Nowadays we live in a digital world where anyone and everyone can take a photo. No skills required. As a result, the average quality of modern photos has become watered-down. For every one inspiring and visually appealing photo we see, we surely see at least 100 ugly and forgettable ones. It’s easy to mistakenly write photography off as just another fad for self-absorbed millennials and hipsters, but good photography doesn’t deserve that. Good photography is timeless and requires great skill, a vision, and a set of balls.
Photography is a broad term with countless differing fields/niches – you might like one but hate another. The possibilities are endless. If the idea of photographing interesting things appeals to you – but the thought of selfies, flower shots, and children’s portraits make you cringe – then this article is for you. Some fields of photography just have a way of bringing out our natural male instincts more than others, and that makes them worth pursuing by us men. In this article I present to you eight of them. Let’s get started.
1. Candid Street Photography
I begin with my favorite of all. The same way most men are afraid to cold approach women, the overwhelming majority of photographers out there are afraid to confront people. It takes guts to walk around a city’s streets and point your giant camera at random people, but that’s exactly what must be done to capture the most meaningful street images. You have to get very far out of your comfort zone. This makes a good street photographer worth their weight in gold, as quality street images are rare due to their high discomfort factor. Search for photographs of any city in the world, and I bet at least 50% of the images you find will be of famous landmarks. Only a fraction of a fraction will be raw scenes from the street.
If you want to awaken your inner hunter, street photography is great for an adrenaline rush. You can use stealth or brute force. You never know how different people will react to your presence – some people may want to talk and shake your hand, while others might want to crack your skull open. But by taking on this niche of photography, you separate yourself from 98% of your photographer peers, and that makes it all the more challenging and fun. You’ll learn a lot about the locals too.
2. Wildlife Photography
This is as close to hunting as you can get without actually killing anything. In fact many of the same elements in hunting are carried over to wildlife photography – learning to be swift and unnoticed, the need for extreme patience, analyzing the patterns of your subject from afar, stabilizing your camera to get a nice clean shot, etc. If you want to sharpen your predator-prey instincts while also having a great thrill, then wildlife photography is the way to go.
Don’t be a pussy and just go to a zoo to take photos of caged animals. Rather get out there in the wild and learn what the elements are really like. You’ll learn a lot and come out the other side with a newfound respect for nature and animals. It might sound cheesy, but photographing something as simple as a bird singing its mating song can be incredibly interesting and rewarding. It’s yet another outdoor activity that beats being a lazy homebody.
3. Landscape Photography
This one is for the adventure seekers out there. It’s also what most of us probably think of when fine photography comes to mind. There’s no shortage of stunning landscapes in our world if you’re just willing to go out and find them. Climbing a mountain, hiking a trail, or trekking through the woods are already exciting enough, but when you know there’s an awesome photo opportunity waiting for you at the end, they become all the more satisfying.
It’s not going to be easy though. Carrying a heavy ass tripod and a backpack full of lenses up a mountain is hard work. Trying to frame a perfect shot in freezing wind on top of a snowcapped mountain is not ideal. But nothing good in life comes easy, and exceptional photography is no exception. Yet the sense of accomplishment you achieve by pushing through to the end is priceless, and that is embodied in the shot you take.
Landscape photography is also one of the most in demand niches. You’re not going to get rich from it, but if you’re trying to monetize your photography endeavors, it’s one of the best places to start. It will also attract the most admirers from the mainstream. So if you want to reach the widest audience, this is where it’s at.
4. Cityscape Photography
Nothing beats natural beauty, but there’s also plenty of beauty to be found in the man-made. Even ugly old buildings can be photogenic if shot from the right perspective. Some of my most memorable travel experiences were the odd situations I found myself in trying to find a unique vantage point of my host city. Instead of climbing mountains, you might find yourself climbing buildings going from rooftop to rooftop. And if you can find a like-minded photographer friend to go with you, it makes the experience just that much more exciting.
Civilization dates back thousands and thousands of years, and capturing it in its modern and ever-changing form can be enthralling. Cityscape photography is one of the fastest growing niches, and if you try it yourself you’ll quickly understand why. There’s a whole lot to be discovered in your own urban jungle of a backyard.
Looking up into the night sky is an age-old tradition that is less and less appreciated in our rapidly changing modern world. But if you actually enjoy astronomy or camping, then astrophotography is a great way to make those outdoor experiences even better. All of those tiny stars and galaxies in the sky above us can actually be photographed with the right camera, equipment, and know how. Patience is vital, as each shot requires several minutes of exposure time, but the payoff is gorgeous and vibrant images that look like something out of a sci-fi flick. I myself am not exactly a camping lover, but the opportunity for some good astrophotography is always enough to draw me in. The cosmos deserve more appreciation.
6. Women’s Fashion and Style Photography
You can take portraits of dudes, sure, but taking pictures of hot and confident women is so much more fun. And I’m not talking about taking a lame office bulletin board portrait, I’m talking about taking a stylish portrait from on top of a building or while she’s lying nude in bed.
To get the best images out of attractive women, the model and the photographer have to have good chemistry. You have to know exactly how to pose them to make them look their best – the angle of their chin, the expression on their face, their body language, etc. This forces you as a photographer to learn how women’s minds work in regards to their own beauty, as well as how to make them feel comfortable around you. Game and frame are key. You also have to have a decent eye for fashion and style, which is something women universally respect.
So if you want to meet attractive women in a more natural setting, this is a good way to go. Establish yourself as a stylish professional who’s a master of his craft, and your opportunities for new connections with the opposite sex will increase tenfold. Women respect a man who can bring out their hotness in his photos. Just don’t become one of those pathetic chumps with a DSLR camera who follows a hot girl around anytime she has an itch for a new Instagram pic. You better be getting something in return for your hard work.
I lived in Bangkok during the late 2013 “Shutdown BKK” political protests, which lasted for nearly two months. Fortunately or unfortunately, I happened to live only 100 meters from the epicenter of the protests. The mainstream media was painting the scene to be chaotic and violent, yet what I was seeing every day in front of me was not anything like it was being portrayed on TV or on the big news sites. From that day forward, I knew for a fact that the media truly does blow everything out of proportion. It’s all about sensationalism, and the casualty is reality.
This encouraged me to go out with my own camera and document what I was seeing around me. Investigating things on your own can be very eye-opening yet enlightening at the same time. Seeing things with your own eyes and not through a politically correct or overly paranoid filter is invaluable.
The range of topics you could cover are endless – political protests, social issues, interesting people or groups, environmental changes, culturally significant places, human migrations, and so on. Some of the things you encounter on your photographic journey might unexpectedly change your beliefs, and if you can embody that in your photos, what you learned can speak volumes to your audience.
8. Travel Photography
This is a very broad term, as any of the above could technically be classified as “travel” photography. The most important aspect of it, however, is that it makes the viewer feel as if they’ve been transported to your destination. Even better if they learn a thing or two from your photo.
Make it your goal to capture an image that screams the name of your destination. An it-couldn’t-have-been-taken-at-any-other-place kind of photo. Cultural hotspots like festivals, sporting events, wet markets, ethnic enclaves, transportation hubs, and walking streets often have the best photographic opportunities. Famous tourist sites do sometimes make for good photos, but they have already been photographed to death. So unless you can capture them from a unique perspective, leave them for the next obnoxious selfie stick carrying tourist to shoot.
There are many ways to make trips more fun and exciting, but capturing unforgettable images is surely one the most rewarding on a personal level. Try it the next time you go somewhere new. Just don’t forget to be mindful and respectful of whatever/whomever you decide to shoot.
Photography is not just about the camera and the subject. Rather it’s largely about the experiences you have before even pushing the shutter button. Getting out of your comfort zone with a camera can open up all kinds of unique opportunities that you didn’t even know existed.
Photography also provides plenty of opportunities for personal growth. You might develop an eye for detail, learn how to talk to new people, understand how to game women, or even become more physically fit. Outstanding photos are produced by outstanding photographers with great skills, both photographic and personal.
So just because photography has sadly become all about women’s selfies and showing off these days, doesn’t also mean it’s a hobby to be written off entirely by us men. Learn which fields of photography suit your own personality and interests, and you just might discover an awesome hobby you’ve been missing out on your entire life.