When choosing a career in any field, a professional must learn how to hone their skills and expertise to something quite specific in order to show value to their client. A good photographer will be able to make photos in just about any conditions, true, but a professional photographer needs to learn how to specialize their photography and then become an expert in it. A person can only become an expert in their craft once they have learned what it is that they are particularly good at. This in itself, is its own craft.
A good way to start going about this is to choose a field in photography that you particularly enjoy such as underwater photography, nature, event photography, or studio photography. Shoot what you love, or what you have a passion for. Once a photographer identifies his passion, then he can fully invest their time and expertise, showing potential clients why their work is better than the work of their competitors.
A good way to start going about this is to choose a field in photography that you particularly enjoy such as underwater photography, event photography, or studio photography. Shoot what you love, or what you have a passion for. Once a photographer identifies his passion, then he can fully invest their time and expertise, showing potential clients why their work is better than the work of their competitors.
Some photographers may be inherently drawn to certain types of photography, but for most, choosing a niche and specializing it can be a tough decision. Take something you love, and make a career out of it. Pursue your passions and build a sustainable life.
Choosing a Niche Market
It’s probably the most powerful strategy any photographer can choose. Decide to specialize in a particular type of photography and you can reduce the competition, build a brand and focus your marketing. You will find it much easier to land, and keep buyers and you’ll grow into an expert. This expertise includes not just a particular field of photography but, no less importantly, on marketing to buyers within that field.
Successful photographers find a way to take a very specific niche market and make it their won. This could be photographing classic cars, sporting events, or food. Whatever the choice of niche, it is always going to be vital. Choosing the wrong subject to sell can be as costly a mistake as a shop loading up on the wrong inventory.
What’s the Market Value of Your Niche?
When choosing a niche, it is important to consider how much that niche market is worth. The most obvious place to start is with the value of the images. Because different photographic subjects are used in different ways, the prices photographer can charge can vary too. Some photographic niches are more apt to appear in magazines while others may be more appropriate for commissioned work. Commercial work with corporate clients can, clearly, bring in a lot more revenue.
As you’re looking at a niche then, look too at how those sorts of images tend to be used by buyers. That should give you a good idea of the range of prices those pictures might be able to earn. Choose a niche whose only use is in an actor’s portfolio, for example, and you’ll know exactly how much you can expect to make from your images.
How Big is the Market for Your Niche?
The next big factor to consider is how big is the market for that particular niche worth. The size of the market will clearly be important too that’s only part of the information you need to know. The benefit of choosing a niche is that you’re competing against fewer photographers so, in addition to understanding the size of the market, you’ll also need to have an idea of how many photographers are contributing their images to it.
You won’t be able to pick up exact figures and these days every field is likely to feel at least a little crowded, but you can get an impression. Consider specializing in photographs of skateboarders, for example, and you’ll be able to make a list of every skateboard magazine as well as the main companies selling skateboard gear that might need photos. You might also be able to identify the main photographers supplying those images to see how broadly buyers are able to source them.
How Much Work is Involved to Shoot What You Love?
When choosing your niche think about how much work is going to be involved with this type of photography. Just as images in different markets might be used in different ways, so they require different amounts of work. Choose to specialize in macro-photography of flowers, for example, and you’ll need some special lenses but finding subjects should be easy. Specialize in images of whales, on the other hand, and getting out to the water and keeping your camera dry will mean solving some special logistical problems and spending lots of money on fancy gear.
All of that extra work has to be considered in the amount you charge, while buying the equipment up front is also an extra risk. In general, the more work and expense involved in shooting the images for your niche, the fewer competitors you’ll have and the higher the returns. A small niche can be a positive thing but you’ll also find that any losses could be higher too.
Image values and the size of the competition are all important but when it comes to choosing your specialty, nothing is more vital than how much you love the subject. Photography is an art and a creative career so the more that you love what you are photographing, the more that will appear in your work as a result of your devotion and passion. Because photography is always a competitive place to earn income, the best strategy is always to shoot what you love the most, then look for ways to sell the image. If you’re not successful at least you’ll have had a good time.
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