Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Finding Your Style

After mastering manual mode on your camera, and learning any number of shooting and post processing techniques, the next thing on the photographers checklist is often: Find my style.

Your photography style encompasses everything you do. Not only your own personal tastes but also the way you shoot, the lenses you prefer to use and your post processing technique. Your style can be influenced by possible limitations of your current gear, even the climate and surroundings where you live. It might sound strange, but I've noticed that my style is a little different now while I'm currently staying at my parent's place in England, than it was when I was back in Chicago simply due to the different surroundings.

It's relatively easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you quite like a specific style, perhaps one you've seen a fellow photographer using, and because you quite like it you might decide then and there that you're going to use it for your own. It is great to try out new things and be open to influence, after all that is how we learn and grow as artists. But we should also strive to make something that is all our own.

You might absolutely adore a current clothing trend, you're in the store looking at clothes and decide you should try something on. But you get into the fitting rooms looking in the mirror and you find that this trend just does not suit you. I, for one, simply cannot wear pastel colours and as much as I might love them it will never change the fact that they look truly terrible on me.

Photographic styles, and art styles more generally, do work in a similar way. You might admire the style of a fellow photographer, or love how a Photoshop action you recently purchased looks in the preview images on the website, but find that when applied to your own photography it just does not suit your style of shooting or your vision.

You can visually enjoy a style without committing to it.

I love the soft tones of vintage style processing, the pretty yellows and creams... the gorgeous staging and props. But that style of processing does not suit my way of shooting.

Just as your personal style, your taste in clothing, make-up, hair and home decor, develops as you grow, your photography style does too. Your style is not the destination, but a journey influenced by the things you learn on the way, the people you meet, and the situations that you find yourself in. It is always present and always changing.

So don't worry so much about finding your style, because you already have. Your style is you, and it will grow and develop as you do. Keep on shooting and experimenting always.

Stop and look at your own photographs. How would you describe your current style?

 Written by Rebecca of Bumbles & Light


  1. I don't really have a style. I like the muted/creamy photo style but I suck at processing and editing so I just go with whatever comes out :P

  2. A great thought-provoking post! I don't really know what my style is--does candid documentarian count? :D

  3. I truly love this. You are so right and this is a good reminded. I need to keep this in mind at all time. My style is modern, cozy, and bright with a photojournalistic feel. I think. Who knows? Depends on my subject matter. Kids? bright, modern, clean, fun. Flowers/Trees? Soft, pretty, and feminine. Street/urban/rural? gritty, real, and unscripted.

  4. So so true. I wish I would have realized this long before I spent close to $1000 on actions that fill up my panel that I never use. You are right- we can look & admire, ohhhh & ahhh over actions & what they do to images for some. But a lot of the time they don't fit our images & who we are. It takes a while to get to that point of realization. I stopped & took a minimalist approach & then slowly built on that. I still didn't really realize I had developed a style nor could I describe it until someone pointed it out & gave me their view of what they think of when they look at my images. I think doing that for each other is a crucial part of developing who we are.

  5. I am discovering that my style is of nature, mainly landscapes that have amazing trees, as they usually are the subject of my photos : )

  6. I agree about art being a journey and not a destination. I'm not sure about my style but I can definitely see how my photography has evolved over the past year. I'm not exactly sure where I'm headed, but I am really enjoying the journey :)

    Thank you for the thoughtful post and for sharing your beautiful images.

  7. This is such an awesome post. I am still finding my style. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Wow, I'm not too sure. How do I describe my current style? Crisp reality, a touch of joy. Great question. I'll keep thinking how I describe my style.

  9. Wow, I've never thought about having a style before. I will definitely look through my photos to see if I can get the sense of one as I'm sure there is one. Though, like you, I think it can depend on where I am - home or vacation, etc. I think it also depends on the "mood" of what I'm shooting - for example gardens and flowers vs. Georgian architecture in England. Hope you're having a great visit with your family.


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