When checking out the work of other photographers (which I do all the time), I often come across these kind of descriptions:
Photographer 1: “I specialize in family portraits, event photography, infant, promotional photos for bands, head shots, high fashion model photography, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc.”
Photographer 2: “We do architecture, weddings, portraits, web and blog headshots, and full-length modeling and fashion shots.”
You’ve heard the phrase: “Jack of all trades, master of none”? There’s a lot of photographers that are ‘Jacks of all trades’, and maybe even decent at a lot of things, but what are they really good at? What are they ‘masters’ of? When you’re looking for a photographer, and you visit their websites, the opening (splash) page can tell you a lot. A generalist that leans toward weddings will have wedding images. One that prefers architecture will show buildings. A band photog will showcase a band photo. That’s what they really want to be doing, but they do all the other things to try to stay busy and keep the income streaming. These days, you can’t blame them.
I think that if you want to be really good at something, you find your niche and specialize. Not “specialize” in everything like Photographer 1, but truly specialize in one thing.
If you’re a bride looking for the best photographer you can afford for your wedding pictures, you look for a wedding photographer, right? You wouldn’t ask a headshot photographer to shoot your wedding, would you? Even if they did it really cheap, would you compromise on those very important images? Well, I believe that a great headshot can be just as important as (or maybe even more important than) wedding pictures. Do you know anyone that got work from showing off their wedding pictures (besides the photographer)? A good headshot will help you get work. It won’t get you a job, per se – you have to be able to act or sing or dance – but it can get you in the door to show off your talent.
I guess that’s a long way of saying that if you want good headshots you should hire a good headshot photographer, and be wary of someone that ‘specializes’ in 80 different types of photography.
That’s it for today’s lesson (rant)