Should photographers specialise or be generalists?

Should photographers specialise or be generalists?

There are so many blogs and comments online or on social media about the need to specialise, to become known for a particular skill or genre of photography, that it would be easy to get sucked into that whole concept.

However, it’s a concept I disagree with. It might garner a few extra followers or likes on social media, but as a strategy, it’s limiting. Of course, there are photographers who do confine themselves to one particular genre or style through an overriding passion for their chosen subject, and that’s a good thing, but if like so many photographers, you see images everywhere, then why not simply indulge yourself? When somebody looks at your body of work, or a potential client is checking to see if you’re the photographer for their project, the quality of your work is what will count.

Ansel Adams for instance photographed in all sorts of genres even though he’s largely known now for his landscapes, but his other work was similarly skilled and beautiful.

The great benefit of ranging across all manner of photographic genres is that skills gained in one genre can inform and enhance your work in other genres. So let’s not get caught up creating an artificial notion of who we are, just be yourself, whether that’s specialising through a genuine passion or being a generalist who photographs subjects of any sort.