1 Travel Photography
This is a popular genre because you can turn your vacation into a money maker. But, travel photography is a challenging field because it encompasses many other genres, such as landscape photography and wildlife photography.
As a travel photographer, you’ll get practice in all those genres, but you’ll have to take the right equipment. The equipment you’ll need includes a variety of lenses, such as a wide angle lens, a macro lens, and a zoom lens. You’ll also likely need a tripod and flashes for variable lighting situations.
To make a living as a travel photographer, you’ll need several income streams; anything from leveraging social media to stock photos to direct client sales as well as teaching and blogging about your profession. If you’ve got a good eye, though, you can make enough money to pay your travel expenses and have a bit left over for saving.
2 Wedding Photography
When people think of professional photographers, they often think about wedding photography. Memorializing your wedding day is a must for most couples, and that is one reason why wedding photography is a lucrative genre.
You will earn your money, though, as you’ll likely be on your feet for 10 hours or more on the big day, and in some cultures, the wedding can last an entire weekend. One of the big benefits of this genre, however, is that while other genres are suffering because advances in digital photography have made it easier for amateurs to take good quality photographs, the happy couple usually still wants a professional for their wedding. Also, the job is recession-proof since people still get married even if the economy is bad.
3 Portrait Photography
Portrait photography has been around as long as there have been cameras (even before if you count paintings). There are several options in this genre for professional work–everything from newborn photography to pet portraits.
While with other types of photography genres, you are going to be pretty much self-employed, with this genre, there is the option of working for an established portrait studio. This way, you wouldn’t have to concern yourself with the business end of the field; you would just go to work, take pictures, and go home.
If working for an established studio isn’t for you, you can open your own studio. If you do that, you have control over the marketing, the work you do, the hours, and the equipment. For many people, that’s preferable to working for a studio, but another option is to partner with an established photographer. If you do that, you can work with someone experienced in the field while building your own reputation.
4 Landscape Photography
Landscape photography fits in well with travel photography since you’re often traveling to exotic destinations. But, landscape photography can also involve man-made structures in urban environments. For example, cityscapes and street photography.
To be successful at landscape photography, you’ve got to learn all about your camera and other equipment, be prepared to travel, and be patient! You often have to wait for the right time of day or the right kind of light to get that perfect shot.
You’ve also got to educate yourself about composition. For example, a rule similar to the rule of thirds is the golden ratio, it’s like the rule of thirds, but closer to the center of the image. Many landscape photographers prefer to use the golden ratio for this genre.
Of course, you’ll also have to market yourself and find the right outlet for your photographs. Working as a landscape photographer is harder than most people realize, but the benefits are worth the extra work. In fact, some landscape photographers have literally made millions for their images.
5 Wildlife Photography
For animal lovers, this is the genre for you! But, wildlife photography is a challenging field where patience is key. You have to go where your subjects are, be willing to wait for them to appear, and be ready when they do.
That means you’ll need the right equipment, something that can handle fast-moving subjects and variable light conditions. And, that’s just getting the images; then, you have to sell them.
If you’re serious about making money from wildlife photography, you’ll have to market yourself and your images. Doing things like selling photos at craft fairs and running wildlife photography workshops can help to get your images and your name out there.
It is also worthwhile to give talks to promote your images and to seek out certain clients like newspapers and magazines. As with any of the genres here, taking the photographs is only the beginning, marketing them is key.
6 Film Photography
One of the benefits of film photography is that it forces you to learn every aspect of the camera and be more meticulous in your shots. It teaches you more than digital photography about light, and how to use and manipulate it. And, even happy accidents created by film photography can be considered works of art.
Also, for medium or large formats, film can produce a 400 megapixel image. Furthermore, there are many professionals who still yearn for the experience provided by film photography that digital photography just can’t match.
7 Sports Photography
If you’re interested in this genre, you should first understand the sport you are hoping to photograph. That will help you visualize the images you can create, which will help you both to position yourself for those shots and prepare your camera.
With regard to the camera, you’ll want to be sure you understand autofocus and subject tracking. These features are key to sports photography. Autofocus should be set on continuous to make sure the subject you’re tracking is always in focus. Subject tracking ensures that you’re focusing on the correct subject.
Aside from these features, you’ll want to make sure you understand shutter speed (it should be at least 1/400 seconds), and you’ll want to invest in a fast zoom lens. That will help you get close to the action and capture the interactions and emotions on the field.