Portions of this column were originally written for the July 2004 edition of News Photographer Magazine.
Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.
The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.
By Mark Loundy
"You specialize in something until one day you find it is specializing in you."
Do you sometimes feel like you're lost in the crowd? Of the biggest problems in our profession is that photography has become "commoditized." Buyers look for any photographer who "good enough" if they're cheap enough.
But there's another way... Start with your personal interests, talents and special knowledge and use them to create a photographic niche. If you're the best in your little corner of the photographic world, you'll find negotiating with clients is a lot easier.
Photographer Peter Kubal of British Columbia specializes in a verrrry small corner. He photographs insects. His website comes up near the top if you Google "insect photography." Since insects are regional, Peter's work leaves plenty of room for other insect specialists.
I imagine that images of Mediterranean Fruit flies were pretty hot when they infested Southern California a few years ago.
Your specialty can be your primary business or it can be a supplement to other assignments. It depends on how "hot" your topic is.
The best part is that you will be following your own interests, perhaps even an existing hobby. I've been saying for some time that photography was on its way to becoming a profession of students and hobbyists. If those hobbyists are also photographers, perhaps it can be a good thing.
Please let me know of any particularly good, bad or ugly dealings that you have had with clients recently. I will use the client's name, but I won't use your name if you don't want me to. Anonymous submissions will not be considered. Please include contact information for yourself and for the client.Leftovers
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