How to define target audience

Once we agreed why it is important to understand your audience and went through all the reasons behind it, it’s time to learn how to define target audience as a photographer. While the process may be a little complicated and surely time consuming, it’s really something you have to do if you want to be successful with your business.

We’ve divided the process into four parts:

Take those steps carefully and don’t rush — it’s better to spend more time, but have more precisely defined target audience.

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Precise defining

It’s extremely important to precisely define your target audience, but you also have to stick to it. It may be hard at the beginning of your business, though. You have always dreamt of being a travel photographer, but you don’t have enough money, so you take up some portraits and kids sessions, someone brings their dog with them, and you friend offers you some food session for his restaurant’s website. You put it all on your website and what you see is a huge mess. And that’s what your visitors see as well. Diverse galleries from a photographer, who once upon the time wanted to travel. Never give up your goals, whatever they are.

There are 4 areas which you can take into consideration in the process of precise defining your target audience: geography, demography, psychography and product-related. Let’s take a look at each of them:


As this may seem quite obvious, defining your audience by their location is really helpful, especially at the very beginning of your work as a photographer. This applies not only for portraits or wedding photographers, but travel photographers as well. What’s your first landscape/cityscape? Isn’t it somewhere in your neighborhood? It most certainly is. And there are plenty of local businesses that may want to use it. Such companies may be your first business partners.

The main advantage of working with clients from your location is saving on transport. You probably also know the perfect spots with good lighting and have a friend who can hold your reflector. At the beginning of your photography career you surely count every penny, which is obvious, so make sure you save as much as you can to boost your business.


This is probably the most typical segmentation: age, gender, income, ethnic group, nationality, marital status. You may be surprised how precisely some photographers define their audiences with those — even down to 10 years age intervals! It surely gives you a lot more focus and makes it easier for you to communicate with them. Defining your audience income also comes really handy in this industry, as some people tend to take photographers’ job for granted and are surprised when they hear the prices.

It’s also a lot easier to work with people from the same community, ethnic group or nationality, as you understand each other well and may even already have some ties with. People also prefer to work with a professional with whom they can identify themselves.


This type of segmentation is actually pretty wide, but it works really well for photographers. Define your audience personality, lifestyle, motives, interests, behaviors — including buying behaviors. Those are actually really important, although not always first thought of, because they precisely define who you audience is and what they actually want. Understanding them makes it easier for you to work with them and find common ground.

While it can be hard at the beginning, try to choose clients you get along well or share some interest, so the photo sessions are nice and pleasant for both of you. Knowing what your audience’s lifestyles and behaviors are, you can match your communication with them and adjust the way they buy stuff from you, so that they buy more and come back to you for more.


Defining your target audience using product-related segmentation is a great way to stand out from the crowd and distinguish yourself from other photographers. Think of the unique attributes you have, what can you offer, that others doesn’t have. Even more, think of the quality of your work — what can you do better than they? Maybe you heard some opinions or stories about your competitors in your area — offer those unhappy clients your services, when you’re sure you can do it better.

People share their experiences willingly, both good and bad. Use their bad encounters with photographers and show them that your approach is different. They’ll surely share it with their friends and recommend you — and that’s the best form of ad you can get!

Ideal audience

You don’t have to take into consideration all of the above segments, but the more precisely you define your target audience, the more you’ll understand them and you’ll be able to work with people you know before you actually meet them.

Define your ideal audience — write down all of the characteristics of your perfect client. Use above segments and add whatever you feel will help to match your personality and style. It doesn’t mean you’ll always work with ideal clients, but it’ll surely help in reaching to them.

Precisely defined target audience is your key to be successful. Think of your past clients, with whom you’d like to work again? Who is the most profitable for you, are there types of clients of types of your work that generate more profits than the others? Do you offer everything they need? Who values your work most? Who gives priority to your works over the prices? What do you like about those people and why do you want to work with them? What are their problems and how can you help them with your works? Are they willing to spread the word about your photography?

These are the questions you have to ask yourself that will help you define your ideal target audience. Having done that you know exactly what to focus on and you’ll never regret choosing your career path.

Photography business is always based on your passion. No matter if it plays a bigger or smaller role for you, never lose it — working with proper people is the only way to stay on a good path.

Elevator pitch

What exactly is an elevator pitch/speech/statement? It’s a short summary which quickly and simply describes the product or service and its value proposition. The name comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. The point is that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.

So why a photographer needs one?

Elevator pitch helps in almost every aspect of your business, as it makes you more focused on the intention of your work and making it more impressive for your clients. It should intrigue them to browse your website further and come back to it. Its powerful meaning should make them want to learn more about you.

Having a good elevator pitch you know what your focus is and what you have to attract potential customers. It also makes it easier to define your target audience, because you first need to understand your business and then you can understand your clients. Use it as a guideline for defining your ideal audience.


After having all done — your target audience is precisely defined and your elevator pitch is perfectly polished up — it’s time to put it all into life.

Once you know everything about your audience (both present and ideal, if they differ) you are able to use this knowledge in the way you communicate with them. First, look at your website. It’s probably your primary place of sharing the news and works with your audience. For them, it surely is the most important and most reliable place for finding every information about you they need. Make sure it matches their age, preferences and abilities. While younger audiences like lots of details and colors, older ones will probably prefer a clear and easy message. Take all their characteristics into account while creating and publishing your content (photos, blog posts, personal information).

Then, do exactly the same with your social media accounts. Be there, where they are. Be there, when they have time to find you, or else they’ll forget about you. Be yourself and do your best to catch their eyes — your stunning photos will certainly do the job perfectly.

It also comes to emails, phone calls and every other mean of communication you use. Do it all your own way of course, but it also has to be the way your audience appreciates.

Precise defining who your target audience is is one of the crucial elements of creating your own business as a photographer. It takes some time, but gives you a lot of help in establishing your focus and the way you find and communicate with your clients. In case you missed it, check out our previous article on the importance of understanding target audience to get a complete insight on the topic.

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Originally published at on September 20, 2016.