Before digital photography most photographers would work in several areas. The average photographer would be a wedding photographer, a portrait photographer, they would take photos of anything that people asked them to take. There weren’t a lot of differences in what one photographer did, compared to another. If you look back on old family portraits, there wasn’t a lot of differences between one photographer and the next. That isn’t to say that there weren’t photographers who worked in a unique style, but they were rare. There was a way to take photos of a family, of an individual or of a wedding party. The lighting was much the same with all them, and most had the same backgrounds or back drops.
So with the advent of digital photography and DSLR’s becoming affordable, there has been a big increase in the number of people with cameras, and calling themselves photographers. Do they do good photos, well, this isn’t the place for me to say, I will leave that to you, but it has meant that those people who are qualified or have worked for years in the industry have to find a way to stand out from those people.
Recently I attended a workshop on Marketing and I asked the person taking it how someone like me can make a living in photography when there are so many people out there trying to be photographers, and his response was, “you need to find a Niche market”.
So what is a Niche Market, according to Wikipedia it is defined as the following:
A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing. The market niche defines the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact. It is also a small market segment.
What does that mean for you, or for me? It means we have to find a area in photography and specialise in it. Being a photographer that does everything seems to be the old way of doing things. I don’t know how true that is, but it does seem to be something that we are heading towards.
There are so many areas in photography that photographers can specialise in. We know that the main areas are wedding, portrait, architectural, landscape, still life, food, macro, sports, wildlife, etc, I can’t think of anymore. However, in each of those there are many other types as well. Take sports photography, a photographer could specialise in one sport only, because incredibly good at that sport. I had a photographer tell me a few years ago that there was a time that a sports photographer took photos of many sports, but these days it is best to specialise in one or two. It was interesting.
So I suppose we all ask ourselves how this works for us. I decided some time ago that I was going to be a Fine Art Photographer, and that is how I market myself. I specialise in portraits and in architecture. They overlap and that is good, but they can also be very separate. I have added wedding photos to it, but they will be fine art images as well. I work a certain way and my clients understand that and want that type of portrait.
So do you have a niche that you are trying to get into?