Let your style find you!
Many photographers think (or are told) they have to choose or define their style right out of the gate. Why is that, I wonder?
It’s good to define yourself and your work, but let it be an organic process to begin, don’t force yourself into a box.
In my opinion, the best way to define your style is to shoot for a while – six months to a year is a reasonable period of time – and then look back over your portfolio and pick out the common elements. These will show you the things you’re drawn to, probably the things you like, and the things that will let you stand out and shine as a photographer.
This is exactly what I did recently, and here’s my short list.
For starters, I’m a ‘photorealism’ shooter. You will see in my photos just about what I saw with my eyes when I took the photo. I am a very ‘light’ editor, just a little lightening (exposure compensation), brightening (contrast), sharpening, and sometimes cropping, is usually the extent of my editing.
The links below go to my Fine Art Prints available through Pictorem.
Color contrast was one style that popped out at me as I flipped through my photos one day. Take this classic red rose against a green background. (I find I tend to favor red/green and blue/gold combinations. What do you like?)
Isolated subject with good bokeh (blurred background) is another style that often appears in my work. In this one, you can see the fuzz on the bee, and the yellow flower against the blurry garden background.
Closeups and macros are a favorite of mine, especially when it comes to flowers and insects. and in this macro photo you can see the Monarch Butterfly’s tongue sipping nectar! Now, how often do you get to see that???
As I took each of these photos, and hundreds others, I did not look for these features in particular, but they are the ones that captured my attention, my ‘artist’s eye’ so to speak. These are the things I find fun, and interesting, and tell a story about Nature – which IS my favorite topic!
So, what are you finding? What topics come up repeatedly? Are you focusing far away or close up? What shapes and lines are finding their way into your photos? Bright colors or muted pastels?