You are getting serious about photography and want to develop your reputation. You feel like establishing a look so that each photo fits into a greater catalogue of work.
Develop a recognisable and genuine photography style by following a few tips.
Exercise patience and dabble in many styles.
Take time to become comfortable as a photographer. Master fundamentals of composition, angles and lighting. Experiment with every photo style you can imagine. Expand your creative eye and learn what shots you take best.
Image by Clément Breuille
Study the work of others.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery. So review the work of other photographers, past and present. Learn what inspires you and what resonates with you emotionally.
Imagine beyond your current equipment.
You might have too much gear but be best suited as a nimble photographer who carries one camera and one lens in order to move freely around a subject. You might have a savvy eye for wildlife photography but lack the zoom to capture animals quickly from afar. Borrow or rent and experiment with photo equipment to delve into any style that intrigues you. Make your creative path more about your passion than today’s possessions.
All creative work is, in some sense, biographical. Even in picturing other people and sites, you give the world a sense of yourself. Be in touch with your own hopes, desires and fears so you convey a sense of sincere yearning through your art.
Image by Chelsey Elliott
Separate subject from style.
Saying you shoot portraits, cityscapes or sports is not enough. True style is not just what you photograph but how you photograph it. The perspective you offer to stage, frame and light your shots defines you. Think about the smallest details as you create your portfolio.
Contemplate your business model and your market.
Think of how genres of photography follow different economic models. Portrait photographers acquire clients and guarantee pay by booking sessions, whereas landscape photographers often sell shots long after shooting. Consider your market. It is easier to do portraits in a bustling city where many people need headshots. If a genre appeals to you, decide whether relocation increases opportunities.
Image by Nadeesha Rathayake
Find the moments when people compel you.
When your style involves people, think about the instant when you see their true essence. It could be when they talk about difficult times, have a drink or belt out a laugh. Determine when people seem to you their true selves, capture them in it and make that an element of your signature style.
Create recurring elements using aperture, light and colour.
Many photographers are known for their use of lighting, whether natural, interior or DIY. Others are known for revisiting a colour or two in many shots. Set at least a few attributes of lighting, colour palette or depth of field to coalesce your photos into a grouped look.
Harness post-production to mark your style.
Refine images with photo-editing software to further establish your aesthetic. Subtle but persistent changes to contrast, highlights, shadows and other elements give photos a unified look and set your aesthetic.
Image by Scott Grant
As you learn how you view the world and what elements you bring to each shot, you make recognisable work with a photography style that wows.