Contrary to what most people think, photography is a wide subject that cuts across a broad array of diverse niches. And if you’ve been wondering what each of these niches entail or their basic requirements, then here is a comprehensive breakdown of each of them.
1. Wildlife photography
Of all photography styles, none outranks wildlife photography in complexity, diversity and adventure. However, in as much as it appears appealing and exciting externally, wildlife photography remains one of the most challenging form of taking pictures today. First of all, the excursions that accompany the process of taking photos in the wild are often characterised by physical danger, adverse weather conditions and not to mention a rough terrain.
But if you’re looking to venture into wildlife photography, here are a few helpful suggestions.
a.) Consider conducting some extensive background research on the subject featuring in your photos. A first-hand perspective on a day or two in the life of a wild animal, for instance, will go a long way in ensuring that you capture the most stunning images of the subject with very minimal distraction. Besides, the importance of familiarising yourself and getting acquainted with the mannerisms of the animal is even more pronounced when dealing with a potentially dangerous animal e.g. a lion, tiger or bear.
b.) This might be obvious, but don’t expect any cooperation from your wild subjects. So, consider arming yourself with a pair of telephoto zoom lenses and standing at a vantage point if at all you’re looking to end up with some presentable shots.
c.) Apart from the telephoto lenses, you will also need some more specialised camera gear such a Centre-weighted metering. Which, of course, will allow you estimate the position of the wildlife at the centre of your frame based on the sensing area and how far it is from you.
2. Landscape photography
Landscape photography is considered one of the least challenging shooting styles – that’s the opinion of 95% of experienced photographers. It mainly involves taking aerial photos atop towers, buildings or even planes. But if you want more than a bird’s eye view of unique natural features such as mountain ranges or forests, then you have to borrow a leaf or two from the wildlife photographers playbook.
Once you have identified an idyllic spot for a panoramic photo (which is actually the tough part), the rest is easier as you will only need to wait for the right lighting conditions for a perfect shot. Sometimes, this might mean braving the weather and scouting for days in the jungle before finally taking the photo.
In terms of camera gear, any landscape photographer needs at least a pair wide-angle lenses for the added depth and immersive effect that makes such photos fascinating to look at. Also, a wide-angle lens provides a broader range of useful focal lengths during fine-tuning compared to standard ones. But don’t forget that you will also need a variety of telephoto lenses to complement the wide angle ones in some circumstances such when taking purely aerial photos.
3. Sports events photography
Sports photography is a rather queer style of taking shots that calls for an equally unique set of skills. But that’s only because it involves fast-paced movements, dramatic moments and even crowded scenes. In such settings, the length of the lens, the possibility of blurring the images and the location of the shooter often have a role to play in the final quality of the image captured.
And speaking of images, most photographers use telephoto zoom lenses to capture sports images due to their ability to magnify the image and make it ‘pop out’. Something that adds to overall action spelt by the photo. Ideally, the best telephoto lenses cut out for sports photography boasts focal lengths of between 100 to 1000mm. Remember that the higher the focal length, the wider the visual area captured. So, if you’re looking to capture an entire soccer field, then a 300-600mm should serve you better than a 100mm lens.
To minimise blurring, especially in fast-motion sports such as soccer or tennis, you might want to invest in a camera with a very fast shutter speed. A good example is any 35mm Sony or Nikon shooter. Again, make sure that the camera’s autofocus shooting mode is up to standard as it is almost impossible to use the manual mode for action. But even then, avoid clamping or holding the camera stationary when taking the photographs. Rather, pan the camera in the same direction as the movement of the action to limit the undesired effects of motion blur.
If you’re a keen observer, then you know that sports photography goes beyond just capturing great, blur-free images. Your audience will also be interested in the players’ and the crowd’s facial expression and aura, particularly if the photos are meant for a newspaper or sports blog.
4. Fashion photography
Unlike other photographers, a fashion shooter needs to be creative, a fast thinker and most importantly have an eye for aesthetics, vogue and exquisite tastes. And since your job is to project an impression of elegance and opulence to the audience, then it goes without saying that there is no room for mediocre and run-of-the-mill shots in fashion-based photography.
While standard lenses can work just fine in such a setting, a fashion photographer needs to an extraordinary level of sophistication coupled with a fine dexterity in photoshopping and image editing to stand out.
5. Shooting models and celebrities
It is arguably one of the most glamorous and rewarding fields, but still challenging in its own right. For starters, bear in mind that celebrities can be a little self-entitled and hard to pin down for interviews, leave alone a photo shoot. But that only happens in the first few months of business. In fact, after you have established yourself as a reputable brand, you will no longer have to look for such A-list clients as most of them depend on referrals to choose photographers.
But even with being said, you will also need to invest a huge chunk of your resources in photo editing and photo correction so that the final image can match the person’s taste, style or brand.
The above photography styles might appear different, but have one thing in common. It takes time to practice and master the skill, as well as a great deal of passion to carve a name for yourself in any modern-day photography niche.