In my ongoing quest to streamline my portfolio and re-brand my photography business, one of my biggest challenges is figuring out what exactly is my style – or in other words – what is my photography niche?
In order to successfully market your work to art directors, the prevailing wisdom in the photography community is that you need to develop a personalized style to your work – something that is unique to you.
Of course, finding your personal photography niche is much more difficult than it seems – especially if you are just starting out. It takes time (and a lot of dead ends) before you start to see consistency in your portfolio and longer still before you can narrow that down to a specific photography niche.
So in this article, I am going to attempt to define my photography niche – and I challenge DIYP readers to submit a link to your own portfolio in the comments along with an explanation as to what you think your niche might be.
Is “Water Photographer” A Thing?
To define what I think is my personal photography niche, I am going to start with my Stocksy portfolio (a sample size of nearly 1000 photos).
This is a small proportion of my entire Lightroom catalog, but I think its a good place to start.
Most of what I submit to Stocksy is personal work – so for the most part these are photos that I wanted to create, photographed and processed in a style that I find personally appealing.
This is also a tightly curated collection – Stocky’s notoriously ruthless editors (who know a lot more about what an art director wants to see than I do) have decided that every image in my portfolio is marketable in some way.
So, looking through my galleries, there are a few tends that start to emerge.
First, I think that most of my work has a consistent style – colorful, sharp, mostly wide angle and with people. I would also say a tad contrived and static.
I know that I am much more comfortable photographing manufactured moments rather than genuine spontaneous moments, so unfortunately I can see that reflected in my work (its something I’m working on).
I also like to think of myself as an “action sports” guy – but besides a few rock climbing photos, I just don’t see that in my portfolio. I see more of a retired action sports guy who now has two kids and a house in the suburbs (go figure).
Finally, when I look through my gallery categories – there is one category that seems to define my work… Water.
Nearly 50% of my entire portfolio contains images that were taken in, in front of, beside, or under water.
(I had no idea that water figures so prominently in my work – although I probably should have guessed – every time I go camping in the southwest it subconsciously stresses me out that there is no flowing water in the creeks).
I guess that makes me a “Water Photographer”.
What Is Your Photography Niche?
What do you think – is “water photographer” accurate – or do I need to narrow that down more?
What is your photography niche?
Leave a comment below with a link to your portfolio and a description of what you think your photography style represents.
I think it will be interesting to see how we define ourselves vs. how others view our work.
(And be nice – mean comments will be deleted).