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The Blinking Eye

What is all this talk about niches?

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Stock photography newbie here, forgive the ignorance.  LOVE this forum.  Everyone so generous and forthcoming with knowledge.

 

Anyhoo... what is all this talk about niches?  What are some niches that people have discovered and how do I find one?

 

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Where do you find a niche? I only know that if/when you do, you won't be keen to publicise it on the forum!

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24 minutes ago, The Blinking Eye said:

Stock photography newbie here, forgive the ignorance.  LOVE this forum.  Everyone so generous and forthcoming with knowledge.

 

Anyhoo... what is all this talk about niches?  What are some niches that people have discovered and how do I find one?

 

🙏

 

A niche may be a particular location, hobby, workplace, specialist knowledge - something unique which you are able to photograph. The key point is that your situation or knowledge means that few other photographers are able or inclined to replicate what you are able to do. Alongside that is a demand for the photographs you produce. Getting those two sides of the coin to coincide is the difficult bit.

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Some can be surprising. I photograph a lot of politicians, as do a lot of other people. The ones everybody's heard of are very well covered buy I am frequently surprised, when I get a back-bencher wandering around Westminster,  to discover that Alamy have no/very few images of him/her, even moderately well-known ones. 

 

The best way to find niches is to photograph EVERYTHING and find out what sells because nobody else has photographed it.

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If you're lucky, a niche will discover you. 

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10 hours ago, Phil Robinson said:

Some can be surprising. I photograph a lot of politicians, as do a lot of other people. The ones everybody's heard of are very well covered buy I am frequently surprised, when I get a back-bencher wandering around Westminster,  to discover that Alamy have no/very few images of him/her, even moderately well-known ones. 

 

The best way to find niches is to photograph EVERYTHING and find out what sells because nobody else has photographed it.

 

Cool.  Thanks!

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Posted (edited)

I niche is a well-defined photography area. Well-defined like in "I shoot XXX images for YYY market". One sentence.

Here are some attributes of a niche:

- market that pays well (ie demand);

- you have to be able to name the clients;

- limited supply;

- not easy to break in, not available to a passer-by with a camera, requiring some combination of: special access to people and/or locations, special knowledge (depth), special technique and equipment (ex microscopy), understanding the workings of the chosen market;

 

Do your market research, choose a niche and go deep, not wide.

 

Just an opinion.

 

GI

Edited by giphotostock

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18 minutes ago, giphotostock said:

I niche is a well-defined photography area. Well-defined like in "I shoot XXX images for YYY market". One sentence.

Here are some attributes of a niche:

- market that pays well (ie demand);

- you have to be able to name the clients;

- limited supply;

- not easy to break in, not available to a passer-by with a camera, requiring some combination of: special access to people and/or locations, special knowledge (depth), special technique and equipment (ex microscopy), understanding the workings of the chosen market;

 

Do your market research, choose a niche and go deep, not wide.

 

Just an opinion.

 

GI

 

That's a lot to chew on.  Thank you.  The idea of access rings a bell.

 

Market research, however...what in the world is that?  :) Or maybe that's another thread.

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13 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

 

That's a lot to chew on.  Thank you.  The idea of access rings a bell.

 

Market research, however...what in the world is that?  :) Or maybe that's another thread.

Finding a niche may not be that difficult.

 

One approach is to look at images that are being used (newsstand, billboards, ads, industry publications, conferences, Fortune 500 websites, etc etc) and make a list of images where your reaction is "I cannot shoot THAT". That's what every other generalist is going to think as well. However, somebody shot those images, right? Analyze the list and see if some patterns or groups of similar images emerge. You probably are going to get several niches in that list.

 

Now comes the difficult part. You'd have to turn around "I cannot shoot THAT" into "what can I do to shoot THAT". Most people are not going to do this and remain generalists and continue shooting what they've been shooting.

 

Another approach is to self-reflect and think about what special knowledge, access, passion, etc you already have, and see if there is market for images in that area.

 

GI

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10 hours ago, giphotostock said:

Finding a niche may not be that difficult.

 

One approach is to look at images that are being used (newsstand, billboards, ads, industry publications, conferences, Fortune 500 websites, etc etc) and make a list of images where your reaction is "I cannot shoot THAT". That's what every other generalist is going to think as well. However, somebody shot those images, right? Analyze the list and see if some patterns or groups of similar images emerge. You probably are going to get several niches in that list.

 

Now comes the difficult part. You'd have to turn around "I cannot shoot THAT" into "what can I do to shoot THAT". Most people are not going to do this and remain generalists and continue shooting what they've been shooting.

 

Another approach is to self-reflect and think about what special knowledge, access, passion, etc you already have, and see if there is market for images in that area.

 

GI

Dang, this is better than photography school.  Much obliged!!

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I'm still thinking about this as I struggle to get any kind of footing here in this biz.  😂

 

I am thinking political rallies and protest footage will be one focus.  It feels good to bring my interests in photography and activism together.  The imagery can be dramatic.  People let you take photos of them up close because there is a performative aspect, the events are timely, and I can amplify the message.  I live in a hotbed of protest territory, so there's never a dull day. And it's where my heart is. ❤️

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, The Blinking Eye said:

I'm still thinking about this as I struggle to get any kind of footing here in this biz.  😂

 

I am thinking political rallies and protest footage will be one focus.  It feels good to bring my interests in photography and activism together.  The imagery can be dramatic.  People let you take photos of them up close because there is a performative aspect, the events are timely, and I can amplify the message.  I live in a hotbed of protest territory, so there's never a dull day. And it's where my heart is. ❤️

 

That sounds like a good strategy. It pays to shoot subjects that you understand and which have meaning for you. I come from backgrounds in education and freelance writing, which I think has helped me a lot on Alamy given that it is primarily an editorial agency.

Edited by John Mitchell
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Yes.  And why photographers like me who have nature landscape as primary niche can't sell squat on Alamy ;=)

 

Very cool Aladdin Sane graffiti btw Kristin;  very curious if it will sell

david-bowie-ziggy-stardust-mural-mexico-

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20 minutes ago, Autumn Sky said:

Yes.  And why photographers like me who have nature landscape as primary niche can't sell squat on Alamy ;=)

 

Very cool Aladdin Sane graffiti btw Kristin;  very curious if it will sell

david-bowie-ziggy-stardust-mural-mexico-

 

Thank you!  Captured in the subways of Mexico City.  I haven't sold diddly squat yet.   😋

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14 hours ago, Autumn Sky said:

Yes.  And why photographers like me who have nature landscape as primary niche can't sell squat on Alamy ;=)

 

 

Landscapes and other "pure" nature images probably do better (unfortunately) at some of those other places. However, if you can link your nature images (via captions and keywords) to topics in the news like climate change and other environmental concerns, then they might do better here. 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

 

Thank you!  Captured in the subways of Mexico City.  I haven't sold diddly squat yet.   😋

 

Perhaps adding more info to some of your captions would help. For instance, I would have captioned T9D9YN something like this:

 

Courtyard of the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl at the pre-Columbian ruins of Teotihuacan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Mexico City

 

P.S. I just had another look at some of your other Mex City images, and the captions look good.

Edited by John Mitchell

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11 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Perhaps adding more info to some of your captions would help. For instance, I would have captioned T9D9YN something like this:

 

Courtyard of the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl at the pre-Columbian ruins of Teotihuacan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Mexico City

 

P.S. I just had another look at some of your other Mex City images, and the captions look good.

 

Thanks for looking!  I got lazy on that one, but I entered your description.  🙂  I did research details for some Mexico photos and that took quite a while, so I should go back and finish.  Would rather be out taking pictures!

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You could create a niche for yourself by taking lots of photos of Emeryville as presumably you have a good knowledge of the location and find the best times and places to go out photographing.

 

John.

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Not sure I have a niche, maybe I do and just don’t realize it.  I have been a magazine photographer for most of my long career and my assignments have me covering ALL kinds of subjects...from people to food to interiors etc...  So I am more of generalist.  My collection of stock Imagery is a hodgepodge so many types of photos.  My suggestion is to explore what you may access to that others may not.

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2 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

Not sure I have a niche, maybe I do and just don’t realize it.  I have been a magazine photographer for most of my long career and my assignments have me covering ALL kinds of subjects...from people to food to interiors etc...  So I am more of generalist.  My collection of stock Imagery is a hodgepodge so many types of photos.  My suggestion is to explore what you may access to that others may not.

 

I think you would do better on Alamy with a hodgepodge collection than a niche collection of whatever. My collection is a hodgepodge too. You could look at one page and think I was on a similar theme (niche) but look at the next page and it is completely different. Depends on where I am and what I am doing at the time.

 

Allan

 

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4 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

Not sure I have a niche, maybe I do and just don’t realize it.  I have been a magazine photographer for most of my long career and my assignments have me covering ALL kinds of subjects...from people to food to interiors etc...  So I am more of generalist.  My collection of stock Imagery is a hodgepodge so many types of photos.  My suggestion is to explore what you may access to that others may not.

 

I'm a generalist by nature. I did have something of a photographic niche at one time, but my collection is now a hodgepodge. However, my niche images continue to be my most dependable sellers.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses. For instance, I know that I'd make a terrible sports photographer as I barely know one end of a football (the American kind) from the other, and I duck if I see a basketball coming my way.

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9 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

 

Thanks for looking!  I got lazy on that one, but I entered your description.  🙂  I did research details for some Mexico photos and that took quite a while, so I should go back and finish.  Would rather be out taking pictures!

 

Yes, we're all slaves to our computer screens now. Taking pictures has become almost a luxury. That said, you're probably going to need to upload a lot more images before sales start coming along. Buena suerte.

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8 hours ago, Stokie said:

You could create a niche for yourself by taking lots of photos of Emeryville as presumably you have a good knowledge of the location and find the best times and places to go out photographing.

 

John.

 

I have looked into that.  There are a few on Alamy already, but it's not totally saturated.  I live in an amazing visually dynamic area, right near a marina and the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.

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7 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

Not sure I have a niche, maybe I do and just don’t realize it.  I have been a magazine photographer for most of my long career and my assignments have me covering ALL kinds of subjects...from people to food to interiors etc...  So I am more of generalist.  My collection of stock Imagery is a hodgepodge so many types of photos.  My suggestion is to explore what you may access to that others may not.

 

The idea of access is really driving me, because I DO have access to a lot of dynamic and special worlds.  Your portfolio is masterful and enlightening, thank you.

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3 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Yes, we're all slaves to our computer screens now. Taking pictures has become almost a luxury. That said, you're probably going to need to upload a lot more images before sales start coming along. Buena suerte.

 

Trying.  This doesn't exactly pay a full time wage.  LOL  I also have 306 glorious photos uploaded through Stockimo, but nary a sale.  I feel like my Stockimo portfolio is actually better.  https://www.alamy.com/search/imageresults.aspx?pseudoid={29443024-CA70-4333-A908-65F9DAB0505B}&name=The+Blinking+Eye+%2f+Stockimo&st=11&mode=0&comp=1

 

But I've given up on that.

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