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There are an amazing diversity of styles that are used by photographers to convey the meaning, essence and emotional content of their subjects. There are many ways that a photographer comes to create their own style although, when you analyse it, a great deal of that process occurs on a subconscious level! However, that said there are things that you can do to promote the development of your own style and make the most of the things you are naturally doing.
There are many different factors that come into play when you, as a photographer, develop a personal style and really master your own unique ways of approaching the processes of photography.
What’s your Genre?
The type of genre that you work in will play a major role in determining the type of style that you will develop. As a portrait photographer the types of style that you can employ will be determined by your subjects and what they want. You can specialize in black and white portraits for example, or action portraits, wedding portraits and so on. Landscape photographers will face different challenges and consequently the types of style that they will develop will be very different to those that are more common in street photography, for example.
Within each genre there will be many different styles, some which are obvious, such as black and white, abstract or action packed busy shots that make use of positive space. Minimalist photographers have a very visible style while other photographers may employ unique quirks within their work, such as portrait photographers including certain types of props in their images.
How can you create your own unique style?
It might seem like a complicated or daunting thing to set out to create your own unique style of photography but the chances are you are already well on your way to building up your own style. The way that you see the world, how you frame photos and your use of various compositional techniques all come together to define your own style of photography.
- Become Recognizable: Think about some of the most famous photographers. People like Ansel Adams and Cartier-Bresson had such unique and memorable styles that when you see a photograph of theirs you instantly know who took it! This is the kind of immediate recognition that you are aiming for!
- Focus on your photography and don’t try to imitate the work of others: Of course it’s great to learn from other photographers when you are trying to establish your own style of working but you also need to look inwards. By all means you should be picking up tricks from other photographers but don’t feel that all the answers are out there to be found – many of the answers to developing your own style lie within you and are waiting to be found through hard work, imagination and having faith in your own abilities and unique creative vision. To really stand out from the crowd you don’t want to be doing what everyone else is! Trust in your own methods and work on developing them by continuing to experiment and try new things. Keep using the things that are working and drop those which are not. Try to get feedback from friends, family and other photographers whenever you can to get an idea of what’s working and what’s not quite hitting the mark yet. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can spot something really amazing in your work that you had overlooked!
- What Inspires you? Take some time to really think about what inspires you the most in your photography work. Trace your passions back to their roots, think about the moments when you feel that urge to take a photo. What is it that is inspiring you! Was it the work of a famous photographer? Was it a family member that set you towards your career in photography? Take what is inspiring you and make more of it! Find situations when you can express the love you have for photography and you’ll find that your photos will quickly start to reflect your passions and will stand out as honest and strong in their stylistic elements.
Top Tips and Tricks to Create your own Unique Style of Photography.
- Work on your composition: The type of composition that you use will go a long way towards defining the style of your work. Once you master a personal style of composition your work will quickly start to stand out and become recognizable to your audiences. You can practise this everyday, from indoor still lives to natural compositions that you will find in the city or outdoors. Training yourself to make use of leading lines, positive and negative space and other techniques will help you make the most of the opportunities that you do get while expressing your unique creative vision.
- Think about the Tone of your work: Is your photography serious, moving, emotive, fun, light or bubbly? Full of contrast and bright colors or more monochrome with subtle inflections scattered throughout? Creating your own tone in your work will make you stand out and help you to develop a powerful style of photography.
- Try to tell meaningful stories: Human beings are social creatures and we are all drawn to a good story. If your photos can tell a strong story or convey an interesting narrative you will naturally be expressing your own style. You will be drawn, just like your audiences, to stories that speak to you and so by being honest with yourself and only working on projects that really mean something to you will automatically be building up a catalogue of work that really expresses your own style!
- Fine Tune Your Craft: When you are starting out in photography you’re going to need to spend most of your time fine tuning your skills, learning about the different functions and modes of your camera. Once you begin to become more proficient with the practical aspects of photography you will naturally start to focus more on the harder to define and subtle aspects of your work. As you develop as a photographer your style will naturally start to emerge and it will be your job to notice these traits and to consciously work on bringing them out even more!
- Get Advice From Others and Appreciate Positive Criticism: It can be hard to spot the very best traits in your own work and so you can ask friends, family and other people who see your photos if they are noticing any stylistic features beginning to emerge. Alternatively you can get online, publish your work in forums, on social media and create your own online profile and presence where you can begin to get some feedback from the public at large as well as your followers.
Developing your own style is important to stand out and make your mark in photography.
Although you should try not to overthink it because much of what makes up your own style is something that will come naturally, you still need to be self aware enough to see what makes your work unique. Look at your work as if it belonged to someone else and be really honest with yourself. Pick out features that are common to most of your photos and judge if they’re working. If it is working well for you then continue to use those techniques and what’s more, do more of them! If it’s not helping you stand out then think about positive changes you can make to evolve your style.
Always be ready to learn new things, reach out for advice and support and never be content with ‘good enough’. If you want to stand out in the world of photography you need to bring something really special to the table, and even though that may seem like a tall order, you can do it! So keep the faith in your talents, vision and abilities and continue to develop your own style of photography.
In terms of photography, I like to shoot in the landscape mode over portrait, I like shooting objects (like buildings and nature) over people. I like 16:9 aspect ratio over others. I like observing things from a distance rather than close up. But when it comes to videography, I am still trying to figure out what my style is.
Do you have your own unique style?
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