Find Your Photography Niche: Be Like Tim and Make a Living Focusing on Your Passion
A story of inspiration, luck, and buildings – lots of buildings.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the world of photography, where millions of people take pictures and hope to become the next Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz. Even though we all know about the greats and how much skill it takes to get to their level of fame, let's talk about something more attainable, shall we? What if I told you that instead of going for the moon, you could still make a name for yourself by taking shots of cheeseburgers, expensive shoes, or even – wait for it – buildings?
Specialization is the name of the game in the wonderful world of niche photography. Yes, you are right. You don't have to be good at everything to do well. In fact, it's much better to be the best at something special and less competitive.
And who better to show off this amazing thing than our favorite niche shooter from Chicago, Tim Thomsen, also known as the "Building Whisperer"?
Before we get into Tim's story, let's talk about why it makes sense to focus on a small part of the market. You see, if you work hard to improve your skills in a certain area, you not only become a master in that area, but you also build up a small group of clients who respect your unique skills. And you know what happens to your money when more people want to use your services, right? wink wink
Now, let's look at Tim's journey from being just another product shooter to the skyscraper-obsessed artist he is today.
Once upon a time, Tim was a photographer in Chicago. He was trying to make a name for himself in a market that was already full of shooters. Tim was a good shooter, so he tried different things. He took pictures of fashion shows, weddings, babies, and business headshots, among other things.
One day, Tim was taking pictures at yet another awkward business shooting, where smiling is more of a forced exercise than a natural reaction, when he saw something interesting. By chance, a local design company was looking for someone to take pictures of their current building project. Tim was interested, so he gave it a try, and boy, was he hooked!
As Tim pointed his camera at the city's beautiful buildings, he noticed that, unlike some of the people he had photographed before, buildings didn't complain about the lighting, didn't have bad hair days, and, perhaps most importantly, didn't ask him to Photoshop their pores away. He could concentrate on the art, the angles, and the lighting, and all of a sudden, his world of photography grew to include a lot more artistic options.
Tim's new goal after that was to become the best shooter for Chicago's building scene. By focusing on this market, he earned a reputation for being able to capture the beauty of buildings in all their uniqueness. Soon, builders, property developers, and real estate agents were knocking on his door, ready to pay him big bucks for his unmatched knowledge.
What's the lesson? When you focus, your value goes through the roof, and your money goes up with it.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "But what if I don't like buildings?" No problem! The great thing about niche photography is that there are so many different things to do. Do you like animals? Focus on taking pictures of pets! Are you crazy about food? Become a food photographer! Do shoes make your heart beat faster? So, my friend, step right up to shoe photos!
So, if you're just starting out or looking for a way to stand out in a busy world, here are some things you can do. There's no better time than now to find your talent in shooting and dive in with both feet. Who can say? You might even find a market that hasn't been touched yet and is ready for your unique touch.
Here are some quick tips to help you get to the top of your niche in photography:
Find your interest. To find a niche, you need to find something you really like taking pictures of. Think about what makes you happy, what gets you excited, or what you could shoot for hours without getting bored.
Look into the market: Find out how much people want your chosen field. Is there a chance you could become the most popular shooter in your area or even further away?
Develop your skills: Take classes, go to events, or just practice on your own to get better at what you do. Learn everything you can about your field to give your clients the best service possible.
Put your work on display: Make a resume that shows off your special skills and knowledge in your field. Share your work on social media, win contests, and connect with people who like the same things you do.
Promoting yourself: Tell people who might be interested in your niche photography services about them. This could mean reaching out to businesses, going to events in your field, or even calling potential buyers out of the blue. Remember that they can't hire you if they don't know you exist.
Be smart about how you price your services. When you specialize, you can often charge more for your knowledge, but make sure your prices are competitive in your area. Find out what other people in your field are charging by doing market research, and set your prices properly. You can set yourself apart from the competition and move up in your photography job by finding your area and focusing in a small part of the market. So, take a page from Tim Thomsen's book and follow your love, whether it's buildings, cheeseburgers, or shoes, and make a place for yourself in the vast and beautiful world of photography. And remember, once you've found your niche, the sky's the limit!