Should You Specialize or Be a Generalist Photographer?

When most photographers start out, they photograph a wide range of genres and eventually find one or a few genres they enjoy and would like to specialize in. If you want to start making money from your photography, you will encounter an important question: should you specialize or be a generalist? This excellent video features an experienced photographer discussing the question and offerings some useful advice. 

Coming to you from David Bergman with Adorama TV, this great video discusses whether it is better to be a specialist or generalist photographer. If you are a hobbyist, you should not feel any pressure to specialize; just shoot whatever makes you happy. On the other hand, if you are planning to make money from your photography, the majority of professionals will tell you it is better to specialize. Professional photography is already quite inundated, and as such, it can be tough to distinguish yourself and attract clients. If you are a generalist, you may be competent in many genres, but you might not particularly excel at any of them, and as such, you will have trouble making yourself notable. If you specialize, you will probably be better able to develop work that really catches the eyes of potential clients. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Bergman. 

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2 Comments
Tom Reichner's picture

There's specializing, and then there's really specializing.

I thought that by only photographing wildlife, I was a specialist. But a friend of mine shoots ONLY Whitetail Deer, Largemouth Bass, and Wild Turkeys. Makes a full time living and supports his family by just photographing those 3 species.

I wonder if there's any full time pro who makes 100 percent of his living on just one species.