The term “professional photographer" is a broad one, covering everything from wedding photography to photojournalism to fine art photography. Before canvassing the countryside with fliers, it's a good idea to decide which photography niche works best for you, your personality and your interests. Some popular niches are:
Wedding Photographer – Probably the first niche people think of when thinking of a “professional photographer". Wedding photographers are outgoing, energetic, passionate and not afraid to take charge when necessary. You must have a strong grasp of the technical side of photography and know how to work your camera in fast-paced environments with changing light.
Commercial and Industrial Photographer – These photographers work with businesses to provide images of buildings, products, machinery and workers for advertising, catalogs and books. Work is almost always done on location, so a traveler may enjoy this niche.
Photojournalist – Simply put—news photographer. Typically photographs for newspapers, magazines or television stations and goes where news happens, such as political gatherings and sporting events. Current event junkies may be happiest in this niche.
Portrait Photographer – These professionals may also work in the wedding photography niche, or may simply focus on senior, business and family portraits. Portrait photographers usually have their own studio to work in, but also go on location for shoots. If mostly one-on-one interaction with clients appeals, this may be the niche for you.
Fine Art Photographer – Perhaps the hardest niche to focus on because “art" is such a subjective term, a fine art photographer takes high-quality photographs and sells them as fine artwork. Artistic talent, creativity and excellent photography skills are a must for the fine art photographer.
If more than one of these photography niches sound interesting to you, find some photographers in your area who specialize in your top choices and contact them. Ask them questions and request to join them on their next shoot as a second shooter. That way you can see what's really involved in each job before settling on the one that calls to you.