By Chamira Young
Photographers of all niches, fame levels, and experience levels often find their chosen specialty evolving over time. Sometimes it can take months or even years to figure out how you should grow your business, and here’s another shocking idea: it can change! Yes, it’s true. Your specialty can change over time as your grow as an artist.
With it being the end of the year, now is the perfect time for some old fashioned introspection. Here are three questions to periodically ask yourself in order to identify which direction you should take your business moving forward into the new year and beyond.
1. What Are the Images You Like Looking at Most?
What you find yourself looking at in your free time is usually a very telling bit of information. What websites and social media accounts are you following closely because of their imagery? Are there particular photo books you enjoy flipping through? Are these images in the same niche as yours, or is your subconscious trying to tell you something?
You don’t have to just be one thing. Sure, there are niches that fit together better than others, but if you are feeling pressure to do a certain type of photography and find yourself scanning, scrolling, and wishing you could do something else through other creative outlets, it might be time to rethink your business trajectory.
Also, looking through the past images you’ve taken for fun can be a great way to help identify possible future niches you can focus on. Using Excire Search can help you find past images you may have forgotten about from your vacation photos or event photos, just to name a couple examples. Never overlook the photos you’ve taken in the past. They provide valuable insight into what your passions might be.
2. Where Do You Like to Photograph?
Next, think of where you enjoy photographing. Does the idea of walking out into a wild field make you dread the bugs or fill you with excitement? When you think about going into a local business and taking headshots, does it energize you to be within an office setting or make you feel trapped? Listen to your body and your instincts.
Photography is a hard job and requires a lot more, physically, than some might realize. You are constantly bending, picking things up, walking, and kneeling. If you enjoy working outside, headshots might not be the right specialty for you, while landscapes might not be a specialty for someone who has a low tolerance for the outdoors.
3. What Kind of Subjects Do You Like to Shoot?
Another major aspect is your subject matter. Do you enjoy working with people or prefer placing objects? Do you enjoy posing couples or taking images of wild skylines? Both clearly have their pros and cons, but sometimes people choose one over another simply because they think it’s easier, and then fall into something they aren’t necessarily passionate about.
It’s not divisive to make a choice between humans or objects or “things”. It’s simply an important distinction to make. If you have been working with people and are exhausted day after day dealing with the challenges that come with humans, you might consider changing your specialty to something you can more easily control. Likewise, if you are missing fulfillment while you photograph animals or food dishes, consider testing the waters photographing people.
The overall lesson here: don’t be afraid to change your direction! You want to feel challenged, creative, and gleeful to get behind the camera. You shouldn’t feel stuck with the decision you made when you first started your business. The best businesses morph into something greater year after year, and knowing you can become more specialized in new niches gives you, the owner, full control.