Like other art forms, photography branches out to several styles or niches that require a mastery of different skills. Remember that photography is technically painting images out of light, and what you decide to paint out of it is still your choice. Even professionals know that there is an assumption from other people that any photographer can take great photos of landscapes, events, and portraits -- all at the same time. However, that is not necessarily true. A portrait photographer can be an expert at taking pictures of people who are still and directed, but not necessarily great at taking photos of events where people are on the move.
With that in mind, it is important that you choose a niche from the get-go, especially if you intend to make a profession out of photography. This means that you do not have to be an expert at everything, but be a master in some photography skills. The technical use of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is consistent across all types of photography, but how you combine these will define what your work will look like. Keep in mind that your settings will depend heavily on what kind of pictures you wish to capture.
If you want to know how to choose the best type of photography for your career, here are some of the most popular photography types that you can choose from:
1. Portrait Photography
Undoubtedly one of the more explored niches right now, portrait photography is very accessible now that there are high-end smartphones that can capture great portraits. By definition, it is the art of taking pictures of people in their natural elements and genuine personalities. Graduation, newborn, and magazine photography all fall under this type. Across all, photos are used to represent the person for display or professional use.
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2. Landscape Photography
Landscape photography is done mostly by traveling photographers who get the chance to travel to places with great views. Subjects are often mountains, hills, forests, or falls. A common misconception is that the great outdoors can only be captured horizontally, but depending on the situation, vertical shots are also great.
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3. Still Life Photography
Still life photography is simply taking photos of objects. This niche is mainly practiced for product photos for advertising and marketing. It can be a simple object or a combination of objects taken in a well-lit environment. Commonly, still life photographers have a light box in their studio to make sure that all angles of the object are well-lit with diffused light. The key here is great lighting minus the harsh shadows.
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4. Food Photography
Like still life photography, food photography is professionally used for commercial purposes. It's goal is to make any food look mouthwatering and delicious. This field may require some investments. You may have to purchase great lighting equipment, props, and accessories like the MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit, which you can use for awesome splash photography. For this niche, you will have to master composition, lighting, and color manipulation during post-processing.
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5. Event Photography
Event photographers enjoy the benefit of moving workplaces every shoot. It is a very fun type of photography, giving you a chance to network and be in a new place every time. However, it is also very high-pressure and high-stress. Event photographers are often tasked to document once in a lifetime moments, including weddings, concerts, graduations, or birthdays. Clients expect the best results, which can be met with a lot of planning and collaborating with them. Great event photographers are very organized and can grace under a lot of pressure. They are also big purchasers of extra gear, like tripods, lighting equipment, flashguns, and a versatile camera trigger like the MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger among others.
6. Street Photography
A successful street photographer has a keen eye for detail and is very sensitive to his or her environment. These photographers can create artistic pictures in a busy street or place with a lot of things happening. Some of them wait on a corner until something interesting catches their eyes. Needless to say, they are naturally observant, patient, and discreet when shooting. Street photographers often carry a mirrorless camera because they are smaller than DSLRs. A prime lens, typically a 50mm or 35mm, is usually what they use. They are masters of light and composition and embrace imperfections because of the raw nature of the niche.
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7. Weather Photography
Weather photography requires some knowledge of reading storms and choosing a great spot to wait for lightning to strike, so to speak. They are also very skilled, knowing which settings to dial up and down depending on how the light looks like. Weather photographers scout the area and how to keep themselves safe during the shoot.
To begin your career in weather photography, get ready to master your camera’s settings and invest in a durable tripod, a camera cleaning kit, a rain cover, and a high-speed camera. If this is not readily available to you, you can choose to have a MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, which has a lightning mode that is perfect for weather photography.
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Photojournalism’s primary purpose is to capture photographs that will be published for a significant news event. Photojournalists are usually with a media outfit or affiliated with magazines and book publishers. Because their photos are published, photographers tend to be paid well, making this niche a very lucrative one.
These eight niches are just some of the multitude of choices you have. How to choose one niche to stick to? There is really no other answer to this other than to try each one out. See which ones you enjoy, and which one you do not. The important thing in this process is to find which one you enjoy doing despite the difficulties. Initially, you do not have to settle in just one niche and practice all that you enjoy. However, if you intend to be a great photographer, you will eventually have to choose just one that you can improve and evolve into a career in the future. A few questions that you will have to ask yourself: What skills do I have? What equipment will I have to buy? Does this niche fit my personality? Is it something that I will be enjoying in the long run?
Keep these in mind when you finally find yourself in the position of having to choose one for your professional career. Once you have found the niche that suits you, build a portfolio. Above all else, it is still your product that will set you apart from any photographer, no matter what niche you will be in.
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