By Anna Gay on | No Comments
I have loved photography for many years, and even before I started taking photos of my own, I had an appreciation for what was, in my opinion, great photography.
When I first started out with photography, I found that this lifelong appreciation of the medium was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, my appreciation of photography created a passion within me to learn, and to work hard at learning, day in and day out.
On the other hand, my lifelong appreciation of the medium also created a feeling of inferiority within me during the first few months (even year or two, maybe) that I would never find my own “style” of photography.
I really think that, once we each find our unique styles of photography, we tend to become more secure in ourselves as photographers. And, the more secure we are, the more likely we are to put ourselves and our photography out there for others.
Maybe you are new to photography and trying to find your style, or maybe you are a veteran photographer hoping to make some changes to your style of photography. Hopefully some of these 5 tips will steer you in a NEW and POSITIVE direction!
Get your eyes on any type of photography you can find, whether it be online, in a gallery, in a magazine or a book – just look at as much as you can! I would not even stick to a certain genre (ie – portraiture, landscape, etc.) but rather, look at everything.
Sometimes you will find inspiration from a type of photography that is totally outside of your own genre. Do not limit yourself to photography, either. You can find all sorts of inspiration in painting, collage, sculpture, and a multitude of other artistic mediums.
Now is the perfect time to give yourself license to experiment. Try things you’ve never tried before, and don’t worry so much about the outcome. You do not even have to share these experiments with anyone, so the pressure is low!
Try all the things you have been wanting to try, but never have. You should even try things you think you don’t want to try – because sometimes, when you go for something out of left-field, you will be pleasantly surprised, and wonder why you didn’t try it sooner.
I can’t stress this enough – embrace your failures! It sounds so cliché, but it’s cliché because it’s so true!
I am not saying embrace your failures to the point of posting them on your photography website (unless you just really, really want to) but rather, accepting them for what they are – steps in the direction of helping you find your style and refine your skills. I guarantee you that you won’t get very far unless you have some serious, epic failures under your belt.
We have the idea drilled into us that we are, under no circumstances, supposed to be copycats, but I have a couple of beefs with this idea:
Just because Ansel Adams photographed the American West in black and white hasn’t stopped thousands of other photographers from doing the same thing. They photographed the same subject, but in new ways.
Let me stress that there is a big difference between completely and blatantly copying every single aspect of an image, and taking a certain aspect from an image – whether it be location, camera angle, lighting, post-processing, etc. – and imitating an aspect of the image that is appealing to you, and one that you wish to incorporate into your own photography.
You do not want to run the risk of encroaching on intellectual property, but there is no crime in saying, “Wow, I really love the color choices in this photo, how can I create something similar with the resources I have?”
Don’t be shy – ask for help. There are millions of blog posts, discussion forums and YouTube videos that can aid you in your search to find your style, and the majority of them are free. If you are really serious, you can always take a webinar or workshop from a professional in the field whose work you admire.
Do you have any questions or comments about Finding Your Photography Style? Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat.