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Jack-of-all-trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one?


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Just wondering how many peeps tend to specialise as opposed to broad brush approach? Does it help picture editors find you more easily if you have a speciality? Personally, I tend to snap anything that catches my eye but I know some on here are very focused on one or two subjects.

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I don't specialise on Alamy or in stock generally- as Im trying to represent society and life more broadly as my thinking is that will give me the best return through sales.

 

When im shooting for myself and not for stock- then I do like to specialise in seascapes

 

Horses for courses I guess

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I'm a generalist.  Being a lifelong magazine photographer, I get assignments that span the gamut.  So I sort had to be a generalist.

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Anything and everything. But maybe not much longer.

 

Allan

 

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I shoot under the topics of travel and lifestyle for stock purposes - which is a fairly broad brush. 

 

My fine art photography is abstract and  conceptual and fairly specific. 

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Definitely a generalist, adapting to changing times though, with covid and lockdown can't shoot some of what I used to.  Attempting birding don't know how that is all going to end up.  Super difficult.  I consider this a subspecialty of photography difficult and challenging. I am a beginner mind.  Several advantages to being a generalist though, one sells more, I think?

Helen

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21 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

Anything and everything. But maybe not much longer.

 

Allan

 

Oh, that sounds a bit ominous. Health or Alamy? Hope the latter rather than the former. :-)

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4 hours ago, Jansos said:

Oh, that sounds a bit ominous. Health or Alamy? Hope the latter rather than the former. 🙂

 

LATTER.  I hope.

 

Mind you the way things are just now Alamy may be driving me to my grave.

 

Allan

 

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16 hours ago, hsessions said:

Definitely a generalist, adapting to changing times though, with covid and lockdown can't shoot some of what I used to.  Attempting birding don't know how that is all going to end up.  Super difficult.  I consider this a subspecialty of photography difficult and challenging. I am a beginner mind.  Several advantages to being a generalist though, one sells more, I think?

Helen

 

I wish.

 

Allan

 

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Just now, Allan Bell said:

 

I wish.

 

Allan

 

Why Allan?  You don't think so?  Look at it this way then, if you weren't, you might be selling even less.  How about that?

Helen😉

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I point my camera at many different things. I sell many different things. I have seen trends in my own port since beginning, where one subject area did fairly well, then another took over, then another. Strange, that. I remember in the beginning my birds did a lot better than they do now. A different area is doing well, now.

Nope, I’m not telling.

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On 18/05/2021 at 01:13, hsessions said:

......, one sells more, I think?

That seems to have worked for myself, up until seemingly falling off the cliff last month. I've thrown myself at everything over the last few years and it has paid off in the regularity of sales.

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back in the days we actually met picture researchers, they invariably asked first off "what do you specialise in?" You had to have an answer or you were dead! 

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3 hours ago, Robert M Estall said:

back in the days we actually met picture researchers, they invariably asked first off "what do you specialise in?" You had to have an answer or you were dead! 

 

Last time when we were at this point, I inserted a link to this video by Adam Savage (one of the MythBusters) which I like a lot.

 

wim

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Big fan of Adam Savage too.  My answer, if asked why I am a photo generalist, is that I would get too bored with shooting one type of subject.  My curiosity gets fed by having a wide range photo subjects. Admittedly though, I am not a master of any photography discipline but good enough to fake it at times.

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10 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

 I am not a master of any photography discipline but good enough to fake it at times.

That's me.  Trying to fake being a birder at the moment.  Have deleted thousands of images already and lost pounds chasing after these guys but it is important for me to be a really good faker. Being a generalist I remain motivated.  On the other hand if I were a niche photographer and the subject matter were an obsession I can see how I might never get bored.

Specialized, better have a good sized port with that niche well covered, generalist can do well with a smaller port.

 

Helen

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Nice pictures, Helen.

 

I've done most everything in the past. These days I prefer to be a finder of images instead of a planner — Street, but Street for Stock.

 

Edo

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Posted (edited)

Yes a generalist also...i like to shoot a variety of subject matter and sometimes you win the lottery 😀 and your image is selected for sale...and sometimes you think i need more variety....yes i need more variety that sells 😂

 

.....Just adding it's enjoyable to shoot a varied range of photography topics to challenge and stimulate your creative interests which also increases your sales potential..When i worked as a professional photographer you had to supply images that the client asked for, but of course you would also supply other versions that the client might like also..The subject matter is endless in Stock photography, and i know that there are a lot of holes in my own folio of subject matter. I like to be personally happy with what i produce for stock, and yes i have a backlog of new images to process and upload and will explore new ideas in the future...

 

I also know it's a choice whether you want to keep motivated in this world of diminishing returns...I'm still trying to work that out, but i still like making images and that drives me.And there is always room for personal improvement in my photography.. 

Edited by William Caram
added comments.
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I've sold zero Nicaraguan street scenes, zero people at work in Nicaragua, one photo of a Nicaragua deaf kid, and one photo of me looking grim.  Everything else has been bagpipes, fish, plants, Old Rag Mountain in Virginia, my leather purse made down the street, and an articulated metal fish pendant.   I've got a table top set-up in a room over my kitchen, 400 w/s flash with a rectangular softbox, reflectors, boom, just need to go upstairs with some stuff and take more pictures.    I've done three shoots where I thought I'd sell something.   Two of them did have one photo each licensed (gun and kid signing).  The other shoot, nada.

 

When I was feeling particularly grim about sales last year and this first half of 2021, a friend reminded me that the world was experiencing a pandemic and tourism had basically crashed.  

 

 

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22 hours ago, vpics said:

I'm way below average when it comes to landscapes.
I'm useless at still life shots.

Like your port - great photos!

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I shoot outside, that's one thing. I go out, gain my 10 000 steps and shoot what I wish. My last 9 sales were a pad stone, gay bar in Amsterdam, a castle in Finland, general amusement park image, Helsinki Olympic Stadium, House of Estates, Fridays for Future in Rome, kids playing, gay theatre sign in SF. 

 

I like to shoot street art and candid images, but seem to sell images of buildings. I also have some flowers on my portfolio, mostly from botanical garden where they have Latin names next to the plant. None has sold. Nor my bird images, which are mostly of mallards and mute swans, not very rare species. 

 

If I wanted to make most sales per size of portfolio, I should concentrate on architectural images. I'm not going to, though.

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