There are many categories in photography. And each of them has subcategories, and below these, sub-subcategories. So finding your place in photography isn’t easy—there are so many places to find. It often takes years before a photographer finds a style. But how will you know when you’ve found the right field for you? You might find the answer in today’s article—which contains a bit of philosophizing.
There are so many photographic fields and genres that it can be hard to even tell which is which, let alone picking one to focus on, or one that suits you best.
1. Relax And Let It Happen
In our article on beginners’ mistakes, we mentioned that many professionals and passionate photographers had roughly the same beginnings. Learning photographic skills takes time. Either you have incredible talent, the kind rarely seen, or you have to walk the walk—enormous work and years of practice before the results are worth it.
When starting out, a digital camera owner photographs everything. They photograph a lot. And they don’t think too much about it, because they like everything and they want to capture everything. Whether it’s a flower, a bug, a landscape, reportage, a portrait, a nude, or fashion, capture it since they are all great subjects for photography.
If you’re taking pictures of almost everything, it’s too early to find your field.
As time goes by and your mountain of deleted photos grows, you’ll stop taking certain kinds of pictures. Maybe, because they’re not where you excel. Or maybe, because you don’t enjoy them as much. You don’t do every category anymore; you have one or two less. Over time this will narrow your photographic space down to one or two categories, or perhaps photographic styles. You’re now getting close to the field that fits you best.
2. Keep Shooting, Keep Enhancing then Choose
Let’s say you have this first phase behind you. Now there’s a second phase. This one is for photographers with a real thirst to become better at all costs. If you’ve already picked a genre—let’s say it’s reportage photography—then ask yourself: what kind of reportage do I want to do? Documentary? Sports? Weddings?
The subcategories that you like most will come to you automatically. Or rather, will select themselves automatically. Ultimately, over time you’ll surely be able to choose a specific category you want to focus on.
But how can you tell which field fits you best?
You’ll find your place after thousands, or tens of thousands, of photos taken, edited, and published.
- The first sign that you’ve found the field that’s right for you is that you have more fun with it than with others. And your photos from that field are an order of magnitude better than your photos from other fields.
- Another sign is when people always ask you for a certain kind of photo. It might be mountain landscapes, or portraits of senior citizens, or nudes of svelte models. In short, 80 percent of the queries and requests you get are for one and the same topic—because the people around you see that you do the best work in that field. That’s probably the field that fits you best.
3. Don’t Stop Discovering Other Fields
Just because you’ve found your place in photography doesn’t mean that you should automatically turn against other genres.
For example, professional photographers also focus on the areas they do best. They’ve got their subcategories within a photographic genre they are pursuing or their livelihood.
But they also need to just take pictures for fun sometimes. And so, even professionals will oftentimes grab their cameras and do some hobby photography in a completely different field.
4. Snap and Never Stop
If you’re an enthusiast or a complete beginner who hasn’t yet found their field, that’s OK.
The main thing is to always keep taking pictures. And another thing: maintain the joy in your photography. It will shine through in your photos, and both you and your fans will notice it. And then in time, you may find you enjoy one type the most—and that means you’ve gently, naturally found your field.
Try the different fields of photography in the guidance of a proficient photographer like Colin Smith who can help you find where you excel. Check out the photography classes he offers today!