Sometimes people ask me what my “Photography Niche” is. Niche is a word I hear a lot today–especially in photography forums and in a business context. I have really mixed feelings about it. I sometimes have conversations with other photographers who feel like you must absolutely specialize in one type of photography to be successful. As in, you only photograph weddings. Or you only photograph babies. I have this one friend who always says to me, “Jack of all trades, Master of none.” If that is what someone wants to do, I think that is fabulous! I personally can’t. I just can’t bring myself to do that.
Niche: (1) a place or position suitable for a person or thing; (2) a distinct segment of the market.
Here is the thing. I consider my “photography niche” to be people. Like, I specialize in people. Because I genuinely enjoy photographing people. I don’t care how old they are. I don’t care what they are wearing. I don’t care what they are doing. They are all interesting to me, and I enjoy capturing them doing what they love. I love making them look the best they can look. I like following people from their wedding, to their first baby and watching their family grow. If I only photographed weddings, I would not be able to do that. I don’t want my entire working life to be about photographing women in white dresses. I don’t want to only photograph sleeping naked babies (although they are very cute). Is there really some ironclad rule somewhere that if a photographer only shoots weddings, that is all they should ever do? I feel like if you know your camera and you understand light, it does not really matter what you subject is wearing, how old they are or how many there are. It is kind of like when a wedding client comes in and asks if I have ever photographed at their venue before–doesn’t really matter because I know my equipment and lights. I can make your pictures look good at the Elks Club on a rainy day in the dead of winter.
To me, portrait photography is about making people look good. If you can do that in high school senior photos, you can do that in wedding photos. And newborn photos. Unless you just follow a specific cookie cutter approach and don’t understand your lighting and camera equipment. I find that photographing different genres helps me be a better photographer. I always say that the thing I love most about photography is that I never stop learning. That is what it is all about for me. So if you ask me what my photography niche is–it is people. People are my photography niche.