The conversation usually goes like this:
THEM: What do you do?
ME: I'm a photographer.
THEM: Me, too!
ME: Yeah, what do you shoot.
I just love that conversation. I usually comes from new photographers dreaming of the overnight success of becoming a world famous photographer. It's really not that simple.
I'm wary of the "Everythingist". Not that I haven't been there, but I've learned. Very briefly I was an "Everythingist".
When I decided to do this for a living I would shoot everything. Wrong! Always, always reading about finding your niche in photography. I made a few attempts at everything and realized everything didn't fit. At first it was everything, then everything but weddings. I love shooting events, but I won't touch a wedding. Then I would do lifestyle portraits. Turns out posing people really wasn't my thing. And I got tired of the old "I hate having my picture taken." I mean, if you hate having your picture taken, you're not going to like any picture any photographer takes and makes. So yeah, lifestyle portraits left that list really fast.
I also realized that animals were quickly leaving the list. While I got some great shots working with the animal refuge that started all of this, and I loved working with those animals, I found there was a huge difference between shooting a rescue animal and shooting a pet. While I could do it, it really stopped being one of those fun, wonderful things I loved. Yet I'll shoot the Dog Fair any day because the nature of the beast (not just the animals) is completely different. And I'll shoot rescues in a heartbeat.
The one thing I did know from the beginning of all of this is that I loved shooting art. Which is sort of an everything thing if you don't really understand it. So what I really shot was inanimate subjects. The most animation any of my subjects took was what the breeze caused.
But I still had to deal with the commercial side of all of this. The business side. Which took me into product photography. The subject doesn't move, plus I'm given the creative flow of light and setting. The market was print and website. Simple advertising. Now don't get me wrong, there is an animate side of commercial photography. Service shots and events. But it's a whole different ball game.
So what's the point here? You really can't shoot everything. Don't get me wrong, as photographers we do shoot everything, but as professionals we know our weaknesses and our strengths and rather than shooting everything, we shoot to our strengths and our passions and we're able to walk away from the everything mentality when it comes to business.
Really, the niche is everything.
Happy Shooting! - Kerri