Finding your niche in photography [passion, persistence & personality]

Everywhere you look it seems someone else has bought a Digital SLR camera and decided they want to be a photographer. They dial in their settings just right, that beautiful word “Auto” on top, and click away. [I mean, that is what it is there for, right???!] 100 clicks here, 100 clicks there… maybe a decent image or two and viola! They are a photographer.

Everywhere. You’ll see portfolios a mile wide, everything from babies to pets, weddings to 50th anniversary celebrations. No specialized focus, no rhyme or reason, just clicking away. I’m not entirely knocking this, you have to start somewhere. But if after two or three years this is still your business model, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. There are so many different avenues in photography: weddings, families, births, newborns & children, portraiture, nature, real estate, show animals, and the list continues. Like anything else in life, don’t stretch yourself to thin. You’ll get burnt out, exhausted, and only be mediocre in all areas instead of excellent in one or two.

If you are truly interested in making a career out of photography, find a niche.

There are three key things that can help you find your niche.
1. Passion: Find what drives you to jump out of bed in the morning.
2. Persistence: What will make you excited to actually learn how to use that camera you just bought…cause I’ll tell you right now… AUTO won’t cut it.
3.Personality: What will your personality jive with? Yes, I just brought jive back from the 70′s.

I love babies. Like… LOVE babies. (I have three little beauties). I had a very special friend and fellow photographer photograph one of my births. It was beautiful and amazing. But I am not a birth photographer. Nor do I specialize in newborn photography. I have several friends who ROCK it. {Jenn Tuttle, Diana Stoffel, Krista Conlon, to name a few] They can spend two to three hours with a newborn and create breath taking images. Not only do I not have the patience for that, but I would rather spend three hours snuggling them and having coffee with you than trying to take pictures of them. I collect postcards of scenic views; I daydream about vacations when I look at them. But I am not a nature photographer. And just because I know how the camera works, and I could do any of these, does not mean I should. My heart wouldn’t be in it, and ask any professional photographer out there, we pour our hearts into our photos.

Arguably, personality is the most important on that list. If your personality does not mesh with a certain niche, by all means don’t torture yourself. If you are shy and fast-past makes your nervous…why would you force yourself into weddings? If you are like me and can take charge of a room full of family members that all want pictures with the bride and groom in the abundant span of 15 minutes that has been scheduled [read: be bossy, direct and organized] then heck, give weddings a whirl! Your personality will have such an impact on your clients being able to relax, be natural in front of the camera, and actually enjoy their pictures…whomever your clients may be!! If you are nervous, you’ll make your clients even more nervous.

There are many great things you can do with a camera. And if enjoying a career is one of them, fantastic! Be passionate about it. Specialize in it. Love what you do. Or it will just end up another job…

For me, if it is just a job, my clients would feel it, and never let their guard down. If they know I am passionate about what I do, then they trust me enough to take a deep breath, look into the eyes of their newly-announced-for-the-first-time spouse, and just.be.present.

lake arrowhead resort wedding

lake arrowhead resort wedding

David G. LopezFebruary 26, 2014 - 5:19 pm

Your style still moves me. Keep up the good work and I hope to see you soon.

Slowing down long enough to smile [Seevers Family]

In most of today’s fast paced, “get it while it’s hot” mentality, it may seem odd to schedule an afternoon to just slow down, take a breath, be with family and smile for a camera. After all, we all have smart phones these day, and those cameras are “good enough”, right? Wrong. While we are no strangers to pulling out our phones and snapping a few photos in the moment, one of our favorite things is taking an afternoon to just hang out with family.

The Seevers’ amazing love is what drew us together in the first place, several years ago…before their wedding. Photographing their wedding was so much fun, and on that day we became family. When they were pregnant with their daughter we were crazy excited to shoot a maternity session for them. After their daughter was born, we got to hold her, mere days old and photograph her throughout her first year….and again with their handsome son. Spending time with them, even with camera in hand, is spending time with family. And with how busy we all are, it is so important to slow down long enough to smile [especially into a camera that does not also make phone calls.]

As we go into the holiday season, celebrate Christmas and New years, most of us will be surrounded by family. And even though that can be maddening, it is so important to cherish those moments, give an extra hug, and smile for the camera.

seevers1seevers2

Our little family [corona girls, Apple Hill, CA]

Now with three beautiful little girls, it makes taking pictures of our own family a challenge. We are out numbered. Plain and simple. Our one-on-one defense is shot and we have resorted to zone defense. Defense being the key word. We are lucky to get an hour or two of offense a day, when they are asleep, and we can make our move — aka, do the dishes, fold the laundry, and at the very least push the toys to the corner to create a walking path.

Fun to say the least, chaotic to be more accurate. We love our little family more than words can say, and our girls bring us indescribable joy. In an hour of chasing, bribing, running after, begging and coercing, we managed to skate by with a few! Next time we will recruit extra hands to help wrangle and distract! After all, Apple Hill is a fun place to visit for the day…and lots for the kids to do after family pictures!

Family Pictures at Apple HillFamily Pictures at Apple HillFamily Pictures at Apple Hill

It’s always the little things in life… [Harper Family, Prospect Park CA]

It’s always the little things in life that get us. A first kiss, tiny flowers all around, or a teeny-tiny hand to hold. The littlest of things that steal our hearts in big ways. Like Miss Emersyn here. Her miraculous life is the reason we cherish every picture we take.

Emersyn’s mommy wrote:
We found out we were expecting our 2nd child around Christmas time of last year. Immediately, thoughts flowed of names, nursery themes and even what photos were “must haves” when she was born. I had it all planned out in my head of how she would be placed on my chest, how my husband would cut the umbilical cord and how our son would be the very first person to come visit and meet his little sister. We were so excited.

As it turned out, God had another plan for our family. I was hospitalized when I was 27 weeks pregnant and 2 weeks later, Miss Emersyn Grey made her appearance. All 3lbs. 9oz. of her. She was whisked away immediately and we only got one quick photo. For the next 13 weeks, every photo we got of her was through an incubator door or with tubes covering her tiny face.

She finally came home a day before she turned 3 months old and I knew that I wanted family photos done as soon as possible.I am so happy you were able to capture some of those first moments together as a family. We are so thankful to have these photos to treasure forever and to look back on through the years and remember our journey to get to where we are today.

Life is never certain except certainly unpredictable. There is beauty in everything, if we can only pause long enough to take the picture.

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