12 common photography niches in uganda

Photography is a diverse profession with a variety of niches; demand is growing for more diversity and better representation across these photography niches in Uganda. There has been a moment in life where we all had to choose a niche that not only satisfies our creative needs but ignites business. Photography is vast, with so many specialization areas like fashion, nature, wildlife, still life, studio, color, documentary, portrait, black and white, photojournalism, sports, wedding photography and so on. It’s important to note that the best thing about being a hobbyist or aspiring photographer is that you have a chance to explore every photography niche— with a camera, the sky is the limit.

Finding your Photography Niche

It’s so easy to get lost in the diversity of photography, however as you become a more experienced photographer, it’s visible that you have to spend more time on a specific niche to master it. In fact, being a jack of all trades could hold you back from being successful in a particular niche. Knowing and thriving in a specific niche will maximize your income, attract clientele and see you grow into success.

In this article, we will focus on twelve popular photography specialties that have helped photographers succeed both creatively and financially. Briefly helping you understand what they’re like, and how you can maximize your potential in each of them.

Most Popular Types of Photography in Uganda

Photography as an art is relatively new; unlike other art forms, it dates back roughly two-centuries ago. Nevertheless, photography has been able to interest and employ many people through its niches. These photography specialties also define the personality and taste of a particular photographer.

One thing to keep in mind when selecting a photography niche are the legal requirements for your business.  If you are to charge clients for your photo-shoots, having a written agreement or contract is a good idea.

1. Documentary Photography

An old lady winnowing | Photo by Emmanuel Museruka for Malaika Media

In the simplest of terms, documentary photography is a niche where a photographer captures a real moment or an accurate representation of a subject to convey a message. In other words, documentary photography attempts to capture real-life situations and settings.

Documentary photographers, like photojournalists and photo-journalistic images, are expected to capture the world or everyday life as it exists. Without stage managing, directing or editing the given scene.

It’s not about directing. It is just letting real life unfold.”

Deanne Fitzmaurice

As a documentary photographer, you are required to capture raw, candid emotion in real-life situations and significant moments. As opposed to photojournalism, documentary photography concentrates on breaking news events. It typically focuses on an ongoing story seen through a series of photographs while drawing attention to difficult world issues which require some form of action.

If you aspire to take timeless photos about world issues for some of the greatest magazines, documentary photography may be for you.

2. Portrait Photography

A portrait of Blessing Naturinda at Malaika Prints|Photo by Nazil Muzungu for Malaika Media

André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri the notable French photographer invented the process of exposing multiple images onto one negative – this revolutionized the world of portrait photography. He was also responsible for popularizing celebrity portraiture. Today, it is a vast industry with professional and amateurs equally interested in this art.

Disdéri’s studio became the Temple of Photography – a place unique in its luxury and elegance.

German visitor

The goal of Portraiture is to capture the personality, mood and expression of a person or group of people. Creative freedom and flexibility are the strengths of this genre. However, lots of creative freedom attracts ambiguity; because of this, assignments heavily depend on circumstances and connections.

Professional photographers in this niche normally photograph corporate head shots, supermodels or famous personalities on red carpets or at magazine shoots, but in some cases, they also do graduation pictures, family and or portraits for aspiring models and actors.

3. Events Photography

Wedding Photos of Claire & Mbaba | Photos for Malaika Media

What do all events have in common? – FUN

If you hired a photographer to document your event, then you want (and deserve) imagery that highlights the celebration and enjoyments. Therefore, if you were hired to document an event then you have to do justice to it.

Event photography is a very popular niche that includes many specific kinds of events such as dinners, concerts, birthdays, workshops, conferences, and even weddings. It usually involves a mix of different photography techniques as you may be taking candid moments of people, venue, branding, rings, shoes, food etc.

What makes a good portfolio for this genre is knowing how to tell a story with your photos rather than just covering the event itself. It will obviously take a lot of practice, particularly in dealing with people and covering a specific type of event. You’ll also need a variety of lenses to successfully bag each shot in your “shot list” and not miss any important moments.

4. Still Life / Commercial Photography

commercial Photo of a Beautiful couple

In 1826, Joseph Nicephore Niepce was the first person to capture the first permanent still life photograph. Since then, still life photography has become popular.

Still-life photography, as a niche mainly involves taking photos of objects and focuses on creating images that are used to promote or advertise a product (both online and in print) business. It is a very popular form of photography and happens to be one of the branches of the possibilities in the studio photography arena. One of the secrets in taking amazing still life photos is to have great lighting, whether outdoor or indoor.

Like portrait photography, still life photography can be used for both artistic and commercial purposes. It crosses over to product photography through which advertising agencies have branded items photographed for catalogs, magazines and even billboards.

5. Photojournalism

Members of the public demonstrating in Soroti town| Photo by Emmanuel Museruka for Malaika Media

Photojournalism is another niche that looks at documenting an event or a story as it unfolds. The photographer is to uphold fidelity to reality, to be honest and impartial while telling the story. Therefore, the core purpose is to tell the truth without bias.

Despite the varying view points on photojournalists’ ethical responsibilities, one thing is certain; it is their job to help us experience stories through imagery. Most photojournalists work with newspapers, magazines, book publishers or certain agencies and organizations.

6. Sports Photography

Spectators watching Masaza Cup Finals at Namboole Stadium between Bulemezi and Busiro. Bulemezi won the game 1:0 | Photo by Emmanuel Museruka for Malaika Media

Sports photography is one of the most challenging photography niches. It is a fast-paced world and for that reason, it can be intimidating. A subset of event photography, this niche comes with the best seats in the house. The more you know about the sport you’re shooting, the better. You’ll be able to anticipate when the perfect photo opportunities are bound to happen.

If you are photographing a sporting event, it’s good to be clear on where you are allowed to be. The last thing you want is to be in the way or put yourself somewhere risking getting hurt or damaging your gear.

The rules of the game will give you clues on where you can expect the best action. By looking at the photos, you can learn from that photographer. What are the angles the photographer used? Where was he or she positioned to get those shots? This will help you plan on where you should be to get that compelling image.

7. Fashion Photography

A model in Nakivale Refugee settlement walking down the runway

This specialty is a cross between commercial and portrait photography. Fashion photographs are used for magazines, ads, catalogs, websites and are also displayed in retail stores. For this type of work, the subject is typically the clothing, makeup or accessories as opposed to the model.

For decades, fashion photography has remained one of the most lucrative photography niches, thanks to the demand for it in advertising and marketing. Fashion photography is everywhere. You will see hundreds of images a day of men and women dressed-up (or down), showcasing clothing, accessories, and footwear. It is one of the biggest, most profitable areas of photography. 

Fashion photography is one of those niches that escapes strict definition and for the most part, it is free from creative restriction. You can shoot whatever you want however you want as long as you are telling a story.

If you want to break into fashion photography, you’ll need to equip yourself with plenty of skills in dealing with different kinds of people. In posing, in both the artistic and technical aspects of the craft.

8. Newborn and Family Photography

Family photo of a 3 generation family

 Family photos capture a moment in time alongside those you care for most. They are treasured memories, placed on a wall or a mantle of a specific time and place. Natural photographs are the best, nevertheless this is a rewarding genre. If you have a passion for families and relationships, you’ll find this niche very gratifying.

Newborn photography also falls under this umbrella. Families often want to show off their newest members. If you’re interested in pursuing newborn photography, invest in a course. This will make your clients trust you and provide you with more confidence.

Family photography doesn’t require training, but it does demand patience and cooperation. Working with small children can get stressful for both you and your clients, so keeping the atmosphere light is as essential as taking great photographs.

8. Wildlife Photography

An Elephant in Kidepo National National Park | Photo by Emmanuel Museruka for Malaika Media

This photography niche is perfect for someone who enjoys the outdoors as well as photographing wild animals, landscapes, and wildlife. Wildlife photography is challenging in many circumstances. To get great images, you have to understand the behavior or be observant enough to predict those key moments.

Wildlife photography typically takes place in challenging conditions, in some of the most dangerous and remote parts of the world.

9. Architectural Photography

Affordable housing in Uganda Photo by Emmanuel Museruka for Malaika Media

This specialty is ideal for the individual who appreciates structural design. Photographers must be skilled in taking both interior and exterior shots. By highlighting the flattering sides of infrastructure, a real estate business can quickly sell its properties. Because of this, real estate heavily depends on talented photographers to capture the architecture in the best light.

Architectural Photography allows people to obtain a visual understanding of buildings they may never get the opportunity to visit in their lifetime, creating a valuable resource that allows us to expand our architectural vocabulary. You need to focus on quality – a few lenses in your camera gear will allow you versatility. You can photograph a multitude of different structures and scenarios.

To capture the essence of a building, whether inside or out, you’ll need to take some time to get to know it. On a practical level, this means scouting out the location, noticing how the sun travels, where the shadows are at different times of day, checking out the various access points and seeing where lines converge.

10 . Real Estate Photography

An real estate in Najjera for Universal Housing | Photo by Emmanuel Museruka for Malaika Media

Most of these pictures are used by real estate agents to showcase and sell residential and commercial properties. There’s also a growing demand for showcasing properties using 360-degree images (for use on websites) as well as drone photography (which also falls under the niche of aerial photography mentioned below).

Real estate photography won’t provide you with creative freedom, but it’ll give you the opportunity to use your camera and earn money simultaneously.

Real estate photography involves photographing structures (mainly houses, apartments, or condominiums) and their interiors.

11. Aerial Photography

An aerial view of an housing estate for Universal Housing | Photo by Emmanuel Museruka for Malaika Media

Images taken from the air (such as from a drone, helicopter, plane, hot air balloon, or specially rigged kite) are used for military purposes, commercial advertising, land use planning, environmental studies, and real estate marketing, Aerial photography, or high-angled photography, became a reality through the invention of flight.

Drones can capture photos from a high vantage point, saving money otherwise spent on hired hands. Shots can be taken from an aircraft; however, drones manage to capture similar imagery with very little expense. The flexibility provided by drone photography is extraordinary. Don’t be afraid to experiment with aerial images of places a plane could never fly.

Warnings About Drones

Always follow the rules! – Flying a drone around airports, emergency situations, wildfires, or areas with other aircraft is not only irresponsible but also dangerous and even life-threatening. Be aware of the laws where you are flying and follow them. Punishments for violations can be harsh.

Aerial photography is a gateway to new photography perspectives. Whether you are shooting from the passenger seat of a Cessna or from your phone screen using a drone, there are abundant opportunities to make new and exciting aerial images.

12. Landscape Photography

Cityscape of Westlands in Nairobi | Photo by Emmanuel Museruka for Malaika Media

If you are aspiring to become a landscape photographer, then you need to know that there are lots of sub fields in landscape photography. The may include, Cityscape, Urbex urban, nature, sunsets, sunrises, Astrophotography and many others. The first decision you’ll need to make is what subject you want to concentrate on.

Fortunately, this generation also offers us more creative possibilities by making it so much easier to capture aerial drone shots for a bird’s eye view of landscapes, as opposed to just ground level. But for more dramatic photos, you’ll need to upgrade from your smartphone or compact digital camera, invest in a better camera, and use the right lenses for landscape photography.


As you pursue your own artistic passions, consider these photographic styles and how they can influence your work. Creatives consistently draw inspiration from one another, and why shouldn’t various niches of photography inspire you? Photography is an overwhelmingly diverse genre of art; perhaps you’ll choose one of the techniques above, or maybe you’ll find another style that best suits you.

Additional niche photography fields

The following list includes information about additional photography specialties that you might choose to pursue:

  • Food photography. Images made for restaurants, supermarkets, and food companies are used for promotion in posters, ads, circulars, magazines, websites, and menus, for example. Shooting food images for cookbooks is also part of this niche.
  • Travel photography. This is great for individuals who enjoy being on the road, but beware this niche is very competitive. Again, you’ll need to capture a wide range of indoor and outdoor locations, and make the locales look amazing.
  • Underwater photography. Photographers should be excellent swimmers with scuba diving skills and special underwater camera equipment.
  • Lifestyle Photography

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Patience Agaba
    November 22, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    This article is a must read because it’s jam packed with every nitty gritty about different kinds of photography. Every lover of photography will be spoilt for choice

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