5 Common Photography Style Mistakes
5 Common Photography Style Mistakes

Finding your photography style isn’t something that happens overnight.

In fact, it can take months to years to fine tune your style.

Creating a unique photography style means that when someone is scrolling through social media or sees your image somewhere they know right away that it is your work.

Wish I had read this sooner! Learn from these photography style mistakes and start creating unique recognizable images - via clickitupanotch.com

It speaks to who you are as a photographer, from the composition, light, to the subject matter and how the image is edited.

I have spent years fine tuning my own photography style and have learned many things along the way. Save yourself time and learn from the mistakes I have made and the ones I have seen other photographers make.

Read more: Photography style: 5 tips to find your style

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.

Coco Chanel
  • No.
    Mistake: Lack of direction

    When you grab your camera, do you know what you are going to photograph?

    Do you have an image in your head you want to create or are you just searching for a subject?

    Do you have a purpose?

    Slowing down and really thinking through your shot prior to clicking the shutter button helps you to really focus in on how you like to photograph something.

    What do you want the viewer to feel?

    How can you achieve this with your unique perspective?

    You are the only “you” out there.

    You have a unique way of capturing the world around you which evolves into your style.

    Maybe it is how you use the light, your subject, or composition, but your style is there, whether you think it is or not.


  • No.
    Mistake: Going with the crowd

    Social media is a blessing and a curse.

    Pinterest has helped me figure out how to decorate my bay windows, yet if I allow it, it leaves me feeling defeated as a photographer.

    Avoid scrolling social media for “inspiration” because what you may find is that you are no longer following your unique way of photographing things. Without realizing it you are going with what is popular.

    If you do find photos or a photographer you love, the key is focus on inspiration, not imitation.

    To stay unique…ask yourself:

    • What is it that I love?
    • Subject matter?
    • Light?
    • Composition?
    • Tones?
    • Editing


  • No.
    Mistake: Thinking your genre is your style

    The type of photograph you do – birth, weddings, your own children, is not your style.

    Photographers with a unique style know it isn’t solely the subject matter that makes their images recognizable, but so many other factors.

    Many photographers take the time to really focus on what they know is their style and are able to apply that to any type of genre.


  • No.
    Mistake: Inconsistent editing

    Style spans from picking up your camera and selecting your settings, to your editing and exporting.

    If you are new to photography, I always suggest really learning to nail it in camera before focusing on editing.

    However, if you do use editing software, you need to learn how to make your images look cohesive and consistent.

    It needs to look like the same photographer not only took the photos, but edited them as well.

    The biggest issues I’ve seen is a photographer not nailing their white balance. If one image is too warm and one is too cool it makes your style look inconsistent and all over the place.

    This applies to editing in black and white, as well as color.

    If your black and white images have deep blacks and a lot of contrast you need to keep that consistent.

    Same with your colors, maybe you like clean colors or maybe you like a more vintage look. Whatever you decide, keep it consistent.

    While you are trying to figure out your style, play with all the different types of editing techniques.

    However, there will come a time when you need to pick one and stick with it, as that is when your images start to be recognized by others as yours.


    Read more: Editing tips

  • No.
    Mistake: Not creating recognizable images

    One of the biggest reasons people want to figure out their photography style is so that people will start to recognize their work without a watermark on it.

    The key to this is consistency. I realize this isn’t the answer that you want to hear.

    Just like anything in life it takes practice and it takes consistent practice.

    If your images are not consistent people recognize it as your work because it changes so frequently.

    Slow down, and think through each shot.

    If you plan on taking on clients, having your work recognizable is key.

    If you have clients who come to you because they like what they have seen on your website, they will expect the same style. If you haven’t nailed down your style and you do something completely different, your client will not be pleased with the end result.
    DSC_3323Read more: How to Find Your Unique Photography Style

Share in the comments below:
I’d love to know what is the #1 challenge you face with finding your photography style?

  • daniel santos
    December 16, 2016 at 12:13 AM

    consistency with my editing. I still haven’t found my style in editing. i like the old filmic look or the vintage or some time the very vibrant color pictures or even the really dark edit.

  • Stephanie Kendrick
    January 4, 2017 at 9:26 AM

    Although I can relate to all these, the ones that stands out the most is finding my style of photography along with getting on social media. I still have a long way to go as far as editing because it is still all new to me but I tend to lean toward the more “vintage” style of editing.

  • Kayla
    January 14, 2017 at 12:42 PM

    I’m brand new to this whole thing. Only got my first decent camera last week. The one that stands out to me most right now, is lack of direction.

  • Tammana
    January 14, 2017 at 2:34 PM

    Just like Kayla I’m new to this as well. I decided to pick this hobby up as I just had a new born and have two other children of whom I would like to create memories of. I am not clear about my style except my children will be my subjects. I’m hoping to find my style through experimentation…

  • Patricia
    March 6, 2017 at 2:18 PM

    I live in Alaska’s Interior which has world class mountains and animals, hot springs, lakes rivers, forests, clouds, and wilderness, mostly this is what I try to shoot. I need to get out of just using auto and I have no lenses for my DSL.

  • Marie McKowen
    March 8, 2017 at 12:38 PM

    Thank you Courtney!
    Even though I have been a photographer for a long time, I still struggle with feeling defeated after looking at social media! I always want to keep learning, and have re-defined myself over the years, so sometimes I stay in that mentality. But I need to trust my inner voice and unique style.
    Thank you for this post and your encouragements!

  • Lucia
    March 13, 2017 at 3:48 AM

    Thanks for a great article Courtney! I’m at that stage where I’m trying to find my editing style … and then to save it as my very own preset :)

  • Irina
    April 5, 2017 at 3:19 AM

    Thank you Courtney!
    I have been a photographer for four years already and I still struggle with finding my one style. I keep reading books and magazines, studying photographs of famous photographers, still learning everyday. I should concentrate more on myself and my pictures.

  • Karen Cornfield
    May 14, 2017 at 10:16 AM

    Hi, this was really helpful as I’m not consistent. I need to focus and get my lighting and composition right. thank you for this. I will start today :)

  • Carlie Day
    May 24, 2017 at 9:19 PM

    I struggle with shadows on my subjects faces. Some will be perfect but then one person has a horrible shadow on their face.

  • Stefany
    June 8, 2017 at 12:43 PM

    Would you consider looking over some of my favorite shots and offering your thoughts on their style?

  • Lauren Crick
    June 20, 2017 at 10:31 PM

    My main struggle is inconvsisteny editing. I feel like my images are all over the place!! I am working on fixing that. Is there any way I could share some images with you, and you could help with that?

  • Michelle
    July 6, 2017 at 8:12 PM

    Well, thanks to Pinterest I found your post, so it’s not all that bad ;) I find your post very informative and it makes me think about my own work. The fun think is, back in my scrapbooking days, I didn’t think of having a style and yet people told me how they recognised my work being of my hands.

    With photography I haven’t thought of developing my own style either. I think I consider that still too high an aim for me. I’ve been seriously photographing for about 8 years, since I bought my first DSLR. I’m still at the point of getting technically better. One way to do that is by experimenting with all kinds of subjects. I haven’t worked with models yet and would love to try that as photographing people is probably the most logical approach to earn money. I don’t know. I honestly don’t even know I’d want that. To photograph on commission. With editing I do know there are things I like and things I really don’t like. But to be honest, it depends on the subject what look I like best. Last week I photographed a breakdance event. I want to reect the vibe that was going on and the kind of music that was played. I choose a completely different kind of look than when I am trying to capture the fairytale like beauty in the forest. So, you really have a good topic that I need to think about.

    Anyway, big thanks for the inspiration!

    XO Michelle

  • CatieJo Black
    July 19, 2017 at 7:49 PM

    Before I read the list, I knew what mine would be.. and it was listed there. I have a difficult time staying consistent with my work. I have an idea of how I want images to look, but when sessions are at different locations, genres, and really just the gap between clients, I have a hard time making them cohesive. I believe through one session my editing is consistent, but not between sessions. My last two were both birthday milestones (1 year and 2 year). They were my top two favorite sessions ever! I do think I was pretty consistent between these two and would love to focus on this genre specifically!! But not many around me are into it right now.. hoping to get the word out, including adult milestones. I also have a difference in editing depending on the season. While I love warm tones anyway, during fall season, they tend to be a bit warmer but my clients typically expect that.

  • Steph
    July 22, 2017 at 12:11 PM

    I wish I’d read this years ago! I live in the Okanagan Valley and have views that are just amazing. I tend to bite off more than I can chew, for example, my husband just bought me a 500mm f8 preset manual lens. My poor brain!! I don’t use manual much so this is a whole new world. So, that said, I want to learn manual mode, and figure out this monster lens. I’m looking forward to reading more!!

Leave a Comment