Too many photographers focus on standard services like weddings and portraiture. Others take pictures that they hope to sell to a publication or earn acclaim that eventually leads to a job. However, you can’t afford to take a lot of risks like this if you want to earn a living as a freelance photographer. There are plenty of unexplored and underexploited niches where there’s a demand for content and your skillset. Here are five unique niches all freelance photographers should consider.
While individuals may be fine posting selfies taken in the bathroom on their social media profile, this isn’t good enough for businesses. Business owners now understand the importance and the power of social media now more than ever and are trying to portray a professional, yet relatable image of their team.
This creates a prime opportunity for professional photographers. As a social media photographer, you may be asked to take pictures of their team, their facilities, and their products that are perfect for posting or sharing on social media. You can offer a package deal, taking photos of their entire product line or a series of photos as work progresses.
Businesses now treat social media as part of their marketing strategy, so there’s always a demand for this type of photography. There’s also demand for this type of photography in the public domain. For example, you could offer to take polished photos of professionals for sites like LinkedIn or singles who want a great photo for a dating website. Standard formal headshots often aren’t good enough for either of these groups, and many won’t hesitate to pay a few dollars to make sure that they project the image that they want.
Family photography remains a staple of the freelance photography business. Unlike special events like graduations and weddings, you can find work year-round with family photography. You could get a lot of work if you promote yourself on social media and in publications read by parents.
It can also lead to special assignments like capturing birthday or engagement parties. You may need to offer discounts to early customers to generate the word of mouth referrals that dominate marketing in this niche. Or you may offer to do some pro bono work for some people around you.
Event photography is a larger field than many outsiders think it to be. You aren’t just capturing weddings and graduations. There are charity events, corporate lunches, christenings and bar mitzvahs. You might be asked to document outreach efforts at a public event or snap a few good pictures of the company’s Christmas party. Or you might take pictures at concerts, whether you’re creating memories for proud parents or social media marketing content for the band.
One of the great things about event photography is it pays well. However, it is not the easiest field to get into, and it’s fairly competitive. You can always market yourself as an event photographer, but a good portfolio proves the point and leads to sales.
If you want to learn how to build one, Format has a great tool and tutorial that will teach you how to build the perfect photographer portfolio. They also have a platform that allows you to build a professional website fast and easily. They have plans starting at as little as $12 per month, and a pro plus package that comes with a full photography business masterclass that will allow you to jumpstart your event photography career.
Know that the number of events that you may be hired for will vary throughout the year. For example, weddings will peak in February and June. Graduations tend to occur in May, though some occur in December. Holiday parties obviously occur around the given holiday. You might lose money if you’re not available when most of your clients need you.
There are questions that you’ll have to ask yourself as well before you start. Do you want to be working nearly every day in June and December? Do you want to work in a field where you’re expected to be there for the entire event? Event photography can be more physically demanding than many realize. It can also consume nearly every weekend for busy event photographers, though you might prefer to have the week free. So, make sure that you’re ready for lifestyle adjustments and the reality of the job.
Proper pricing is also essential for event photographers. Quote a price a lot higher than the competition and you won’t get much work. You can get started by taking photos for free or a low fee for friends and family. This allows you to build your professional portfolio and begin word of mouth referrals.
However, you’ll need to work with contacts in a given niche to continue getting clients. For example, you need to network with wedding planners to land more weddings, whereas ministers can refer you to both christenings and weddings held at their church.
Freelance photographers have a variety of options for breaking into photojournalism. You could take pictures of local events and offer them to publications. You could also take pictures as you travel and offer them to newspapers, journals, and magazines.
The hard part here is connecting with publications that will pay for the work. One way to improve your odds for success is to target a specific genre or audience. Yet this may allow you to spend time doing what you love, such as when you get paid to take pictures of ballet performances, races, and political events.
Stock photography is a risky venture, but it can lead to steady residual income. You never know, one of your pictures could become famous one day. Many publications and even web developers will pay you a modest fee every time some of your pictures are used.
You can sell images you take through sites like Shutterstock or work with businesses that want a large stock of images they can use without intellectual property concerns. One of the greatest things about working as a stock photographer is the freedom that you have. You could also work in areas that you’re interested in.
You could decide to take photos of wildlife. Or take skyline pictures. Some prefer candid shots with everyday people. And others might prefer corporate shots. Whatever it is, you can make money doing what you like, and work on your own time. Not only that, but this could be a great way to build a name for yourself in your field and get approached for more serious work.
However, don’t expect to make a full living with micro stock photography. If you want to earn a full-time income, you have more chances if you work with a major stock photography agency like Getty Images. But it’s a great way to get your foot in the door and hone your craft. It’s also a great way to start building your portfolio.
The majority of photographers fall into traditional categories like wedding, fashion or commercial photography. However, other niches give you the opportunity to earn as much or more without fighting for every gig. So, make sure that you explore all the options, and pick one that will allow you to earn a good living while pursuing your passion.