Tag: photography style

Episode 233: How to Choose a Photography Style

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Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 233. In today’s episode I want to talk about how to choose your photography style. In order to choose a style you need to ask yourself, “What do I like?” “What am I passionate about?” You don’t want to worry about fitting in with current trends in photography, or about making something someone else will buy. Shooting for someone else will never make you happy, you need to pick your style first and make sure it’s something unique to you.

Don’t worry about rules, but make sure you follow some basic guidelines to get you on the right track, especially if you are still trying to decide in what direction you want to go. In this episode I will provide you with some tips for choosing your personal style. With this guidance, hopefully I can help you make choosing your style a little bit easier.

What is a Photography Style?

A photography style is a mood or tone of a particular photograph. An example is a photographer might choose to make photos bright and cheerful while another might be into more dark and brooding images. The style can also include the general “feel” go the photograph, such as bold or delicate. If you’ve ever been given an assignment to shoot at a wedding with other photographers, then you already know that none of the images will turn out the same. A photography style is more than just how you edit images, it’s a combination of techniques, such as composition, subject matter, mood or feel and your overall aesthetic.

What Makes Your Style Unique?

Some photographers might concentrate on shooting just a single images of each person attending a wedding to document that they were there. Another might concentrate on capturing the best expressions of every couple in a unique or different way, such as candid shots and maybe some “staged” shots with more direction from the couple and what they want. This is the key to defining your unique style: What types of images do you like making the most? How do you describe the mood or tone that your photos have taken? Are you the kind of shooter who prefers candid shots like I do or do you prefer to make “staged” shots and giving them direction?

Three Tips on Developing Your Style

Creating and maturing your style is one of the first things a new photographer should try and create early in their career. Keep in mind, however, that your style will change and mature over time as you mature as a shooter. Never get hung up on perfecting your style in your early years shooting, your style will find you as much as you will find it.

  1. Try Different Niches

If you are like many of us starting out you might have a hard time coming up with a style of your own, so try taking different types of photos in different niches or genres of photography. You can try wedding, landscapes, portrait or architecture photography. Additionally, you can shoot headshots, food, or pet photography or anything else that comes to mind. Don’t worry about whether or not it will be popular with others, believe it or not there are photographers out there that have created their own niche such as shooting action figures in such a way as to make them look like scenes from an actual film. Try even shooting in a niche that maybe makes you somewhat uncomfortable shooting as many times, shooting outside your comfort zone can lead to your own unique style and make you successful.

Now that you have found a niche, get out there and practice it as much as you can. The more you shoot in this niche the more your technique and skills will grow and you will start developing your own style. You can try different compositions, different lighting and different perspectives to develop your style. Takes classes or attend workshops on your niche or genre, don’t just count on Youtube to get you there. You can learn a lot on Youtube, but don’t rely on it as your only source of knowledge and learning. Attending a workshop can be a huge help as you can learn from someone who is already successful in your genre and also shoot with others that are starting out like you!

2. The Best Way to Find Your Style is by Experimenting

Don’t be afraid to experiment when you are shooting. If doing landscapes, shoot in the morning light, evening light and even mid-afternoon light. Shoot landscapes with a foreground object, without one with a person or without people entirely. If you are still confused on developing your style, then consider these questions:

  • Do you take photos of your friends and family? If so, what do those photos generally look like? Are you capturing the more formal types of shots or candid?
  • Do you enjoy shooting indoors more or outdoors?
  • What colors appeal to you the most? Is it reds or greens or blues or something else? Does the color invoke an emotion or bring back a fond or happy memory?
  • If someone asks you why they should hire you to take their photos when would your answer to them be?
  • What kind of photos make you feel creatively fullfilled when making them for yourself?
  • What photographers do you most admire? What is it about them and their style that you like most?

Once you’ve spent time pondering these questions, then look at your own photos and see what parts of them you’ve been focusing on the most. Once you know that you can move in that direction with your style.Your personal style might be more of a combination of other styles you have seen and admired, but this will give you a starting point from which to build and fully develop your own style. Over time find more and more questions that will help define your style and continue developing from there.

Keep in mind that every person’s style is going to be different and so not everyone will like your photos, but don’t be discouraged by that. If all else fails, ask a friend who’s opinion you value to describe your photos with three adjectives or less. If they can, then you have found your style and you can continue from there. If their response is too great than you need to keep experimenting and practicing your own photography skills and then ask them again at a later time with new photos. There is no rule that says you cannot develop your own style through trial and error.

3. Look for Inspiration from Other Photographers

It’s one thing to be inspired by someone else’s photography, it’s another to directly rip-ff their style so be careful here. You can admire Ansel Adams landscapes, but don’t try to directly replicate them, instead use them as inspiration to create your own unique style. Dan Bailey makes fantastic landscapes as well as sports photography related to biking, but look at his work and make your own style if you love shooting similar genres. Chase Jarvis is a master at creating photos of extreme sports such as rock climbing and Motocross, but don’t just copy what he or any of these photographers do, instead look at their work, analyze their style and create one that is your own and truly unique. It’s fine to draw inspiration from others, but make sure the end result is something that is uniquely you. In reality others will not see who you took inspiration from as most regular people don’t know many photographers. It is your end results that matter and they should reflect your own talents and skills as a photographer, no matter if you were self-taught like Chase or went to school and got your degree like I did.

My Final Thoughts

If after this you are still not sure about your own personal style as a photographer, then you need to take some time and experiment with different things. Keep working on your craft and above all else, DO NOT GIVE UP!!! I cannot stress that enough, you WILL eventually find your inspiration and start developing your own style. Not every photographer can just “fall” into their unique style, for most of us it’s a long process and one that develops over years of shooting. Also remember that styles can change too, you may discover over time that something new inspires you to redefine your own work as an artist.

Also be sure to join the Liam Photography Podcast Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/liamphotographypodcast/ You can reach the show by call or text @ 470-294-8191 to leave a comment or request a topic or guest for the show. Additionally you can email the show @ liam@liamphotographypodcast.com and find the show notes at http://www.liamphotographypodcast.com.

You can find my work @ https://www.liamphotography.net on and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @liamphotoatl. If you like abandoned buildings and history, you can find my project @ http://www.forgottenpiecesofgeorgia.com. and http://www.forgottenpiecesofpennsylvania.com.

Please also stop by my Youtube channels Liam Photography

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