Ok, you probably heard from many pro saying that if you are going to start your photography business. Try to find your expertise and only focus on one thing. Do not do different kind of photography. I think people would agree it. I am not really in favor of this statement. Here are my own thought about this.
First these are the reasons I can think about that supports this statement. Let me know if there are any other reasons.
1. If you are a professional photographer. that means you make revenue from it. You can be really good at one area of photography, You can not be good at many areas.
2. People mostly are looking to hire photographer for specific expertise. so you will be more likely to be considered if you are a photographer that specialize at that specific area. Whereas if your portfolio shows many areas of photography people will get confused and not likely to hire you.
Ok. These might be right. I just have very different opinion about it.
1. Why a professional photographer can only be good at one area?
First of all. If you are a great photographer, you must have passion of taking picture of all type of subject, right? If a photographer come to tell me, I only like taking picture of people. I am not going to take picture of landscape with you. Sorry, I am not consider you as a great photographer. so if the photographer undergo a lot of practice of different area, I believe at end the photographer should be good at different subject. That might take more time. but I believe the photographer can take great picture of different subject is truly the amazing photographer. and I believe we should not narrow and classify that term “photography” so much.
Karl Taylor is a professional photographer. He has over 15 years experience. I bought some of his tutorial DVD. He is really amazing. He is doing assignment of all type of photography. portrait, fashion, landscape, product, food, jewelry, every type of photography. and he also doing great HDSLR video production. He has one DVD just about how to shooting HDSLR video. He is a master of photography. Really, most photographer there, we can only call them like master of wedding photography, master of food photography, etc. I do not know about you guys. I admire photographer like Karl Taylor. and I want to be a photographer like him. and when you see a photographer like him, you can know from your heart that this guy must have great passion about photography.
There must be plenty of photographer like Karl Taylor. Really, if we practice every type of photography, we can be good at them. A photographer has only 2 years wedding photography experience can be just as good as a photographer have been doing it over 20 years. Time is not a major factor. It’s about your passion, your action.
2. Ok, regarding the second reason..well I guess then Karl Taylor would never be hired…You should expect what I want to say now. When you have really good skill of different type of photography, I no longer think that have a broad range of service will be a negative things. When people present their portfolio with many subjects and mediocre photo, I think that will hurt the photographer, so it is better to present the best photo of the best area you are good at. but when the photographer reach a very high level of skill, like Karl Taylor. I think you should be confident enough to present all type of the work to people. It tells people you are knowledgeable of different type of photography, and you have acquire very good skill of each. That is a proud. I do not think it will confuse people. For example, when we were at high school. There were always some top students just ace at every subjects. and there were also students only ace at certain subjects. Who is a better student in term of academe? Of course the one ace at every subjects.
Also from my perspective. It can bring more profit if a photographer is good at different area. Let’s see there is a newly open restaurant hire you to photography their food. You might be a really good food photographer. so that is what they hire you for. However if you are also really good at interior shot. You master HDR photography. then you can promote youself, ask them to pay you more and you can shoot great interior shot for the restaurant too. so you make more money. Perhaps their executive chef or manager need a good headshot or portrait to use. You can also do it if you are good at portrait, right? It is like a one stop photography service. These people are not looking for world renowned photographer. As long as you have good skill for each service, they will be happy to hire you. I believe It is better to be good in multiple photography area. Actually this is what I always do now. When I doing food photoshoot for a restaurant, I always suggest doing interior shot too. also ask if they like doing 360 degree virtual tour. Sometimes they also ask me to photography their party. If you give a good price, they are likely to do it. It is better for them to hire one person than hire different photographer to shoot different things.
Overall, I just do not like many pro has advocated that focus on one area and be good at it. That is right. but if you can be good at many areas, why not? I am still at early stage of my career. I have a lot of free time at home. so I always practice photography skill. Try to expose to different type of photography. As time progress, I believe one day I can be a great all around photographer.