After I took my first couple of photography classes, I remember wondering how in the world was I going to stand out in a market filled with other photographers? How was I was going to figure out the style I loved most? I had several photographers that I looked up to with completely different styles and felt a little lost about which ‘style’ would best fit with my photography. It took some time, but over the years, I realized that your style and standing out in a saturated market place went hand in hand. The answer was easier than I expected.
No.01Style is more than your processing.
Style is often associated with your processing style; some base it on the gear you use, a specific kind of light, or the genre you shoot most. While those each play a part, it isn’t just one thing that creates your style. It is easy to think that a certain camera brand, lens or set of presets will define who you are as a photographer but it actually goes much deeper than that.
Your images are a representation of not just one thing. They are a visual representation of YOU! Your personality, the overall aesthetic, and emotion that you consistently show through your images are your style and your style alone. You can change your processing style, you can change your camera gear, but you cannot take ‘you’ out of your style. It is the one constant that no matter what genre you shoot, will always be there.
That might seem vague or scary because it is defined differently for each photographer but I choose to look at it another way. I know that no one else can create the exact image I create. No one. A dozen photographers can capture the same moment and I can guarantee that not one of those images will be the same. The angle, the processing, the composition, etc… will all be completely different.
Those twelve photographers each bring a different viewpoint to their image. Their individual vision sets them apart and the best part is that it always will!
No.02What is your style?
In thinking about your style and what will set you a part from other photographers, go back to the basics. Think about what makes your heart happy in your everyday life – and I mean over the top, heart bursting happy. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and make a list!
Actually writing on paper the exact things that make your heart sing seems like a simple task but you will be amazed at how clear it will become as to what you should be trying to show through your imagery. I read over my list often before sessions and I continue to add things too!
Once you have your list written, what emotion do you find on there over and over? That is what you should be showing through your images! A few examples are happiness, joy, love, sadness, trust, anticipation, determination, kindness, motherhood, etc… It could be a combination of those things and can change from day to day. It is the way you interpret those emotions and how you show it through your imagery is exactly what will set you a part. Embrace your work; keep sharing it, and those who value those same moments and emotions will be drawn to you.
No.03Consistency is key.
Shoot what you love and don’t be afraid to share it. You are ever changing and your style will also change over time. Even though we are constantly changing as artists and humans, our work will grow right along with us.
Another way to help you define your style and share it with others is to start a personal project. Refer back to your list and create a personal project based on what you have written. Look at it as another chance to show those meaningful moments and your style to your audience. Embrace that you won’t be focusing on one image, but several images over time. That collective group of images will really help your style shine through.
Sharing your work aesthetic is not only is a way to get your work to be seen by more people, it is a way to share what to expect from your work. That consistency in your own style, is what will help you stand a part from every other photographer out there.