Types of photography – 10 photography niches to help you thrive
Since modern photography evolved there are many types of photography and photography niches you cannot count. If you are just starting in photography, it is a bit confusing which niche to focus on and which types of photography can be the most profitable as a photographer.
In this post, we will largely speak about two main subjects: Embracing photography without a specific niche and focusing on a niche. This will also include extra 10 types of photography and niches to focus.
What is the difference between a type of photography and a niche?
There is no considerable difference between a photography type and photography niche other than a photography type is a style of photography by dividing the photography as a whole into multiple types, while a niche is a recursive focus on a specific style while gaining and developing experience with it.
To best represent this answer, imagine a doctor. A doctor cannot be good at all and master everything, therefore, most of the doctors are in a niche such as a cardiologist, pedriatic or neurologist.
#1. Embracing photography as being a non-niche photographer
Some photographers do not focus on a specific niche while some other they are specialised an experienced with years behind while mastering the whole process. It is wrong if you are not focus on a niche? No. Absolutely not!
Among the photographers, there are some people including myself who see photography as a whole and not divided. We simply love to take our camera outside and start shooting different subjects, in different locations. If there’s an event to attend, we do some event photographs; if we travelled to a beautiful area, we do a bit of landscape or nature photography. And if somebody asks to take some portrait photographs to their family, we do it.
It is not wrong, but still…
Being a photographer without mastering a niche would slow your process of developing yourself into a specific type of photography. Life is way too short to be able to master all niches in photography. That is a pure fact, to be honest.
And we have to talk about photographic passion. What do you love to do more? a specific type of photography or everything whenever possible? Specialising for only one type of photography would help you develop yourself on that specific niche.
Don’t be afraid to
The main question is: What do you enjoy doing? Do you like taking portrait photographs, or maybe landscape? what about attending all nearby events and taking stunning photographs and submitting them to local newspapers?
Or maybe you love to take aerial photography or experiment into fine-art? I’ve been through all of the above and is a bit frustrating to consider the fact that I am not minded to go specifically for something because I would not enjoy it anymore after a while?
But finding your niche and doing only a type of photography, it doesn’t mean that you are NOT allowed to do other types of photography? Eh… wrong. That is wrong thinking which was induced into my head by a person who was simply trying to ‘advise me’ to pick my “side”
Is not just like that. What you are enjoying the most to do, that you should do it.
Below I will write a few main points to consider if you should niching your photography passion or not, and further to discuss largely about some specific niches in photography
Why (when) you should pick up a specific niche in photography
- You love to do a specific type of photography more than anything else.
- You want to specialise yourself only into a specific niche
- Looking to be recognised as a type of photographer to earn money (e.g. wedding photographer)
- Want a specific portfolio or website for your type of photography
- Your location allows you to do that (e.g. surfing photography or wildlife)
- You care about SEO. (point 4)
- You are willing to invest time and money into your niche
In what case should you NOT go for a specific niche in photography
- You are not decided yet. Take your time, no matter how long
- You love to capture what you see in front of your eyes
- Don’t care about money too much (still, you can be productive)
- Want to have a personal mixed portfolio, like me.
- You travel and want to capture everything you see (candid, architecture, landscape, streets, aerial and so on)
I include myself in this category of not going for a specific niche in photography for the moment. But why?
Let me add up a normal day for me in photography.
“I am at home and have some free time off work, deciding to grab my camera and my drone, but I don’t have a plan where to go or what to photograph, yet.
On the google maps, there is a city 50 miles away. Grabbing my gear, I get into the car and drive there.
The city is on the seaside. I take my camera, put it on a tripod and slide in some ND filters. In front of my eyes, there is a beautiful pier into the sea with waves crashing into the pillars and some rocks nearby.
I take some 30 seconds excellent exposure with the silky sea to the pier. I pack my tripod and filters, grab my camera and head into the city.
While walking around, I see some beautiful sculpture I would love to take some photos. So I do it. There is some event nearby and decide to take more shots.
I walk throughout the streets of that city, and I take another dozen of photographs.
As I walk around, I see a nice lady with a beautiful dog. I ask her If I can take some photographs of her dog, and she agrees.
I keep walking around and get outside of some castle ruins. Good photos indeed. More, from that place, I can see all the city because it is situated on a hill. So I place my camera on the tripod and take some cityscape with the sea and pier.
However, this place is fantastic to lift my drone and take some aerial photography, which I do.
Further, the sunset is due. From inside the city, there’s a street with the view towards the pier and the sunset above it — a stunning place to take another series of photographs.
The night is due. Some women ask me outside of a club if I can take some photos of them. Limited in light, I do it, and I send to them.
Night street photographs, the river from a bridge during the night and many other subjects I could find.
Later, I jump in the car and head towards home. However, on the way, I take a country lane and stop into a place far away from any light pollution. You can see the milky way with your eyes. Stunning, isn’t it?
I grab one fast prime wide lens, put on my camera, put it on the tripod and take a series of exposures to the milky way, which later at home I stack them into photoshop.”
I had a full productive day of taking pictures of what I’ve seen in front of my eyes. If I were specialised for a specific niche of photography, I would be making only street or landscape photography, not all of the above. This is the concept of some short-minded photographers I had the chance to talk to them, pushing me to do a single type of photography if I want to be an expert. I am not one of them. I enjoy the photography as a whole.
Of course, we can slightly classify what I’ve done into “travel photography” but is not exactly as that. I enjoy the process of taking photographs, more or less to everything I see.
Some other people would prefer to have a career from this. I do not. I photograph for my self, my website, social media and my personal portfolio.
That is the difference between going for a niche in photography and not.
I don’t want to destroy my passion for taking photographs by commercialising myself into a specific niche for money.
#2. But now, let’s talk largely about focusing on a photography niche.
Now let’s try to see the concept of being a photographer from a different perspective, such as focusing on a photography niche.
When focusing yourself on a specific niche in photography, one thing is for sure: You will get experience pretty quick, you can master that niche in no time.
The process of learning photography on your chosen niche (e.g. portrait photography) is not only faster but all the techniques you can remember and skills learned are more widespread than being a non-niche photographer.
One pure example is that whenever I was doing astrophotography (although I am not specialised in this niche, I had some experience with it), I knew everything how to do from the top of my head. Nowadays, I did it again, and although I was able to remember the main elements, I forgot crucial information in special when it was about post-processing, which made me look over tutorials and guides to be able to do it again.
If I was focused on this niche (astrophotography), not only that I had the opportunity to invest into some good “astrogear” rather than some good lenses for general photography, but I could (or you could) dominate the niche and being able to be on the top along with big photographer names.
Not to mention that you will be able to get some contracts with some magazines or websites where you can sell your images and have not only an income but as I’ve said, a rename.
This is one of the key factors of having a niche rather than being just a “general photographer”.
Further, I want to talk about 10 niches in photography where you can thrive, even if you just started in photography
10 niches in photography where you can thrive
Because I’ve mentioned this above and already started to speak about it, I want to consider the first Astrophotography as being an absolute unique niche which not only gives you the possibility to take photographs beyond your imagination but to see the universe through different eyes
Being an astrophotographer is not easy at all. You can start by doing milky way photographs with a good prime lens but you will want to extend yourself with a good DSLR and telescope, an equatorial mount and vast knowledge about astronomy, celestial bodies, post-processing, money to invest and so many other factors which can depend on being a successful astrophotographer.
One another thing you want to consider if you love astrophotography is your home location. As an instance, if you live in central London, the chances that you are becoming an astrophotographer are slimmer than living on a remote village far away from any major city and light pollution, which is a key of getting into astrophotography.
One photography niche which requires more than to have a setup of good gear for taking landscape photographs is to have a lot of dedication and passion towards photographing landscapes and patience is a key factor altogether with consistency.
If you like to travel even for hours and wait another couple of hours only to be able to take a few good landscape photographs, this is the right niche for you.
Landscape photography is a wide-spread niche in photography and the possibilities are limitless due to every photographer’s vision of seeing a landscape with different eyes.
In the relation of this niche with earnings, it is relatively hard to earn money as a landscape photographer, considering the time-consuming scenario where you have to spend hours if not days to get a few good-resulted photos. But with the right contract with the right companies or magazines which they are looking for amazing photographs to be delivered by you, you can stand a chance.
It is not an easy journey. If you love landscape photography only for social media and you do not try to convert your passion into a business, this can work very well for you.
Fine Art Photography
When we think about fine art we have to think about ‘what is your artistic orientation as a photographer’? How do you define to be fine art photography, and is there a way of making an earning out of it?
On another post, a review about a 50mm lens I wrote a description about how to use that lens in fine-art, describing fine art to be “the ability to work with photography as being an form of art, to create art with what you see in your mind as an artist and what you photograph, to send a message through photography, emotions, to express creativity.“
This photography niche of fine-art is an expression of the photographer on how he sees things in his mind, therefore, fine-art photography can have unlimited meanings and ways to interpret and express creativity.
From creativity, you can earn money. There are many ways you can have a good income into this niche in photography but none is an easy way to approach. From displaying and selling your fine-art photographs on the internet, printing, or even collaborating with a fine-art magazine, seems to be few of the options you can earn money as a fine art photographer.
As a wildlife photographer, you will be able to see the beauty of nature itself as not many people have the opportunity to see it. Moreover, to photograph.
You need to be very patient as a wildlife photographer and have some basics understanding of biology and the ecosystem. Not always those skills are required but it does help you better identify species of wildlife rather than “I took an amazing photo of a bird, but I have no idea which one it is.”
About gear? Not so much investment in comparison with some other niches in photography. A good camera with a good super-telephoto lens will do the trick, but remember, wildlife will probably not gonna be around the back of your house, so you will have to travel as a wildlife photographer, sometimes a lot. This involves expenses, which, at the beginning can be over the budget of the majority of new photographers.
In relation to earning money from wildlife photography, there will be always ways to do that in special in collaboration with well-known international magazines. But to get there is not an easy way, therefore you should start smaller.
Also, in wildlife photography, you will simply not know when your next photograph is going to be a jackpot. It is only a matter of time in relation to a matter of skill and patience.
Is it your passion as a photographer to photograph showbiz stars and actors? Well, photojournalism is not only about that but requires a lot of travelling.
A photojournalist in the middle of an on-going war which captures pictures from inside the war is probably one of the best-paid jobs in the world as a photographer. But what are the risks involved?
And for any other services as a photojournalist, you either have to be employed somewhere or take the whole business matter on your own hand which can be above your power of being your own boss, which is something most of us aims as photographers.
From local magazines and newspaper to national or even international ones, websites, prints, articles, microstock and more, a street photographer can always find his or her way easily in providing amazing quality pictures from inside the modern cities.
I remember I had some street photographs which I submitted to some local newspapers for an article, providing me with an extra boost of exposure as a local photographer. But of course, where do you set your standards can be your decision.
A street photographer always will have new composition or elements to photograph in “the natural environments of a city”, this in special if you are living your life in a big metropolitan city.
With portrait photography can be simple or less simple. The basic gear to get started in portrait photography should not be that expensive but if you are aiming for more, think about multiple lenses or cameras, lights, assistant to hire, a studio maybe.
Earning with portrait photography can be both ways. You can either earn money, have a TFP contract or you pay your models to take shots for your portfolio.
There are multiple ways you can earn as a portrait photographer, one of them being magazines or stock photography.
In stock photography the portrait photographs are high-demanding and you can earn a good amount of money if you have a large portfolio (as long as your model sign a release form, of course)
Who does not love aerial photographs? Oh boy. Do you remember like a decade ago how hard it was for any of us to be able to take aerial photographs? Make it two decades and it was impossible without to hire a helicopter.
The drone technology evolves at an alarming rate, making the drones available for anyone with a bit of investment therefore on the day of today you can thrive as a drone photographer.
Keep in mind that the market will be quickly saturated with people with drones, but new laws and regulations reflecting drones and drone pilots are released every year in nearly every country, therefore this will be much harder for a regular person to be a drone pilot.
If you love aerial photography what is the main reason you are thinking twice to start even a business with a commercial licence? If this you really wish, nothing should stop you!
360 and VR Photography
In the day of today, virtual reality represent one step closer to the future. Not only about virtual reality, but 360-degree photography is a new thing which came into the market recently and is over-demanding.
How can you earn any money with this type of photography? Well, first you have to be smart. There are applications which can construct 3D map properties virtual tours using 360 photography.
I see this in the next few years where most of the real estates, restaurants or business will update their website system creating a virtual tour to their properties.
Those property maps are created using 360 photography in different software. Customers will be able to freely explore the property remotely before viewing.
Or even more, photographers can create a 360 virtual tour of any places.
I do not know much about this market saturation at the moment but this is something in the future will thrive and can earn photographers a lot of money.
It is relatively hard to create those 360 photographs using traditional DSLR cameras, therefore, you will need to invest in good quality 360 cameras to be able to do that.
On YouTube, there are plenty of videos highlighting this, have a look at this one (is not mine, external link) – How to make a virtual tour with any 360 camera
You thought I won’t get there? Well, here I am. I never put wedding photography on my first plan and yes indeed this is probably the best way any photographer can earn money and develop a business but beware of the stress level you have to endure, the equipment you have to invest into and so many other factors.
But being a wedding photographer is probably the best way to kill your passion as a photographer. I do not know anyone who is doing this by pure passion rather than for money.
There are times when you can have plenty of requests in a single month and there can be times when months can pass without a single client.
If your dream is to be a wedding photographer, other than a good amount of high-quality gear, time, an assistant and a strong willing to do that, you also need to have some savings for the “rainy days”.
Uh Oh! Conclusion?
In life as a photographer you have two options: Focus on a niche, get experience and thrive or be a photographer by passion and enjoy all types of photography as long as they are into humanly and budget limits.
Which one is your option? Share it with us by leaving a comment in the section below. Stay tuned for more!
If you want, you can read a few of my related articles below:
- Prime vs Zoom Lenses, in-depth guide
- Can you earn money with stock photography?
- What is Spot (Selective) Colour Photography?
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