Tell a stranger that you’re a photographer, and you’ll likely get a response along the lines of, “That’s so cool! Can you take photographs for my wedding/birthday party/portfolio/fill in blank here?” The answer is yes, of course you could, but do you really want to? Working within a niche will allow you to really get to know all of the tools available to you, giving you more freedom to explore nuances in content and technique, and it makes marketing a whole lot easier, too. Whether you’re a professional photographer looking for a new skillset to master or a dabbler who’d like to dabble in something different, these are five unique photography niches it might be fun, interesting, or potentially profitable to explore.
The pet industry is host to far more than just vets and pet food producers. There are pet trainers, pet psychologists, pet masseuses, pet hypnotherapists and more, all because pet owners want the best for their furry (or slimy/scaly) little friends.
This is a great niche for any photographer who not only loves animals but also has a good grasp of their behavior and personality, as well as the pet-pet owner relationship. This skillset will help a pet photographer snap a photo at just the right moment when shooting in a natural setting, and to create a studio that will bring out the best. Pet photographers will also benefit from taking pet training classes (especially in the dog arena, as the clientele will be dominated by canines) to be able to speak the basic lingo to keep animals in check.
When approached strategically, stock photography can be a lucrative and stimulating niche. Unlike in other niches, where you might find inspiration in any number of ways, your best bet is to start by exploring a stock photography site to see what categories and approaches are already flooded, using that to steer your subject matter.
Shoot things from unexpected angles, do a unique twist on an old theme, and stay far away from anything that crops up in Google when you search “stock photography memes.” From there, choose a site with a compensation model that works for you, think strategically about your keywords, get your models releases in order, and let your number of downloads guide you towards the best categories for you.
This is one niche that rarely goes out of style no matter what the state of the economy, as businesses will always need to promote their products visually. Start either by taking a class or by studying what’s out there. What techniques do you see on websites and in magazines? What subjects seem the most in demand? How is lighting used strategically to highlight the most compelling parts of the product? What do different materials demand from the photographer? It’s often best to start with a professional internship before making the leap on your own so you can learn your craft by both watching and doing.
Boudoir photography is a fun, playful, rewarding niche for photographers with the right eye and mentality. To thrive in this market, it’s important to understand why clients, who will be predominately female, commission such photos.
Some women, for instance, go to boudoir to celebrate their bodies, their sexuality, their empowerment and their freedom, while others are about to experience a change in life like pregnancy and want to document that moment either before, during, or after. Understanding and empathizing with this motivation will help you take more intelligent photos that bring to the forefront what the client is seeking, while also imbuing your photos with your own distinctive style. Do it simply, do it well, and your client list will be packed.
Image is everything in business, and so corporate and event photography continually proves to be a thriving niche. This can mean taking a portrait of the CEO that highlights their strength and compassion; it can mean snapping that unexpected photo from the stage at the company Christmas bash; or it can simply mean going from table to table, documenting just how fun that company can be. Businesses use these photos in brochures, on their websites, in their PR material, and in just about as many places as you can imagine.
No matter what your interests, there is a photography niche for everyone. You might want to experiment with a few before settling into one, but once you do, you’ll find yourself having more fun and making more money than when you were trying to be a generalist.
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