How to Find, Develop, and Refine Your Personal Photographic Style

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Get ready for some simple, blunt, and effective tips

A personal photographic style is something  – or some things – people can see in your works that “tell” them the photos are created by you.

It’s something would compel your prospective client to seek you out and hire you.

And, you no longer need to worry if and when people share your work on social media without crediting you.

for example:

Whose name comes first in your mind when you are seeing a photo of a well-known celebrity or model in front of a white wall, outlined – very slightly – by her own shadow, while she is putting something into her mouth or sticking their tongues out? [Answer: Terry Richardson]

Whose name comes first in your mind when seeing a high budget fashion editorial with complex, surrealistic, over the top set  . . . may be with a few giant insects seen somewhere in the photo? [Answer: Tim Walker]

And, whose name comes first in your mind when seeing a quiet and majestic black and white landscape photo of the American West inside of a museum? [Answer: Ansel Adams]

“But, unlike me, they are special / lucky / talented / etc”

Nonsense.

There is only one person in this world you can never escape from: Your own self. Even though you share some characteristics and tastes with the people around you,  you will never find anyone else who is 100% just like you.

Your personal style is the reflection of you you are. It could be the color palettes, the themes, or the subject matters you gravitate to; or, the way you pose your subjects, the mood that emanates from your works, the way you light your photos, the objects people often see in your shots, etc etc.

Well, where do I start then?
  1. Spend less time checking other people’s works and comparing them with your own. If you want to be unique, don’t mimic anybody else.
  2. Use the time to create personal works on a regular basis instead. A single image every other week / every month / every other month is still better than none.
  3. Create the kind of images you truly and thoroughly like, and the kind you thoroughly want to make, not just in theory, but in reality. In other words, if you dislike the process you need to go through to create the image, that’s not the one you should do.
  4. Ignore all trends. Ignore other people’s opinions. You don’t have to show your personal project to anyone else unless you want to.
  5. If you are not 100% in love with the image, ask yourself which parts are not exactly to you liking. If possible, fix those parts immediately. If not, keep the answer(s) in mind the next time you work on your personal projects.
  6. Repeat, repeat, and repeat.
Your personal style is strongly correlated to your personal tastes; and, It can change

Don’t think that once you define your personal style, you are stick with it for life. People change and grow; and your work should change and grow along with you.

miu vermillion photography blog
The things I used to create this image

       



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