My passion for photography dates back to my days as a child. We had a family camera and I always wanted to be the one behind it (no, I’m not the ugly one). Today, my photography sells itself due to the quality of work and professionalism I bring to a shoot. It’s thanks to all those years ago, my experiments with photography, such as finding the right lighting techniques, angles, poses, and so on! Achieving this was not a one-day thing. I had to do some learning and also find my favorite photography niche. I knew of people who were a Portrait Photographer, modelling photographer, product photographer and many more examples, but still none of these were my preferred niche. Passion was a great deal for me since it helped me discover my love for wildlife photography. Finding the right niche is a journey that goes full circle. Having been through it, I thought it would be nice to share some tips that might help other photographers find where they belong.
As I have mentioned, passion played a big part in me settling for wildlife photography. Photography is a broad field that was quite confusing during my beginner days. I ventured into various photography niches to be sure of the path to take. During my photography journey, I tried several niches such as food, event, portrait, sport, and fashion before settling on wildlife photography. My love for wildlife eventually reeled me into that niche.
The best decisions are those made when one is well informed about anything. This helped me a lot in settling for the wildlife photography niche. In my learning days, one would think I loved multiple fields because I engaged myself in all areas where a camera was needed. This was a step I took to know what I’m best at and what I love. I sampled different niches, analyzed my strengths and weaknesses, and settled on wildlife that suits me best. That’s what you can also try experimenting with.
In fact, you could even experiment with your studio setup by installing creative lighting. You could take the help of businesses like Immersive Me in order to install the digital lights or effects. These lightings may be useful if you want to be creative with different background lights or if you want to explore your photography skills.
Before settling on a specific niche, I had to dig deep and know my prospective clients. People take up photography with different intentions. Personally, I viewed photography as a career. I wanted to make a living out of what I love. I had to know where most of my client base would lie before making a conclusive decision. Honestly, I was not too sure about wildlife photography at first, but deep research and marketing have made my gamble pay off.
Practicing helped me a lot to decide on my best niche. No matter how much one is into photography, they can never know what they are best at without practice. It was like a training process for me. I did different shoots of different niches to weigh my strengths and weaknesses and eventually settled on wildlife.
Photography is a dynamic field. Ask veteran photographers and you will hear that the current trends in the profession are very different from what was in the past. When deciding on my niche, I did a lot of research about various ones. The things I was keen to consider include how long the niche would remain viable, who makes up most of the customers, and how long shoots might last. I didn’t want a situation where I could pick a niche that would lose relevance after a short period making all my hard work unwanted. Wildlife was the real deal because at no one time will people exhaust it.
Different niches suit different lifestyles. For example, if you shoot weddings, expect that most of your gigs will be during weekends. Personally, photography was to become a full-time job for me, which it is today. This means that I would always be available to take a shoot as long as I have a client. Wildlife photography does not have a specific timeline. I can shoot any time that works for me. Always be aware of your lifestyle when choosing a niche.
When taking up a photography niche, think beyond photography sessions. I did consider that there will come a time when upcoming photographers will look up to me for wildlife photography guidance. I took a niche where I could teach other photographers how to be the best in the field. I know people who are really keen on getting books printed to show their work off, and this might be something that I decide to learn more about in the future too – it’d be nice for people to be able to buy my best work and have it in their homes to look at when they want to.
Following multitudes can be very detrimental to one’s photography. During my decision-making period, I was keen not to be attracted by what most people are doing. In some cases, photographers pick a niche blindly without doing any research. This can be very damaging in the long run.
Picking a photography niche requires passion, calculation, and very honest self-evaluation. It may take years to get it right. However, if done correctly, all those days of wandering will definitely pay off.