When you are starting your career as a photographer, figuring out what kind of photography you want to do is probably one of the hardest decissions to make. There are so many different categories! And most of the times the type of photography you enjoy is not necessarily the one you end up working in. When I finally made the decission to become a photographer I really had no idea of the kind of photography I wanted to take. I had been taking travel, street, architectural and landscape photography for years but I never saw any of those as possible career paths for me. It seems as if it would have been easy deciding what to do since at least I knew what I didn’t want to do. Wrong. Photography is such a versatile career that the possibilities are endless.
In order to make it easier for me to pick I decided to make a list of all the types of photography I could think of and then group them into very generic categories:
- Nature: wildlife, landscape - photos you would see on National Geographic.
- Travel: photos you would see on travel guides.
- Street: photos taken in public spaces mostly as a study of the human condition.
- Photojournalism: news, documentaries - photos you would see on newspapers.
- Corporate: portraiture, PR - photos you would see on corporate documents, websites and newsletters.
- Events: parties, celebrities, red carpet, live performances, graduations.
- Wedding: no need to explain.
- Retail: family, babies, pets, portraits.
- Sports: photos you would see on newspapers or sports publications.
- Architectural: photos used by architects firms or the ones you would see on Architectural Digest.
- Stock: photography produced to license for others to use and reuse.
- Food: photos you would see on restaurant menus or food magazines.
- Fine Art: photos you would see on galleries.
- Commercial: product, advertisement - photos you would see on campaigns, catalogues or ads.
- Fashion: photos you would find on lookbooks or fashion magazines.
- Specialty: scientific, archival.
- Other: glamour, porn, paparazzi.
Making this list and grouping all these types of photography into very generic groups made it easier for me to know which ones I would like to try and which ones I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing. Since I had already tried Architecture, Street, Nature and Travel, I narrowed down the list to Portraiture (Corporate and Retail), Food, Commercial and Fashion. Now, it was a matter of just trying out each type and deciding on one. Of course, I could have chosen all the types of photography that I wanted because one type doesn’t exclude the others and there are many of them that are related or that require similar skills. But trying to be a Wedding / Sports / Food / Fashion Photographer would have only made me a Jack of all trades, master of none…
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