Photography can be expensive, it can be cheap, and it’s usually somewhere in-between. So, which genres are the hardest to shoot if you don’t have much money for equipment?
A common platitude in photography is that you don’t need much to create great images. It’s true enough, and there are areas even fought to make that known. While it is a useful piece of information to remember when you look at another photographer’s work and kit bag and your eyes turn green, it isn’t true. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
Photography is fun, rewarding and creative, no matter which genre you shoot. Like any other hobby or profession, it has its challenges and things that are difficult to conquer.
The best thing about being a beginner and aspiring photographer is that you are free to explore virtually every photography niche there is. Fashion, photojournalism, sports, events—armed with a camera, you can try it all out and improve your skill at the same time.
But as you gain more experience, you’ll find that it’s hard to master a specific style if you don’t stick to it. It may be the very thing that could be holding you back from being successful in a particular niche.
As time moves on, you will get the typical urge photographers to feel regardless of genre: You would want more of what you had. That is, as a macro photographer, you would like to get closer to the subject. As a wildlife photographer, you would want more reach on your lenses. As a portrait photographer, you would want a wider maximum aperture, and so on.
Nowadays, we’ve seen various cover shoots of glamorous models taken with just an iPhone, to the point where the concept has become tired and unimpressive. But is this true of all genres? No, certainly not. So, which genres are the hardest for beginners to shoot on a low budget? Here is what we would consider being the most difficult.
You’ve likely seen photos of athletes doing their thing, from Andy Murray smashing a winner to Anthony Joshua throwing a thunderous haymaker. What you don’t see is the effort, focus, and skill that made those stunning photos possible. , taking pictures of people in action is not as easy as it looks.
With sport, you need to cover all sorts of different ranges, lights, and speeds of play, and it requires a preparedness that transcends experience alone.
Think of taking action shots as trying to capture a fleeting moment in time – once it has passed you by, it is gone forever. You need to be always on the lookout for that perfect moment and make sure that your camera is in the correct setting, so once you start shooting, the photos will be just the way you want them. For action photography, shutter speed is crucial, and it recommended that photographers utilise the camera sports Mode’ which automatically sets a fast shutter speed. Alternatively, the exposure can be changed to TV [or S] for Shutter Priority, and the shutter speed set to 1/250th of a second or more.
Now, this isn’t to say that to do any sports photography, you need a used Mercedes worth of camera gear, but it’s undeniably a challenging field to get good shots in as a beginner. If we overlook the technical difficulties of ever-changing light, distance, and weather in conjunction with the pace of most sports, you still have to have a lens with good reach even to get a shot in most scenarios.
Indeed, a photography genre will need deep pockets and investment if you want to be shooting high-end images eventually. Your photographs will be your most treasured wedding keepsake. Not sure where to start when it comes to looking for your wedding photographer of choice?
Astrophotography is at a strange point in time, not unlike many other genres. It’s more accessible than ever before, with mobile phones entering the arena recently. However, the best astrophotography still requires a great many components. With regards to equipment, you will likely need a wide and fast lens, a body with an excellent sensor, a strong tripod, perhaps a star tracker, and so on. That’s without the requisite need to travel to a dark spot, which can be anything from local for the lucky, isolated few to long-haul flights! Much like the other categories, you can, of course, shoot this genre with entry-level equipment, but if you want to be shooting great images, you’ll likely need to invest!
Outdoor Winter Shots
Taking outdoor photos during winter can be quite tricky, especially when snowflakes fall from every direction imaginable. Fog can be an issue at times, too, as it can affect visibility to varying degrees. Plus, the chilling cold can be uncomfortable, making it hard to focus on composition and lighting. Taking a good, quality photo is hard enough; doing so amid the elements complicates things a tad more. There is then the matter of keeping your camera dry. Protecting your camera is a high priority. We suggest watching the camera by putting it in a camera bag while moving around to prevent it from getting too cold. Silica gels can be useful, also, for such conditions.
Underwater conditions are very different from land conditions, and that fact alone makes underwater photography both challenging and exciting. You have to swim, all while holding your equipment and deciding what you will freeze in a snapshot. Your vision will be affected too, with everything appearing much bigger underwater than on land and colours looking all drab and dull (as water absorbs light). Even choosing the lens to use can be tricky as there is no one-lens-fits-all choice for taking photos underwater.
Wildlife photography is one of the most alluring genres for most people. If you live somewhere rich in species, then you’ll continuously see opportunities to capture them. If the most exciting thing you’ll see in the wild is a badger, going to places with diverse wildlife is exciting. It would help if you had such a long lens to get a remotely enjoyable image of nature that on a 35mm equivalent sensor, you’d have needed a lens of at the very least 300mm, but more realistically 600mm or more with a teleconverter. That sort of glass is about as expensive as it gets! In addition to that, you’ll need your long lens to be fast and still potentially need a body that can handle high ISO well.
Candid shots are similar to actions photos, although, with the former, there is this particular human element that you want to capture. This is why they are one of the more difficult shots to master. Professional photographers, in particular, need to be creative in taking candid photos, especially during weddings and the subsequent reception, as this type of image adds a touch of fun to every wedding album.
In the UK, casino games like blackjack and roulette at wedding receptions have become quite popular. They are now, in some form, part and parcel of the majority of weddings. This alternative entertainment option gives guests unique ways to have fun during the reception. Blackjack, an all-time favourite, is one of the go-to choices, as the felt table is easy to set up, while chips and cards are readily available. This trend also affords wedding photographers plenty of opportunities to take candid shots of players enjoying the games. This option is becoming the “in” thing because casino gaming is becoming an increasingly popular pastime. Of course, playing on a device can’t compare to the fun of a blackjack table at a wedding, and a lot of couples want to replicate the exciting atmosphere of a casino at their reception. These tables are also the perfect opportunity for great candid photos. They are just not that easy to master.
Taking photos in poorly lit conditions is no easy pickings, especially for beginners. Sure, one can use the camera’s flash or even set up a light system, but what if those options are not available? Besides, using the camera’s flash can be quite tricky, as you will likely not get the results you want. To take great photos in low-light situations, we recommend learning how exposure works, and by extension, the ins and outs of shutter speed and aperture settings.
Hardest Things about Photography and How to Conquer Them
How to get everything in focus, where to focus on woodland, how to get a perfectly sharp photo are a few of the things that many people struggle with. But of course, there are ways to achieve a rapid picture and get everything in focus.
First, remember the more comprehensive the lens, the more you’ll have in focus. You rely on hyperfocal distance, but it doesn’t work for some types of photos (such as photos where you have the mountains in the distance). In this case, think about the furthest subject that is supposed to be in focus. If you’re shooting in woodland, we suggest that you focus on the most prominent tree.
FINDING INTERESTING PLACES TO SHOOT IN URBAN/BORING AREAS
Another problem many people face is finding interesting locations in urban areas or their neighbourhoods and cities. If you shoot portraits, you can find excellent portrait locations even in your community (and even if it’s an ugly or boring one). And if you’re a landscape or travel photographer, returning to the same place to shoot can be awesome and have a positive effect on your photography. Just keep your eyes open, always searching for exciting compositions and subjects.
FINDING TIME AND MOTIVATION TO SHOOT
This is particularly applicable to landscape photographers because it takes up a lot of your time. But travel photographers could relate as well. In a way, you can click this point to the previous one:
- Find a nice spot in your hometown or neighbourhood and spend some time there, relaxing and taking photos.
- When you take your dog out, bring your camera along.
- Make fair use of a sunrise: once or twice a month, get up before dawn, spend an hour or two shooting, and go on with your day.
You don’t need to travel far and spend all day outside taking stunning photos.
People also find photographing in woodlands to be very challenging. Here are three tips for those who want to take better woodland photos:
- Use your phone: grab your phone, walk around a bit and search for good composition, focusing on nothing but that. Capture some pictures with your phone, and then return with your camera.
- Find one location and return woodland changes a lot in different weather conditions and different light. So, find one place you like and return there a couple of times; you’ll always find something new and exciting.
- Shoot in fog: fog transforms the scene and makes it much easier to find a good composition. Plus, it adds drama to the stage.
Many photographers have also said that they find it challenging to find the right locations and then go back to them again. It’s true; it can take a lot of time and a lot of returning to the same place to get the light the way you want it and understand how it reacts to the environment. But you can make it easier by choosing just one location and spend an entire day there, shooting at different times of the day. For example, when you’re travelling, choose a few places and hit a different one each day, don’t just run around and shoot dozens of locations during one day.
One of the most common problems most photographers listed was using lighting in different conditions. This also applies to landscape photographers, but I’m sure that anyone who shoots exclusively in natural light encounters the same challenge. This comes from preconceived ideas that only the golden hour is what makes a good light. However, it would help if you learned to embrace every morning that Mother Nature gives you when you get to the scene. Here are a few suggestions:
- Have pre-planned locations: think about places you can visit in different lighting and weather conditions. For example, rainy days and fog are suitable for shooting in woodlands, overcast days can give you a great mood when shooting waterfalls, and sunny days with fluffy clouds are ideal for shooting valleys.
- Look at how light changes the composition
- Find a location that works in any light and shoot it at different lighting conditions.
As many as 23% think that finding the right composition is the most challenging thing about photography. I agree with this one, mostly when I shoot film and don’t have the luxury to try out a few compositions. Here are three suggestions for conquering this challenge:
- Please keep it simple: remove things from the scene instead of adding them. If something isn’t contributing to the stage, just leave it out.
- Balance your images: find the balance between the lighting, shapes and colours in your images
- Use a longer lens: okay, shooting landscapes with a telephoto lens can make it more challenging to keep everything in focus (see point #1). But it will help remove unwanted elements from the scene.
Types of Photography: Which Niche is Right for You?
Now that we’ve explained difficult genres and things in photography, we’re here to help you understand some of the most popular niches in photography, what they’re like, and how you can excel in each of them. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.
Most Popular Types of Photography
Instead of being the Jack of all trades, you can specialise in one photography niche (or sub-niche) and slowly work your way up to success. Below are some of the most popular types of photography:
- Portrait Photography
- Still Life Photography
- Landscape Photography
- Food Photography
- Macro Photography
- Event Photography
- Fashion Photography
- Street Photography
- Documentary Photography
- Weather Photography
- Long Exposure Photography
Portraiture is arguably one of the most popular photography styles. Today, virtually anybody can practice this genre with their smartphones. With powerful specs becoming more accessible and social media platforms promoting sharing our lives’ highlights, it’s become natural to point and shoot.
Also known as candid photography, the beauty of portrait photography allows you to capture a subject’s personality. This can be done through poses, close-ups, and evoking genuine expressions. Professional photographers in this niche usually photograph supermodels or famous personalities on red carpets or at magazine shoots. Still, in some cases, they also do graduation pictures, family portraits, and professional headshots for aspiring models and actors.
For a more compelling portrait, make sure to highlight your subject’s best features by playing with lighting, shadows, and distance.
Still Life Photography
As the name entails, this popular photography niche mainly involves taking photos of objects. It crosses over to product photography, through which advertising agencies have branded items photographed for catalogues, magazines, and billboards. You can feature just one main product or several that follow a central theme, just like in the photo above.
One of the secrets in taking amazing still life photos is to have great lighting, whether outdoor or indoor. In product photography, many photographers use a lightbox. This eliminates harsh shadows by illuminating the item from all angles.
Those who love to travel have indeed taken a lot of landscape photos. Contrary to popular belief, this genre is not limited to horizontal images. Shooting vertically lets you shoot tall trees, mountains, and anything else you may feel compelled to capture while exploring the great outdoors.
This generation also offers us more creative possibilities with drones. With such technology, it has become much easier to capture a bird’s eye view of landscapes, breathing in more depth to our shots. To get the best results, you’ll need to upgrade from your smartphone or compact digital camera. Invest in the proper gear, and use the right lenses for landscape photography.
If we were writing this article about a decade ago, the food photography niche would be a lot harder to break into. Fortunately, today’s social media generation has influenced us to keep taking photos of our food, whether for fun or marketing purposes.
With today’s camera phone specs, it may not be necessary to use a professional standalone camera. A decent camera phone and the right lighting are enough for truly mouthwatering food shots.
Just make sure that the correct white balance is set to get accurate colours. You can also boost your images’ saturation (especially the reds and yellows) to make your food look even more appealing.
Those who want to take genuinely incredible images tend to like macro photography. Capturing objects to make them look much more significant than they are is relatively easy, as long as you have the right equipment. You can equip your smartphone with a clip-on macro lens accessory or use a macro lens with a DSLR or mirrorless camera for more ideal high-resolution results.
If you’re looking for regular photography work, macro photography may not be the right niche for you. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent genre for those who want to capture artistic, highly compelling photos.
Event photography is a comprehensive and popular niche that includes many specific events, such as concerts, birthdays, corporate meetings, and weddings. It usually involves a mix of different photography techniques as you may be taking pictures of everything from people and their candid moments to the venue and the food.
What makes a good portfolio for this genre is knowing how to tell a story with your pictures rather than just covering the event itself. It will take a lot of practice, particularly in dealing with people and protecting a specific event type. You’ll also need a variety of lenses to successfully bag each shot in your “shot list” and not miss any critical moments.
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When people think of a job in photography, many suggest fashion photography. For decades, it has remained one of the most lucrative niches, thanks to its demand in advertising and marketing.
Fashion photos typically feature supermodels and celebrities in high-fashion clothes, shoes, and accessories. Due to the need to showcase the outfits, this niche usually involves many full-body shots. However, it can also apply some portrait shooting, so you may want to practice your portraiture skills to get into fashion photography.
Depending on the clothing style, fashion can take you anywhere—from studios with full lighting setups and modelling runways to the great outdoors. If you want to break into fashion photography, you’ll need to equip yourself with a lot of skill in dealing with different kinds of people, posing, and in both the artistic and technical aspects of the craft.
Street photography is a particularly appealing niche for those who bring their camera everywhere and enjoy exploring their artistic freedom. It’s a unique photography genre that documents the human condition and captures unplanned events as they unfold, usually with no central theme or topic. The best part is that you can use different types of cameras for street photography.
Usual subjects include street vendors, street food, children, graffiti artworks, and a lot of concrete, sometimes in black-and-white. They don’t necessarily have to be taken in the streets, as long as they highlight or portray the outside world’s reality.
Fortunately for many street photographers, such photos often get featured in magazines, blogs, and newspapers. However, there isn’t always a guarantee of steady income as street photographers usually shoot wherever they wish and at their convenience instead of on a per-project basis.
Have they ever heard of war photographers? These brave people of the press are part of the documentary photography niche and other photojournalists that cover social and political problems that are a lot more historically significant. They capture raw emotion in real-life situations and significant moments in time. Images tend to be given more universal captions as they don’t merely cover local rallies or any other celebrity.
If you aspire to take timeless photos of world issues or presidents for some of the most significant magazines, documentary photography may be for you. We have an exclusive range of wedding photography Mornington Peninsula services. Check them out here.
Stock photography is another growing niche among today’s professional photographers. Stock photographers supply and sell photos that will be licensed for specific uses. Although it’s been around since the advent of photography, the market for stock photos has increased significantly due to the growing demand for blogs, websites, and digital marketing purposes.
It’s not exactly one of the most popular ways of getting into photography, but it can be a good income source. It allows you to work for yourself at your convenience. Plus, you earn passive income from repeat sales—that is, if you don’t mind taking a lot of pictures and not being able to explore your artistic freedom.
Weather photography is outdoor photography that mainly showcases different—usually harsh and extreme—weather conditions, such as hurricanes, snowstorms, sandstorms, hailstorms, and even thunderstorms. Many photographers worldwide chase life-threatening storms to capture the beauty of what we are usually quick to hide and run away from.
When given a chance, this niche will pay you well and reward you with possibly award-winning images, but whether it’s worth the effort to shoot and risk your life is up to you.
Long Exposure Photography
Long exposure photography involves using your camera’s technical abilities to hold the shutter open for more extended periods, allowing you to capture surreal images that we won’t ever get to see with the naked eye. This genre crosses over to night photography and astrophotography, resulting in incredible light streaks, starbursts, and stunning gradients (at the very least) in what appears to be a dull black sky in real life. It also includes using an ND filter during the daytime to capture velvety smooth lakes and frothy rivers.
Given that long exposure photography requires the use of long shutter speeds, you’ll need to upgrade your gear with a tripod, a remote shutter release, a camera with good low-light performance, and real skill in manual photography.
Over to You
What genres do you think are the hardest for beginners to shoot well without lots of equipment? Is there a genre you struggled with when you first started? Did you find a way around the gear barriers some genres put up?
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Whatever your niche, your end product as a photographer is essential. Think about the creative ways you can showcase your best work.