For years, I battled choosing a niche and style. Everyone will tell you to pick a niche if you want to find success, but I was resistant. In hindsight, I realize it was because I hadn’t found the right niche. And I wouldn’t have found it by choosing, I found it by doing some of everything, and from that, realizing what I enjoyed most. So don’t pick it, just let it happen by accident.
When I started out as a photographer, I shot everything; portraits, landscape, travel, sports, music, product, weddings. I shot with natural light and flash, in studio and outdoors. I experimented with everything I could.
Over time, I stopped doing some of those things because they weren’t interesting to me. I slowly started removing sections of my website. 5+ years ago, my site had: Portraits, Product, People, Wedding, Music, Lifestyle, Athletes. And that’s how it should have been. I was learning about photography, and more importantly, learning what it was that I enjoyed doing most.
5 years ago, I wouldn’t have guessed that my website in 2016 would only have athletic and active lifestyle photos. The only way I ended up here was by starting there. Nothing was crafted intentionally, beyond me doing more of the work I was drawn to and less of what wasn’t as interesting. I didn’t blindly choose a niche because I “needed” to. I pursued the things I loved doing and dropped the things I didn’t like. By definition, your style is whatever it is you do, so just go with what you like, and in hindsight, you can point at a style.
I searched my archives and found a good example of something that’s stuck with me since 2009. The photo on the left, taken of my sister on my parent’s deck, expressed movement and flow, and that’s something I still love to capture (recent photo on the right):
In searching for examples, I went back to my old Flickr page—check it out if you’re curious what my work looked like circa 2009 vs. my current website — and found these too (below):