start and I will keep going to see which one will be the most successful.

        September 27, 2013
  58. Read your post this morning, and have been thinking about it and the bigger issues it raises all day – thanks for sharing, and all the best with the decisions you make.

    September 27, 2013
    • Hope you found it interesting too, you are welcome, and thank you too.

      September 27, 2013
  59. “LIKE” wouldn’t load. You bring up some really good points.

    September 27, 2013
    • It is annoying when that happens, thanks for liking this way. Thank you.

      September 27, 2013
      • It is an interesting time, though. WHen 15 kids on FB announce portrait shoot prices, you realize that making money off photography will get more and more difficult. It’s like the recording industry. When I was out there, you needed a company for production and distribution. Now anybody can record digitally in their room, pass it through software to correct the pitch, add all manner of instrumentation digitally, and the promote yourself on Youtube., 🙂 What a world.

        September 28, 2013
      • What a world indeed.
        As you said, all those people trying to make it as photographers, which I think is why I was told to find niche markets, so you are doing something unique or different to the majority, I don’t know if it works, but I keep getting told that. If I try and sell my product as different to everyone else’s then hopefully that will be successful. Time will tell. But as you say the digital world has changed everything, will see how we go.

        September 28, 2013
  60. For what it’s worth:
    It is a good idea to find a specialist (not necessarily exclusive) niche.
    You certainly have a flair for the architectural stuff – I think your perspective of that building is stunning.
    Just saying!

    September 27, 2013
    • I agree Colonialist, I do think I do pretty good architectural stuff and I would like to do more, so I am tending towards having two niches, and we will see what happens. Thank you.

      September 27, 2013
  61. Leanne –
    You are a remarkable photographer. But more than that, you are an artist. All the comments confirm these points. Your questions, however relate to a business and marketing plan, which is also a form of artistry. It is anticipating, knowing and taking advantage of windows of opportunity and then integrating this opening within your creative sphere.

    You have an excellent grasp of the situation and are asking the right questions. “Is there a place for my photography and if there is how do I find the people who want it.” Our world is in transition; we live in a fast past, ever changing global world. I’m attaching a link to one of the latest Seth Godin discussion, which I think you will find interesting as you continue your research. Seth believes that we are no longer an industrial economy. We are in the connection economy. And connection creates value.

    I wish you the very best as you go forward. Whatever direction you take, I know that you will be amazing.

    September 27, 2013
    • Thank you so much for the link, I have started watching it.
      I know marketing is the big thing for me and trying to work out how to do that. I have been getting some great ideas from people, and hope to really make some of them happen. I never thought the architectural photography would get me anywhere, but I am starting to see that maybe there is a market out there for it, and I just need to fine it. I will continue that search.
      Thanks again.

      September 27, 2013
      • The search is the best part! I am going to have fun tagging along!!!

        September 28, 2013
      • Thank you.

        September 28, 2013
  62. I think it would be a shame for you to only do one or the other. As my mum would say, “do as your own devil directs you.”

    September 27, 2013
    • I like what your mum would say, and I think I agree with you, it would be a shame, so I think I have decided to just go with both and see what happens. Thank you.

      September 27, 2013
  63. Leanne, have you looked at other independent photographers (on the net) to see how they approach the business side of their photography, how they offer their services in their specialty? Some are quite interesting.

    September 27, 2013
    • Someone else sent a link that had a heap of photographers so I could do that, and I have been, it is very interesting to see what they do. Thank you.

      September 27, 2013
  64. I feel as if I have the same problem. For a while, I shot weddings and portraits, but before that, I was doing architecture. Now, I’m really enjoying fine-art and creative (and scary) images. I don’t know how to combine all the work, but I do know that setting up separate blogs helped me out. Still, I wonder what my specialty is…or what it would be…

    September 27, 2013
    • I think I need to work it out more. I don’t really want to keep it all separate, I am going to see if I work out how to do it so it is altogether, but a little separate. Have some ideas. Thank you and good luck to you as well.

      September 27, 2013
  65. Like everything else, once I start looking into it (writing and photography), I find many, many other people are also trying to do something in those fields.

    I think one needs to be both good and lucky, but most of all, one needs connections and contacts.

    The more I look into it, the more I realize the time for someone like me (who wants to rely strictly on the work itself), has passed. Unless, of course, one is extremely good . . . and even then, you still need luck, in the form of a break.

    September 28, 2013
    • I couldn’t agree with you more, there is a lot of luck in it.
      I think you also have to be prepared to put yourself out there. That is the bit I am not good at. I am going to start approaching people or companies, try doing more networking.
      There are many people doing the same thing, and I think we can let that get us down, so I decided that I had to stop worrying about that and believe in myself and my photography. I suppose I am about to find out how good or not good I am. Thank you for your thoughts here, interesting ideas and points.

      September 28, 2013
  66. Why not have multiple offerrings? I am being told to target niches as well, but it seems terribly limiting to put yourself into a box. I believe if you have enough time to balance the two or more and people are willing to pay to make it worth your while then do it 🙂

    September 28, 2013
    • I suspect the reason for a niche is so that you are doing something different to the majority of photographers out there, so people will want you because what you do is different. I think that is what it is, but I think you can have more than one niche, I am going to try for both, the architecture and the portraits. Time will tell if you are right, thank you Roberto.

      September 28, 2013
  67. Soooooo true Leanne! Love everything that you said, just really makes you think. Ok that first photo is incredible! So strong!

    September 28, 2013
    • There is a lot to think about when you are trying to make money from what you love, I am finding out so much, especially about what I don’t know. I love that photo too, one of my favourites, she was like my Cathy from Wuthering Heights. Thanks Amanda.

      September 28, 2013
  68. I have always enjoyed your architectural pieces the most.

    September 28, 2013
    • That is wonderful to hear, have more for you today then. Thank you.

      September 28, 2013
  69. THE LAST FLYER #

    Along with the silver halide on cellulose acetate, The “magic” that was once in the domain of photographers is all but gone. Replaced by the “digital age”, it has made acceptable photography virtually “automatic”. Gone are the days of loading sheet film in holders, cranking “50 red” plus the paper’s color factor into the enlarger, and loading 36 exposures of 35MM Ektacolor Professional 400 onto a Nikkor reel in total darkness.

    It’s as easy as turning the camera on, putting the dial on “P” and pressing a button.
    The BIG difference comes from “who’s pushing the button”.Some people have this “eye” that very few of us will ever know. Call it “talent” – a “sixth sense”. It is what makes your pictures stand out from the rest of us snap-shooters; something that no amount of retouching or “processing” can achieve.

    The high angle picture of the building is an excellent textbook example of commercial architectural photography – something I have never quite achieved, even with a tilting / shifting 4X5 view camera. The lighthouse and the lady are straight from your “mind’s eye” – the lighthouse from mostly a processing end, and the lady from that “sixth sense” that few of us will ever have, and most of us will always enjoy.

    It is a sad reality that fine art (in any form) usually becomes valuable long after the artist has “Gone West”. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there was all this technology in the Middle Ages, when there were all those Artists’ Patrons.

    September 28, 2013
    • I couldn’t agree more, it is so easy to be a photographer, if all you do is hold the camera up and press the button. I don’t know how many people I have met with DSLR’s that have never taken their camera off auto.
      Thank you so much for this, great comment.

      September 28, 2013
  70. It’s a tough market, especially now. But I still think your photographs are amazing illustrations … photographic with the emphasis on graphic … art. But art is so terribly hard to sell. One thing to keep in mind: you need to find a market that have money to spend on stuff beyond the necessities. There isn’t much of that among we plain folk these days … so you need to find people with money to spend and figure out what you can sell that they will want to buy.

    September 28, 2013
    • Thank you, that is wonderful of you to say. I totally agree with what you are saying, I do have to find that market, I know they are out there somewhere. I know what you mean about us plain folks.

      September 28, 2013
  71. Can’t see any reason why you can’t have two strings to your bow, Leanne – you’re great at (and obviously enjoy) both disciplines. Looks to me like you’re doing the right thing – targeting your audience with the appropriate subject matter.

    September 30, 2013
    • Thank you Richard, I am thinking the same now, have a few things to change, but I can’t find any good reason not to do both, I think I can manage it.

      September 30, 2013
  72. Your pictures look so mysterious… Amazing…

    October 1, 2013
    • Someone else used that word to describe my work, I like it, thank you.

      October 1, 2013
  73. There is much to consider, as you know. I segregate my life into paying day job and non-paying blogging hobby but you never know where life will take you… From this I can say to you niche is good, a few niches is better.
    A good question to ask if you are considering paying membership or any other type of fees is “is it possible I can accomplish this or something like it that works for me, for less or free or using my time rather than money?”

    October 2, 2013
    • I am thinking that niche is good too, and having a couple can’t hurt. It would be good to do best.
      I like what you are saying about the networking group, I have asked lots of people and consensus seems to be the same, that maybe it isn’t for me. Though what you are saying is great, and so true, I think I need to find other ways of networking that won’t cost me so much money.

      October 2, 2013
  74. It is very difficult as an artist to try and work out what you want to do – do you follow your ‘love’ or pursue the $$ or how to find a balance between both – it is a constant dilemma!

    October 4, 2013
    • That is so true Dawn, it is really hard, I really don’t want to do things that I don’t like, but sometimes, I will just have to. I am hoping that enough people will start liking what I do and with time will have faith to let me just do it. Thanks Dawn.

      October 4, 2013
  75. I’m in the same boat, 2 niches and not sure how to manage both or if I should keep trying to. My landscapes I love and come much more easily for me but not very lucrative, my pets are a more defined niche and I love the joy on peoples faces when they receive their prints but finding my way in the market has been a struggle.

    October 4, 2013
    • It is a dilemma, I think I have worked out how I can do it, but I don’t think it would work for you. I am going to market myself as an artist, so my header or name or brand, or whatever you call it will be Leanne Cole – Fine Art Photographer. That way it works for both. You can do both, it depends on whether you want to market yourself under the same banner or under two. Good luck.

      October 4, 2013
  76. Same boat here, I empathise! Look forward to your next step!

    October 4, 2013
    • Good luck, things are happening and I am liking where I am going, so hopefully there will be more to report soon. Thanks Lesley.

      October 4, 2013
  77. Dear Friend!
    Greetings from Shizuoka, Japan!
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog at http://shizuokagourmet.com/
    Exquisite site I’m going to follow right away!
    Best regards,
    Robert-Gilles

    October 6, 2013
    • Hello from Australia and welcome to my blog, I hope you enjoy it. Thank you.

      October 6, 2013
  78. I don’t go to BNI meetings, as all my local venues already have a photographer attached to them (this is one of the great things about BNI, if you joined you would be the only photographer), but I do go to another networking group.
    You can’t rely on networking as your only source of customer, but one of a package of ways to get people to become customers. Colleagues of mine who belong to BNI do very well out of it, but its a slow burn – you can’t expect instant results. Another thing I have found with networking is you have to give out first before other members will give back.
    My present approach with networking is to ask for contacts in local charities, who may be interested in receiving a prize for a raffle or silent auction (now, with the run up to Xmas, there is a lot of that going on). The prize is a free portrait session, with a small framed print. Charities love to receive things like this.
    The prize winner, comes to the studio, has a great time, thinks the portraits are brilliant, so they buy more framed prints, or get a larger picture to put on the wall of their home.
    At other times of the year, i will ask for contacts in local children’s sports teams (normally trying to raise money to buy new kit). Contacts in school organisations, etc.
    Once you have become ‘trusted’ in your local network – then you can approach the businesses direct. For instance, one place to market your architectural photography may be through local landscapers. Someone who has just had their garden landscaped, maybe in the market for a picture of their lovely home in the new surroundings. They would be your paying customer – you could then, as a thank you, give the landscaper a low res picture to put on his website. If there are no landscapers in your networking group, don’t worry, just ask for contacts of the main person in local landscaping companies – this is what networking is about. Actually, thinking about it, its not just landscapers, how about builders, decorators, architects, flooring companies, just about anyone in home improvement industry has the potential to lead you to paying customers?
    As I said before, though, you can’t rely on networking to provide you with all the customers you need; its just one of many aspects to marketing.
    Anyway good luck with it, whatever you decide to do.

    October 6, 2013
    • I have heard from other photographers that they don’t get a lot out of BNI, I like the idea, but I don’t have the start up money, so no point even considering it.
      I know that networking is one part of trying to get going, and I am working on that slowly. I let everyone I know that I am a photographer, and I use my blog quite a bit. I have a link to it at the end of every email I send.
      I don’t know about the charity stuff, it is very different here, but might be worth a try, though I don’t have a studio. I tend to work outdoors, or on location.
      I hadn’t thought of landscapers, but I had thought of builders, architects, real estate agents, and have started working on plans for those as well.
      I agree with what you have said about networking, it is just one aspect. I did go and talk to a business advisory person and they said that I am doing all the right things, I just need to be more patient. That isn’t something I am good at.
      Thank you Luke, it is going to be an interesting time ahead.

      October 6, 2013
  79. If the paying customers are pulling you into architecture and real estate, I would go for it. If you are technically capable of producing good quality photos of different types (buildings vs portraits) then why not? This diversifies your business so that you don’t sink when buildings or portraits are slow. Don’t limit yourself needlessly just because some pundit says you need to specialize narrowly.

    October 7, 2013
    • I have to agree, and have been changing everything so it suits both, may as well go for both, see what happens. Thank you for your thoughts on this Jerry, really appreciated.

      October 7, 2013
  80. madaboutgreys #

    Interesting post. I think you can play in both niches but you may need to market them separately so that your brand looks consistent to the target audience. I was interested in your thoughts on BNI as my local chapter approached me recently. Not sure it’s for me though, as the membership fees are steep.

    October 7, 2013
    • I think I have decided to go with the flow market both, but I am not going to do it separately, I think I will emphasise one more than the other at times, but I can only have one website, so I am going to go that way, at least for now. I found the BNI interesting and the people were very welcoming, but it is very expensive and I am not sure that it is worth it. I think it probably depends on what businesses are in it, there are no photographers in my chapter, or the one I went to, but there weren’t many businesses that I felt could give me work or refer work to me. So I can’t see me earning lots from it. Long answer, sorry. Thanks.

      October 8, 2013
  81. Your work is stunning. My best advice to you, Leanne, is to follow your heart. That may sound overly simple and silly, but it works. Not to say that you can’t choose to use your photographic skills in an area, like architecture, that can help pay the bills… But don’t you dare give up on what you truly love doing!
    Thank you for visiting my blog! I look forward to following you!

    October 10, 2013
    • I won’t give up, the truth is I love architecture as much as I love the portraits, seeing what I can create is really fascinating to me. Thank you so much and I will take your advice.
      You are welcome, and I hope you enjoy my blog.

      October 10, 2013
  82. Thanks, Leanne, for often liking my posts. I’m slightly intimidated by your hundreds of likes and comments and followers (well done!) but I’ll add my thoughts anyway. I read this post about niches and completely got it. My problem as a translator of forgotten novels – it might be the opposite for photographers – is that my work is seen as fitting into a ‘niche’ market that won’t make many sales and therefore publishers aren’t interested. Doing what’s never been done by others is risky. But never boring.

    October 10, 2013
    • Don’t feel intimidated, please, I love hearing the thoughts of others, it is great. That sounds like a tough job, and I can see how hard it must be to find that market, but I love what you said about it never being boring, it is never boring when you love what you are doing. Thank you.

      October 10, 2013
  83. Photograph what you enjoy – it’s the best way to ensure a great picture (which you always seem to produce!)
    Thanks for the like
    Dorinda

    October 11, 2013
    • That seems to be a common message and I have to agree that I think the same. Thank you so much Dorinda, and you are very welcome.

      October 11, 2013
  84. Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂 Your work is amazing! I wish I could offer some sage advice, but alas, you’ve seen my state of being. lol Don’t get discouraged, keep putting yourself out there. Those who are for you will come.

    October 11, 2013
    • Thank you, it is hard to know what to do at times, but I think I’ve decided to just keep doing what I’ve been doing and roll with it. Thank you so much. 🙂

      October 12, 2013
  85. Thanks for your “like” on my post of today. It reminded me that though I am noted as “following” your blog, for some reason I haven’t been receiving notice of your posts, and therefore haven’t been seeing your site regularly. I’ll have to see if I can figure out what happened!

    October 17, 2013
    • You are very welcome Mary. I have heard a few people saying the same thing, that they haven’t been getting the notifications. It is very strange, well I hope you enjoyed the catch up. Thank you Mary.

      October 18, 2013
  86. I hardly qualify to give you advise given the level of your photographic skills but, this one is from the heart. Portraits would be my choice. The problem I think is that we take up certain interests/hobbies like photography to fulfill our need for creativity. Somewhere along the way, maybe because it takes up quite a bit of our time and energy, we are told that these things need to make money. I don’t know your market but, my guess is architectural photography might make you more money. However, portrait photography would be more fulfilling, no?

    October 20, 2013
    • It is funny, I do love doing the portraits and think I will do more, but I do actually like doing the architectural stuff as well. It is hard to explain, but I would love to be able to do both. Though I am excited about where the portraits are going, and new things are happening there all the time.
      Thank you.

      October 20, 2013
  87. Interesting read. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I know exactly what you are speaking about. I have heard people speak and read articles about the “death” of photogrpahy. I don’t buy it not for a minute. With the advent of digital, and the cell phone, everyone now has a camera. More people than ever before in the history of the planet are taking pictures. With the internet more people are sharing them. That to me means there is simply more interest in photography than there has ever been. People after all are interested in something they do. That means of course the market place has changed radically as well. If I could offer a few thoughts.. Fine Art, belongs in a gallery, Check out the galleries near you. Put together a proposal for a show, Pitch it. Keep pitching, Also just for the heck of it. It doesn’t cost anything except a bit of your time. Upload some images to “Fine Art America” and see if they can help you find an audience. (I’ve been selling a steady trickle through them.) Anyway. I enjoyed reading your blog.

    October 21, 2013
    • I am looking at galleries, unfortunately the opportunities to exhibit in Australia is not as great as other countries. I have tried other sites like Fine Art America, but had not luck, there is so much competition out there, and the market is quite saturated. I thought too, well, I always assumed you needed to be an American to put some work on it. Thank you for all your thoughts, it has been wonderful hearing what other people think.

      October 21, 2013
  88. Thanks for stopping by my blog this morning, which reminded me to check out what you’ve beenup to lately. For some reason or other, I’m no longer receiving automatic notices when you post, so unless something triggers it, I forget to take a look. Will have to see if I can fix that, as I really enjoy your blog. Tough question as to what is your niche…architectural or protraits. I love them both. The portraits are so creative and the architectural given their own life through your lighting and perspectives. I hope you keep them both…there is such a natural marriage of the two, with the architecture working as unmatchable settings for the portraits. Though, tehn again, tha natural environment works too. I had a wonderful laugh with the one of the Point Lonsdale waves dumping on your model! Keep going!!!

    October 21, 2013
    • I have sent a question to WP support to find out why, but it might be good if you did as well, there have been a number of people saying the same thing recently. So I don’t understand what is happening. Have you noticed it happening with other blogs?
      I am thinking now, that I think my niche might just be both of them, I don’t think that would matter, if I tried to do both. I love the architecture, and must see if I can organise another building to go and photograph soon. I agree with you, I think they can work very well together. I am starting to change the way I work, well, not change, but developing it more where I can use architecture more in my portraits, so hopefully that will be more exciting. Kelly was a great sport with getting dumped in the waves, she is even willing to go out with me again. Thank you so much Mary.

      October 22, 2013
      • Hey Mary, I asked WP why you weren’t getting any notifications and apparently it is because you are subscribed to the old self hosted blog I had, so if you want to get notifications for this one, then you need to subscribe to this if you want to. I hope that solves the problem.

        October 23, 2013
  89. First of all, I want to thank you for stopping by my f-stop fantasy blog on a semi-regular basis and dropping a bunch of likes. I’m sure you would be more regular if I would be more regular, but I’ve been a bit lazy lately.

    Second of all, I want to say a few things in regard to your writing and illustrations on this post.

    If that top illustration is, indeed, a photograph (it looks like a painting), I like the effect you used. I also like the tin-type effect you used on the lighthouse. Not being a black and white fan, I, nevertheless, feel the sepia tone, rather than color, really makes the photo stand out.

    You say you’re a fine art portrait photographer, but I feel you’re just a fine art photographer. Period. If you have a niche, this one certainly would qualify.

    Speaking of niches, if you must have one, at least start in the area where you get the most public demand, if you’re looking for a source of income. If people are demanding architecture, give them architecture. That’s a good place to start.

    So, basically, what appeals to other people, and it’s something you like to do, go for it. On the other hand, what you do for “fun” will likely appeal to others’ “fun” as well. By doing photography that you find “fun” may, therefore, push other people’s “fun” buttons as well. And pressing others’ “fun” buttons can often translate into “ka-ching.”

    Basically, you can be whatever kind of a photographer you want to be. What you like doing best will, undoubtedly, appeal to others. You just have to get the message out.

    A word about networking. If you have to pay for it, I’d say run away as fast as you can. The best networking in the world is by word or mouth, not word of wallet, or purse, for that matter.

    Thirdly, I want to run a couple of ideas past you and see how they fly, so far as getting your “message” out there is concerned.

    The first thing I would recommend, if you haven’t already done so, is put about a dozen or so of your best work, regardless of possible niches, into nice frames. Create a set of 8×10’s of those photos/frames close up.

    Call the head librarians of your local and regional libraries, or even college/’university libraries and ask them if their policies allow a local artist to display her photography. You might mention that the immediate purpose isn’t to sell photographs, because that would undoubtedly be against library policy, but to get your name out before the public. If the public likes any of your work, they can contact you privately. But all of the photos will remain in display whether or not anyone expresses interest in them.

    You might do this with banks, real estate companies (you might even be able to talk them into having you take photos for them, although their agents usually do that), and other high profile businesses.

    You might even be able to establish a revolving door of displays, displaying them for a fixed period, then having another set take their place. You never know unless you try.

    Another thing you can do, if you aren’t doing it already, is enter your best photos in state and county fair photography exhibits/contests. Even if you do not win any prizes, your name will be before the public and other photographers. And that’s what you want. Your work will speak for you.

    I hope that helps. Good luck. I’d love to hear any results you might get from these ideas, that is, if they appeal to you. 🙂

    October 28, 2013
    • Wow, that is a massive comment, you have a lot of good things to say, and there is a lot to take on board. There are things you have suggested that I will probably do, other things that really work here. Different countries work different ways. Like country fairs, not really something that happen here, not for competitions any way. There are other competitions that I have been entering. I am also trying to get my work into galleries. I have my work in a restaurant and trying to get into some more.
      Thank you for all of this, it is great.

      October 28, 2013
      • Glad to help. It got me thinking of things I could do, although I don’t think I’m in your league, at least, from what I saw. I really like the pic of the lighthouse.

        Galleries was one other thing I was going to mention, but for some reason I couldn’t think of the right word. Brain freeze.

        Good luck. You have some great talent. Don’t let it go to waste. 🙂

        October 28, 2013
      • Thank you again, galleries can be good, harder to get into, but if you do can open a whole lot of new doors.
        I won’t let it go to waste, thank you so much.

        October 29, 2013

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