Do you have to have a photography niche?

There’s a piece of advice I have read over and over again, when it comes to running a photography business. The advice is something like this: “Find your photography niche!” or “Choose your niche today!” Now, I kind of get where this advice comes from and I understand the principles behind it BUT… I have to say, I don’t agree. Why should you choose a photography niche? Why can’t you be more generalised in your approach or in what you shoot? Do you really have to have a photography niche?

Wedding couple holding hands in a greenhouse

Reasons for having a niche

Let’s look at the main reasons, firstly, why it’s recommended that you choose a photography niche.

Having a niche develops stability. It helps you to focus in on your chosen subjects and styles which, in turn, finesses your attention and makes your business much stronger. 

You’ll also only do work you actually enjoy instead of taking on any and every kind of work to make ends meet. By “niching down” your business, you’ll turn away work you don’t want to do. 

Concentrating on a niche means you’ll also become an expert in that area by building on your experience and training specifically for it. The title of expert in a particular area is always highly sought after when you consider the rewards that usually come with it – recognition and a much higher pay scale!

Woman holds newborn baby

Who needs a niche?!

Now, as someone who refused to specialise herself, obviously I am biased. But hear me out. Because choosing not to niche was a distinct choice on my part for several reasons but there are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

Firstly, I’ve always been the kind of girl who likes a little variety in life. If I chose to specialise, I would lose that variation and that was something I couldn’t do without. 

I’m also a big fan of a new challenge, of trying something I haven’t tried before, of learning a new skill. If I went down the route of finding a niche, I would close myself off to all these different challenges and I’m afraid I’m just not built that way!

belly dancer sitting on rock in colourful skirt

That being said…

I’ve learned some things along the way.

For example, I quickly discovered I do not really enjoy studio portraiture. Formal poses against a white backdrop are definitely not my thing at all but it took giving it a try for me to figure that out. 

I also learned that not specialising can increase your workload – having to develop workflows for a variety of different services, multiple social media accounts, even having more than one website may be a possibility. Although you could also take the approach of keeping it all in one place!

You may find you do inadvertently find a niche, although it might not be the most obvious one.

woman sits in window boudoir photography

Whatever happens, the most important thing to remember is that you do what feels right for you. Be a wildlife photographer, a wedding photographer, a family portrait photographer… or don’t! The choice is entirely yours! Don’t feel you have to conform to what others tell you to do – just do what feels right and natural to you and enjoy the experience!