Match your lifestyle,personality and interest with your photo genre

Every specialty or genre of photography whether it is landscapes, wildlife, fashion, editorial, events, or sports has its very own definite challenges.

If it’s not having to deal with needing specialized equipment, then it’s the logistical problem of getting access or else finding the various elements of the photo shoot and making sure all the components from models, props and equipment arrives on location at a designated time.

In other words, what they all do have in common is really problem-solving once you get past the rudimentary skills of using the camera and equipment.

So before you head down a certain path of specializing and buying a ton of equipment, perhaps you should consider if your current lifestyle will be a good match for your area of interest.

Landscape and wildlife photographer

Landscape photographers go to extraordinary lengths for a picture. Photo by Radu Rosca.
Landscape photographers go to extraordinary lengths for a picture. Photo by Radu Rosca.

This sort of photography tends to favor those with an abundance of time with very little family obligations.

There is a lot of traveling and often hours of waiting around

We’ve all been there.

We’re on a road trip with friends or family.

We see something spectacular and want to stop and shoot.

The others in the vehicle tolerate for a few minutes then you can see them glaring at their watches and thinking, “Just how many sunsets or birds can a person shoot in a one day?”

Expect a lot to spend a lot of time researching.

Thankfully, the internet has made research a lot easier.

Or, you are the one planning the trip and you want to arrive in the evening or early morning when the light is good.

The rest of your party would rather sleep comfortably in a warm bed.

The landscape photographer for that reason alone tends to be a loner because few people will put up with their drive to wait for the perfect light.

Fashion photographer

Who wouldn’t like to have someone bring together pretty things, arrange them in some beautiful location so that all the photographer has to do is take the pictures?

But realistically some people have knack for looks that works well while others appear as if they don’t own a mirror when you see them in public.

So let’s be realistic, trying to break into fashion photography at my age will require a major personality disorder which would transform me into a stylist.

Otherwise, whoever hires me would find someone who can arrange the following: the clothes, the models’ looks (hair & makeup) and possibly the models.

If you don’t have strong technical lighting skills, then you better make up for it by being good with styling and being fashion conscious.

Sports photographer

_MG_6533While being a sports enthusiast is a big help, those who fantasize about being on the sidelines of games need to know this is an extremely competitive field and you will need to invest in a whole lot of equipment.

You will need at least 2 camera bodies with superfast burst rates and long telephoto lenses.

The faster the better because there are no do-overs in sports.

To get started, you will probably need to pay your dues working as a stringer and build your portfolio from there.

Without a good portfolio of a variety of sports, you will have no chance of getting agencies or sports teams to issue you credentials.

Expect to work evenings and weekends and expect to be asked to work for free just for credentials.

In other words, have another job.

Expect to know how each sport is scored and won simply because you want to know when you should key in on the athletes when a game is about to be won.

Good knowledge of  a variety of sports ranging from gymnastics, diving, boxing, tennis, soccer to the more obscure ones.


Wedding photographer

Weddings are often thought to be simple but can get complicated when photographers are not technically proficient.
Weddings are often thought to be simple but can get complicated when photographers are not technically proficient.

At a glance this genre may have all the makings of a fashion photographer.

Nicely dressed people and beautiful setting, but that’s where the similarity ends.

In reality, this is what you can expect:

  • No control of the timeline of when the event starts and ends
  • No say about the location
  • Everyone at the wedding can boss you around and you have to be nice
  • You are expected to be everywhere and not miss anything

Needless to say, if you are short in the personality department and  are a straight shooter-who-tells-it-like-it-is, you should avoid this line of work.

Not even the best written contract by your attorney will save you, stick with rocks, landscapes and Ansel Adams type work.

Any discussion of wedding photography always seems to bring out the worst in photographers. Working pros accuse amateurs of ruining the market by their shoddy skills . Accusations which are not necessarily unfounded if you view the video above. Amateurs retaliate by undercutting the pros. Back and forth they go.
Peter Phun Photography

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