Learn your Specialty

May 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

Beauty photography taken at Eve's Beauty Gallery new launch photo session in Columbia Maryland

Beauty photography taken at Eve’s Beauty Gallery new launch photo session in Columbia Maryland

Photography offers a wide range of possibilities for those looking to enter the industry. You have wedding photography, pet photography, portrait, commercial photography, sports, fashion, beauty, and the list could go on. As if that is not complex enough, each of these areas break down even further. For example, some in portrait choose to photography only newborns, some choose to focus solely on school students.  Some beauty photographers only shoot boudoir. What you choose to photograph and to what degree is entirely your decision, but it does not come without consequence.

When selecting and entering your specialty, or niche as we often call it, it is important to learn that market. Many people fall into the mind frame that the only thing you have to learn in photography is how to effectively use your camera and the fundamental instruments that come along with it such as flashes, strobes, props and so forth. In actuality you must study your niche just as much, if not more than you study how to take an excellent photograph. 

When I realized I wanted to photograph fashion and beauty I knew I had my work cut out for me. The first thing I did was I went into a store and bought every fashion and beauty magazine that was on the rack. I looked through them repeatedly. I studied how the photographs were taken, which parts of the models were accentuated and for what products. I looked over the advertisement pages and focused on how they flowed in with the context of the magazine as a whole. From these I cut out the ones that spoke to me the most, put them up on a pin board and studied them intently. What was important for me to learn what how the models were positioned, how the photography was taken, and from what angle. Although I did not know its relevance at the time, I was examining the lighting and trying to figure how it was captured. Having taken the crazy stupid light workshop, I understand now why the lighting was so important and intriguing to me.

Next, I loaded up my social media with people that were trending about fashion (clothing designers, jewelry designers) and beauty (make-up artists, hair stylists, and perfume makers) and I made it a point to read up on their trends every day. It’s important to me to know how the trends may be changing. As things change the way a designer would like the garments portrayed may change as well.

While my journey is not done because I still have learning to do, there are items on my list I have to complete next. I plan to meet one on one with fashion designers, interview them and learn from their standpoint how they like their products portrayed. What I hope to learn from them is what they want. In my plan is also to speak with advertising agencies to get their perspective on what they feel their clients look for in fashion and beauty images.

If your plan is to photograph weddings, meet with wedding planners. Explain to them your position and what you hope to gain by being able to incorporate their perspective. Is there a wedding convention taking place in your area? Attend it, speak with the guests and ask them if they could have the ultimate image captured of their wedding day what it would encompass. Meet with bridal shop owners; ask them what they believe to be the most important aspect of the wedding day. Host a forum or open discussion topic on your blog or website to get feedback. While I highlight weddings here you can take this same approach in your specialty area should it not be weddings.

Be creative, think outside the box. In fact, acts as if there is no box. To be successful in any business it is imperative that you reach your potential market on all fronts. The ultimate goal is to always step your game up, have one foot ahead in the industry so that you remain alert and aware of what is expected of you. Not just what your capabilities are.

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