When I first embarked on my professional photography journey I received a piece of advice that took me about a year to really begin to understand. I was told to “find my own style.” As a new photographer I thought I already had my own style, my own taste so what was there really to find? Boy did that question open a giant can of worms. I started to photograph portraits and editing them one way, then I’d work a wedding and I’d edit them completely different, and so on and so on. This was what it meant! While I was learning how to edit I was also learning what type of editing I liked, only I didn’t know that’s what I was learning.
It wasn’t until about a year passed that I really thought about that statement again, “find your own style,” and started to understand what it meant. I would see the same photo in black and white alongside a version in color and without fail 99% of the time I preferred the color copy.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with black and white, I just prefer color.
I loved deep saturated colors, bright and sometimes blown out highlights and it showed in my work, in the work of others that I watched and liked on Facebook. I’m still learning, changing and honing my craft but now I know what my style is, I can explain it to potential clients and you can see it in all areas of my work.
So how can you figure this out? How could you explain yourself and your work in three words?
- Look at your own work.
- Are you editing a certain way? Are your photos bright and airy or are they dark and contrasty?
- What do you like most in others work? While this shouldn’t define your style we all like other people’s work for a reason. While I love a variety of other artist’s work the majority of what I am drawn to are the ones that closely mirror my personal preferences. Bright color, artistic, highlights, clean and airy.
- Practice (a reoccurring theme in my message to you)! The more you shoot and edit, the more you’ll find yourself. If you merely shoot and never get around to editing your work how will you really understand your style?