Month: September 2009

To Specialize or Not to Specialize

‘To Specialize or Not to Specialize’, ah, that is the question. Well, it really isn’t the question, but it is something to ponder…I guess.

National Geographic photographer, James Stanfield said: “Early in my career I made up my mind not to specialize in any particular kind of photography. Some assignments were more appealing than others.” I really like Stanfield’s work, and he is skilled enough to be able to be flexible and shoot many types of subjects with excellence.

I like the idea of being the photographer of “Blah” (you can fill in the specific subject in place of “Blah”). However, when I look through my personal photo archives, I see that I’m not really a “photographer of ‘Blah'”, but rather, a photographer of many subjects…but not all subjects.

Is this good? Is this bad? Is it hard to pinpoint what you do when you DON’T just shoot “Blah”? Could be.

If someone asks you: “Do you shoot X and Y?” You know you shoot Y pretty good, but you don’t have a history of shooting X. Will this damage your chances of getting work when this happens? Or, do you just say “Hell-ya! I shoot X and Y!”; and then, hope for the best. Or, do you say, “I shoot Y, but X…we can experiment!”

For me, that seems, well, not quite right, but it could work.

Portfolio Web Pages…these are good indicators of what a photographer shoots. A potential client can look at your work, see what you have a history of shooting, and then have a good idea of what you photograph. In this case, if a viewer sees that you have pages of Animal and Wildlife subjects, then why bother asking you, “Do you shoot weddings?” Does this method of showing work by way of web portfolios seem logical? I’m guessing that it does, but I could be wrong. There are still times when photographers get “interesting” / “odd” / “ridiculous” questions anyway, even when we attempt to be as clear about things as possible.

Anyway, I have set up a photography journal here at wordpress, entitled ‘photographist’, and this is where I am publishing more specific subject groups of what I have photographed the most. If nothing else, maybe this effort will help me stay focused and organized regarding my work.