A photographer I know here in Charlotte, Brian Gomsak, recently wrote a blog article on whether or not photographers should specialize. That subject seems to come up frequently when photographers are gathered.
There are passionate supporters on both sides of the argument. I'm not 100% sure that I've decided what I should do, but I'm starting to see patterns in my own work that may indicate what I've already made the decision.
When I started my photography business, people would ask me "What do you shoot?" and my stock answer has always been rather cheeky --- "I'll shoot anything but porn... but if things get really bad, maybe I'll do that too." That was before the economy tanked. I haven't started shooting porn, but I've thought about it every time the bank account gets low.
So does this mean that I've been shooting everything and anything? Kind of. I'll try to capture just about anything. It's mainly figuring out how to make your subject look good or appropriate and that's a matter of controlling the light. But what do people hire me for? That is starting to narrow down to two things: people and flowers. Usually in black and white.
I love shooting flowers. Georgia O'Keefe hated flowers, but said "they're cheaper than models and they don't move." I don't hate flowers. I love flowers. I just have a brown thumb so the flowers I photograph aren't long for this world after I finish with them. Hopefully that doesn't take the shine off my flower work for you.
People are different. People can be a bit of a challenge. After all, they move and are possessed of their own opinions and insecurities. But their capacity and thirst for joy can be boundless. When I am blessed with capturing that moment of joy, it becomes infectious and I revisit those images as I work.
So have I made a conscious decision about what to specialize in? Not really. I think the work has found me.