Today I thought I’d share my story on how I ended up in my niche of Color Grading.
Before I get into the story, I just wanted to share a thought on niches, because I know it’s the first thing influencers and creator coaches scream at you when you start out. So let me share a different perspective. You don’t need to have a niche from the start.
In fact, I’m not even sure you need to have a niche ever. But, there is of course a catch. I’ll get to that at the end of the email. First, let me share how I ended up in Color Grading.
The fact that I ended up in the niche of Color Grading is pretty much by coincidence. As I was struggling to switch from photography to videography my main issue was to make my footage look as great as I knew it could.
The first issue I had was not knowing how to properly expose LOG. If you don’t know what LOG is, it’s a flat profile that (some) cameras allow you to capture more information in bright and dark areas at the same time. This means you have to convert it into a normal profile after and then grade the footage.
My second problem was that I didn’t understand what I was doing with color grading. Coming from Photography I was used to Lightroom and being able to manipulate a photo to my liking but it didn’t feel anywhere the same with video and a clip quickly looked really bad.
I used to work in Premiere Pro and the game changer happened when I switched to DaVinci Resolve. I noticed the software when it was only slightly up and coming and found it to be the most used tool for grading in Hollywood.
In the beginning, I was a bit intimidated by the structure that DaVinci uses. It uses something called nodes rather than layers for color grading and it took a while to get used to but when I started to get a hang of it, it truly started changing my footage completely.
While I was going through this change I started creating a reel every single day for Instagram to become better at everything in filmmaking from filming to editing and color grading.
A brief trend ends up changing everything. The trend was showing the footage as LOG and then with the final grade to “impress” everyone by how much you could do or how flat the footage was before.
Now, I decided to attempt to make it my own and since I was using nodes in DaVinci it was super easy for me to split up the process and show the different steps in my color grading. What I didn’t know was that it would be the start of a long journey diving deep into the art of grading.
I found great pleasure and entertainment in creating those before and after reels and as time went on and I continued to create them I also created a new niche for myself.
With my original intentions being that I would talk about filmmaking as a whole, color grading is a much less understood space and with my countless hours on YouTube looking at tutorials and practising, I found myself to have elevated my skills quite a lot.
After months of color grading every day I also elevated my editing and filming skills along the way as I started to understand my footage a lot more and all the components of lighting and editing together with a good grade.
Now, I’ve been in this niche for about a year now and while I love color grading, my passion for storytelling is not shining through as much as I would love to. So for me, it’s now time to expand my niche by moving into storytelling.
My plan is to first do it through telling stories with colours, music and mood in videos and then expand it further into the more general space of filmmaking.
What I won’t do is ditch color grading completely. I’m still super excited about it and want to become the best I possibly can, so I’ll continue my journey in learning and teaching color grading along with expanding my skills in other areas and hopefully bring different audiences together under the same “umbrella”.
And that’s pretty much how I ended up in the niche of color grading by making random reels and falling in love with a simple trend by making it my own and seeing a gap in knowledge that I could help fill when I had become good enough at the craft.
Do you really need a niche?
As I talked about in the beginning, and I hope has been evident in the story I just shared with you, you definitely do not need to have a niche from the start. However, what a niche allows you is a tighter audience that is easier to target for sales and collaborations. Because, if you are all over the place with what you do, it’s going to be hard for any brand to resonate with you and see the full value in working together with you.
So, my recommendation is to try out as much as possible in the beginning - anything that has interest and do it for a while. You’ll quickly start to see what you get energy from creating and doing and what you don’t.
Then, when you’ve found what you like to do, practice, practice, practice. Get as good as you possibly can at it and make it part of what you do. From there you can build a personality into it and then again expand into different areas if you haven’t already.
The things you get the most energy from creating are also the things that will be the best pieces you produce.
And with that, I’ll leave you to it.
I’ll catch you in the next post!