The pursuit in finding a photography niche is something that most photographers will experience at some stage or another.
Initially, I remember feeling very overwhelmed by the task as an amateur photographer. I had so many ideas and interests, and I was yet to narrow down one particular genre of photography to focus all of my attention.
I certainly had never considered fashion photography at such a young age, though I loved interesting conceptual imagery, macro and travel photography too.
Following the status quo.
From the beginning I’ve had the statement of ‘find a niche,’ drummed into me by teachers, parents and even colleagues. Every part of my career had to have a single focus, never straying to be the ‘Jack of all trades but master of none.’
This used to be the thing that I avoided like the plague. I couldn’t tell you how many conversations I had with fellow photographers that centred around this exact statement. I wanted to focus on something that I was known for being good at, not several genres where my skills were simply deemed ‘okay.’
These days, I find myself thinking about things in a slightly different way. Though I feel there is some truth to these statements and benefits to finding a niche, I think there’s more to this than first appears.
As creatives, we tend to spend our time and energy on careers that give us something new each day. We thrive in environments where the challenge is always new and exciting, there are endless possibilities and you can escape the mundane elements of the usual 9am-5pm job.
But what happens when you focus on only one thing? What happens when you pick that one niche to channel your attention for the next 30-40 years? Granted, not all people see their careers in this light. Though a lot of the information out there points to this very career structure, which I feel is why it’s important to discuss.
Consider new opportunities.
I prefer these days to view my career as something that isn’t set in stone.
The world is constantly changing and evolving, and perhaps it would be naive to think that your only niche may be relevant or even viable in the next 40 years. The simple fact is, we need to be able to change and adapt with the world.
Personally, I love the new challenges that await me with photography. I love learning new things, creating new imagery and thinking of those next concepts.
I love what I would consider to be one of my niches, beauty photography. Though if I was to say to myself, ‘You’ll be doing only Beauty Photography for the next 40 years,’ I don’t think I could handle that kind of pressure to do only one thing for so long.
I like to stick to a new sentiment these days, and it happens to be, ‘keeping my options open.’ I tend to like the sound of it a lot more.
This allows me to view my career path with a bit of focus, but if the opportunity arises for me to learn something new or to explore a new genre of photography, I can wholeheartedly lean into it. Even if it’s something very different to photography, such as video or illustration, some of my other interests and hobbies.
What about related fields?
Expanding into related fields is something that I feel should also be discussed amongst photographers. For me, retouching, product photography and video are all areas that make sense for me to learn more about. This is something that is not only great for getting the creative juices flowing, it’s also a smarter move financially.
I don’t believe in this day and age that focusing on one single thing forever and a day is a great move for creativity, and I don’t think it’s a great move business-wise either.
If I had never branched out into YouTube education, or retouching, or beauty photography, I truly don’t believe I would have the business I have today, (or the variety within the business!)
So yes, though I feel it’s important in a sense to narrow down your interests to what you love doing, I don’t feel that you should pick a niche and stick to it forever. We only have one life, which to me really puts things into perspective, I know personally I want to have more than one option for my career creatively and financially.
If you’re feeling lost with the stress of finding your niche or what you love to do. Take a step back, and take all the time you need. Follow what feels right, and don’t feel like you have to always restrain yourself as a creative. Because as a creative, you should never stop learning.
Until next time! x