The best thing about being a beginner and aspiring photographer is that you are free to explore virtually every photography niche there is. Fashion, photojournalism, sports, events—armed with a camera, you can try it all out and improve your skill at the same time.
Instead of being the Jack of all trades, pick a photography niche (or sub-niche) below and slowly work your way up to success.
Portraiture is arguably the most explored niche or genre in photography. Today, virtually anybody with a smartphone practices portrait photography as it’s become natural to hold and aim the camera at a person.
Also known as candid photography, the beauty in portrait photography is in capturing a person’s personality, sometimes with the use of poses. Professional photographers in this niche normally photograph supermodels or famous personalities on red carpets or at magazine shoots, but in some cases, they also do graduation pictures, family portraits, and professional headshots for aspiring models and actors.
For a more compelling portrait, make sure to get close enough to capture the person’s facial expression clearly.
Still Life Photography
As the name entails, this popular photography niche mainly involves taking photos of objects. It crosses over to product photography, through which advertising agencies have branded items photographed for catalogs, magazines, and even billboards. You can feature just one main product or several that follow a central theme, just like in the photo above.
One of the secrets in taking amazing still life photos is to have great lighting, whether outdoor or indoor. In product photography, many photographers use a light box, in which they place the item so that it gets illuminated from all angles with diffused light to eliminate harsh shadows.
Those who love to travel have surely taken a lot of landscape photos. Contrary to popular belief, this genre is not limited to horizontal photos, as it may be necessary to shoot vertically when capturing tall trees, mountains, and anything else that you may feel compelled to capture while exploring the great outdoors.
Fortunately, this generation also offers us more creative possibilities by making it so much easier to capture aerial drone shots for a bird’s eye view of landscapes, as opposed to just ground level. But for more dramatic shots, you’ll need to upgrade from your smartphone or compact digital camera, invest in a better camera, and use the right lenses for landscape photography.
Event photography is a wide and popular niche that includes many specific kinds of events, such as concerts, birthdays, corporate meetings, and even weddings. It usually involves a mix of different photography techniques as you may be taking pictures of everything from people and their candid moments to the venue and the food.
What makes a good portfolio for this genre is knowing how to tell a story with your pictures, rather than just covering the event itself. It will obviously take a lot of practice, particularly in dealing with people and covering a specific type of event. You’ll also need a variety of lenses to successfully bag each shot in your “shot list” and not miss any important moments.
Stock photography is another growing niche in today’s new generation of professional photographers. Stock photographers supply and sell photos that will be licensed for specific uses. Although it’s been around for centuries, the market for stock photos has increased significantly due to the growing demand for it in blogs, websites, and for digital marketing purposes.
It’s not exactly one of the most popular, but it can be a good source of income. It allows you to work for yourself at your convenience. Plus, you get passive income from repeat sales—that is, if you don’t mind taking a lot of pictures and not being able to really explore your artistic freedom.