Much like the different genres of music or film, photography is separated into what is commonly known in photography as your “niche”. It typically includes topics like weddings, travel, seniors, landscape, macro, commercial, food, sports, etc, etc (and on and on and on). I bring this up because I hear and read all the time that each photographer should find their “niche” and focus on that single genre. Everything else is just “for fun” and do it when you have time. I hope to explain how I’ve come to decide upon my own niche (or lack there of), why I decided to move in that direction, and in turn hopefully help others consider a different view.
So why pick one?
The reasoning has mostly to do with marketability or branding yourself, but also it has a lot to do with being able to better your skill set quicker in one area of photography. One theory is that it will help you progress more speedily as a photographer in general and possibly bring in more income quicker as well. That is the best I have been able to come up with. There is a great article on it by Adorama Learning Center. Check it out here: https://www.adorama.com/alc/17-types-of-photography-which-niche-is-right-for-you
So what’s my Niche? I don’t have one. I don’t really want one.
I’m not being indecisive. It has actually taken me a long time to come to that decision. And after doing so many different things and seeing how my Instagram feed looks a bit like chaos, I realized that the chaos is absolutely me. But what others might see as chaos actually makes perfect sense. It is organized chaos.
My “niche” is life.
This is probably entirely different blog post, but in short, I had to think about why I love to hold a camera… I love life. I love everything about life. The beautiful mystery of something no one has been able to appropriately describe. Life as in existence, the universe, the love, the feelings, the moods, the events, changes in time and society. Every bit of it fascinates me and I never feel like I can get enough.
I also understand that I cannot remember everything. Not only is it hard in general, but it’s very hard for me. But, one thing that has always helped me is photography. I admit I still can’t remember many specifics, but I remember feelings, stories, and can re-live that moment as if I was there. It helps give me context to bring that event back to the front of my mind.
I also love to capture memories of the things that happen in life that many of us have already forgotten. I.E. in the rush to work do you remember the incredible sunrises? The pinks, blues, purples, yellows. And yet, something that was so incredible and so very heart stopping, is already gone by the time we sit down. Sometimes the glare even becomes annoying! “Life” seems to get in the way.
So what does this mean?
It means that a camera is only a tool. Exposure. Lighting. Aperture. Bokeh. Abstract. Documentary. These are the same terms used in all genres. The camera is universal. With that in mind, and as I have determined my best niche is “life”. My path forward is to be the best at capturing life.
Landscape / Nature Photography. Landscapes aren’t just about vasts landscapes in the middle of the mountains. Nature isn’t just about trying to go find a bird in flight. It’s about the experience. The calm. The colors. The noises and the smells. It’s peace. When I take a picture, I want to try to capture that feeling.
Architectural Photography. I put forth effort to compose and create the best image to show design, craftsmanship, home, history, and the story behind a building. Shortly I will be working on honing my skills on light painting and really helping a picture “pop”.
Weddings, Portraits, Headshots, Senior Photos. I truly love this! This is a moment in a couple’s or family’s lives to remember forever. To be excited for and to remember their story as well! Senior Year is also a huge milestone as well! Not only should a photo capture the person(s), but who they are and what they love. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I began to really love experiencing these moments with the people I’m capturing. It really hit home when I captured Megan and Lance’s actual engagement during a session! To me, capturing the story of the day is truly exciting.
Commercial Photography. Depending on the final use, product photos both signify the end result of years of development and hard work, but also something to be used to excite the end user to want to find out more and eventually purchase that product. A great product photo captures what the product represents
I can go on and on, but I’ll stop here.
I absolutely respect photographers that specialize in their respective niches. They’re doing all of this in their own ways that they have found best. For me, I’m choosing to capture LIFE and all that it will offer me for the time I’m given.