Some say that the secret to success in photography is finding your niche. A niche is a specialized area in a field in which you focus your work on. It is much more specific than a genre. Whereas genres cover landscapes, portraits, street photography, sports, etc., niches cover things like WWII veterans in modern day society, Arkansas state parks during the fall season, and still-lifes of objects that look like smiley faces. Many niches may seem strange and obscure, but all have an audience. If you don’t believe me, check out this unusual video that’s garnered over 1.4 million views in a week:
Some photographers attempt to be a jack-of-all-trades by incorporating portraiture, landscapes, sports, black & white, and other genres into their portfolio. Despite being a seemingly good idea due to the flexibility it provides, it often isn’t. Employers and other potential admirers of your work like to see something new and fresh. By being the jack-of-all-trades, you’ll most likely be taking basic cliche photos in each genre. However, when you focus on one genre and explore it thoroughly, digging deeper and deeper, you’ll often find a unique style within that genre. Over time you will exhaust the cliche shots and be forced to create something new and different, leading you to discover your niche.
Many, many photographers have found success this way. Carli Davidson, whose photos inspired this video, found herself photographing her slobbering dog. This led to a viral photo series, which led to this video, which also led to a book. Another dog-loving photographer, Seth Casteel, found a niche in photographing dogs jumping into pools. Over time his website exploded with people looking to buy his images and he published a book as well. (You can read more about him in this article.)
It all boils down to trying new things and discovering your passion. Perhaps your thing is photographing expensive yachts or cross-processing your street photography images. Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and think outside the box.
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