Narrow Your Scope

Minolta Camera

Ok, what do I mean by narrow your scope? Well it has probably been said in a number of different ways – finding your niche or becoming that expert in one thing. That is what I am getting at.  The post was inspired by a video I saw on the site, twip.

The episode is titled, The Power of Personal Projects, and the topic overall was very eye opening for me. The guest speaker, Levi Sim, made an analogy which crystallized the aforementioned title of this post. I am going to paraphrase here but the general idea was this:

Imagine that you choose to become the best sports player. So, you work at basketball, baseball, soccer, football, golf, tennis etc. You learn what there is to know about all these games but you never become a master at any one of them because there is just too much to learn.

Now imagine if you decided to choose just one of the sports and choose to  master it – for example, soccer. Off course, soccer was the first thing that came to mind given the World Cup competition is currently in swing. But, I digress. If you specialize in soccer, you learn not only the rules of the game, but the techniques for different plays, you learn the footwork to gain more control of the ball so you can deliver the ball to a particular player or position every time, all the time. After mastering that you learn more about your opponents, their techniques for playing and how you can take advantage of it or work around it. You learn how to predict their moves and how to work around their strategies. So, after a period of time you become a master of the game. You can be assured of a win or a very competitive play anytime, all the time.

Now here is the important question. Imagine a coach is looking for a new player to add to his soccer team. After looking at the two players – the sports player and the soccer player who is he going to choose? Yeap, you guessed it! He is going to choose the soccer player. It is not that the sports player is not good, but sometimes you need a real screwdriver and not a swiss-army knife.

That is what I mean by narrow your scope. It is great to learn the ins-and-outs of photography – dabble in architecture photography, learn some travel photography, learn some landscape, learn some sports photograph etc. But, if you truly want to standard out from the crowd you need to narrow your scope and own it.

By no means am I saying that you should give up on the other genres of photography. They are all really good if you want to find out what you like and what you would like to specialize in. It is always going to be need for generalizing in the beginning. But, if you want to turn professional and attract a following, your followers need to know what you are bringing to the table and what you are good at. So, narrow your scope and own that genre.


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