Sunday, August 24, 2008

Emerging Trends: None-of-the-above and Weddings

In this new segment, we try to spotlight some emerging trends that may (or may not) help the working photographer, and particularly photographers who want to explore new niches or jump into a new niche ahead of the competition.

First up, a new group of people may be starting to develop a (group) identity, and an understanding of this may help wedding and event photographers to dive into this niche. On a recent interview on Larry King, HBO troublemaker Bill Maher mentioned that about 16% of the population does not belong to any religious group or non-religious group (eg atheists). While this is a small number as a percentage, it represents a sizable chunk of the overall market. 16% of trillions is still a lot of money.

Of course there is no guarantee that this group will indeed emerge and develop its own identity over time, but if it does, the photographers who jump in early and "understand" the needs and sensitivities of this group can build up a long list of assignments.

Next up, we have non-different-gender weddings. This is another emerging market and because of the social issues and controversy surrounding this issue, a number of photographers are avoiding this segment. This creates an opportunity for the photographers who are willing and able to dive into this segment, and understand the needs and sensitivities of their clients. Since a number of churches are allergic to non-different-gender weddings, photographers should be prepared to shoot in non-traditional settings.

Deciding on whether to test this market depends on many factors, including geographic location - generally larger cities, college towns and socially-progressive regions seem to be the best suited regions. On the other hand, if one lives in a small town full of "squelchers" ("Creative Class" reference), they may risk losing their current business if they venture into "alternative" markets.

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