The highest compliment I can pay a photographer goes something like this…
“I saw a photo on Facebook and instantly knew that it was yours.”
If you have a recognizable style. . . If you have developed and perfected a particular approach to photography over a prolonged period of time. . .If you have mastered a type of photography to the point where you are a true subject matter expert, then you have a body of work.
And the pursuit of such things should be on the top of every serious photographer’s wishlist.
If you have a body of work, you will automatically draw extra attention to your photographs that won’t come otherwise. It’s actually more important (career wise) to develop mastery of a particular style than to demonstrate versatility.
Finding a niche and owning it is the most important step I ever took in my photographic career. I can photograph just about anything, using just about any camera, and produce predicable and salable results. But by focusing on bird photography, I draw much more business and get published much more often.
If you do find a niche, no matter how small, it can make your photos stand out and it builds credibility with your audience to see you consistently and constantly deliver more work. As Derrick Story related on this month’s episode of the PictureMethods Podcast, if you have a niche, no matter how small, as long as you dominate that niche, you will have a good business.
Beyond getting more traction for your photography, there are other reasons to concentrate on creating a body of work.
It challenges your skillset and forces you to develop a work ethic. This usually yields better images…
It allows you to look deeper into the subject matter, methods, tools and best practices that make your kind of photography special…
HOW DO YOU CREATE A BODY OF WORK?
This is a deep subject and no one blog post can answer that question, but I can give you starting points.
1. Make sure to pick a theme and stick to it
2. Think niche and then think niche within a niche
3. The more you drill down into the kind of images that evoke emotion the better
4. Have a consistent style using consistent tools
5. Make sure the presentation is consistent
6. Consistency is of primary importance
7. Relentless commitment to producing more and more work, refining as you go
8. Create from your heart
9. Build work based on your ability to connect with your subject so others can too
The best reason I know to concentrate on creating a body of work is this. It frees you up to refine your voice. It lets you tailor the photographic stories you tell in a manner that is unique to you.
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