When we start out in any creative field, we are often taught the importance of finding your niche. We are told that people need to be able to instantly connect with you, trust you and recognise your work without hesitation. Once we have found our niche, it is firmly said that we must run with it and never let go.
I get it, finding a niche gives you your own creative identity, it prevents you from following those around you and challenges you to think deeper. However, once found, having a niche can have its own limitations.
In a photographic sense, let’s say for example you become an expert in shooting landscapes. Your artistic eye works differently to others, and your detail for editing, sets you aside from the rest - giving you your own signature look. But then what? What are you doing to explore other parts of the craft? Sure you will gain success and at the very least be well received on social media - but is that what you set out to do when you first picked up a camera?
Personally speaking, I want to be able to do it all. That may seem unrealistic but when I look back at my final body of work, I want to see variety and diversity, not just a bunch portraits with pink backgrounds for example. And maybe you could argue I won’t get anywhere with that approach, maybe you’re right - but photography is my passion and I want to do it my way.
I look at so many Instagram feeds, filled with images that look no different to the last. They bore me, and I question how stimulated the photographer must be, just taking the same shot day in day out. It is likely the stimulus comes from the acceptance of the viewer, the countless number of likes and comments “Wow” “Cool” “So good”.
I don’t want to bash anyone who is using the model of having a niche. I recognise they have likely worked extremely hard to find that identity and maintain it with high quality consistency. I just want to discuss the potential disadvantages, which I certainly think are present.
If you are going down one particular path, take yourself down another. Try something new with your work and see where it lands you. Sticking to what you know only puts barriers up to new and exciting opportunities, in any medium.
So if you only shoot black and white, shoot colour for a period of time. If you only swear by film cameras, get a digital one. If landscapes is your thing, go and shoot a couple of portraits for your friends and family.
Telling yourself “I only do this and I only do that” could be preventing your from becoming the best creative version of yourself - and what an absolute shame that would be.
Thanks for reading.
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