Last week I did a poll on what subject you would be most interested to hear my opinion about. The majority wanted to know on "Finding your own style" ([link]). Here are some pointers on that.
Photography has been here for a very long time. Every category in photography already been tried, most places have been photographed, portraits have been done, special techniques, weather… So what do we still find exiting and unique?
The answer is not in "what's being said", rather in "the way we say it". It's not the subject of the photo, rather the way we take it, show it, make our own definition of it. If you group 20 photographers in one scene, all having the same cameras, you will still get many different photos. On the other hand, you can tell which photo is who's just by looking at a photo – recognize the style. I have to say that finding your style is not a process you are aware to. It happens while doing photography and you suddenly find you have your own "trademark". Still, we can grow awareness by simply helping ourselves in the process.
A short story
Alex Libak, a photographer I look up to told once he was sent from his newspaper to a bonus photography course abroad. He was already a successful photographer so he thought he would do it just for the trip. In the first lesson the lecturer put 3 eggs on the table. He asked each of the students to take a picture of the 3 eggs. Nothing more, and nothing less. By this point Alex was really skeptical on what he has to learn from this. In the second lesson each photographer had to show his photographs of the 3 eggs. Alex was amazed to see each one of the students did it completely different. One played with shadows, one did a strange crop, one did a play of depth of field… each one had a different point of view. That was a lesson in modesty. There is room for different point of view, different style, no matter how good of a photographer you are.
Looking for your style
The first thing is to search for something that can be defined as your style. For that you need to do mainly two things –
1. Shoot a lot of spontaneous shots
2. Look at a lot of photography by others, and get inspired.
Think differently, Be different
ok, you take a lot of pictures, still you don't know if you have a style and what is it.
That's normal. Now it's time to challenge yourself. You see a tree and you have already taken pictures of trees before. Now, you try to do it differently. Maybe angle? exposure? filter? point of view? depth of field? It doesn't matter – it just have to be different than anything you tried before. You have to challenge yourself again and again. If you let yourself be a cliché, you won't find your own point of view.
While experimenting like that, with the help of the inspiration you get from other photos you see and like, you will be drawn to a certain point of view, that is unique to you. You are now different.
Experiment with different categories of photography
You know what you like to see (portraits, nature, street, landscape, still life, fashion). Are you sure this is what you want to shoot as well?
You have to try a little of each category. That's what a skillful photographer has to do. Maybe while trying a macro shot you will stumble upon a different point of view relating to something that really speaks to you? You can never know. Finding your style means searching and searching and searching.
After a while of doing that, you will feel comfortable with certain categories. That will probably be a part of later will be – your style.
Your opinion is a part of your style
I'm a true believer that art is all about expression. Expression is an opinion. You don't have to give answers, just raise the questions. After you look at things differently, you need to think of what the photo you take represents, what thought will run through the viewers head watching the photo. It's a part of your style – what your photo expresses.
You won't even know you have a style
Style is defined by time. You can't find something fresh right away. You need to find the box in order to think out of it, "out of the box". After a while, you will get outside feedback from others that can see your signature in your work. You will be wise to ask and investigate what do they mean. It's not alway defined, but it's worth trying to figure it out.
Technique and presentation
That's the package, but it's just as important. Finding those things you focus on. The way you compose your work, The way you crop it, special filters you use, flipping the pictures, reflections, B&W, a color theme, patterns, scales, silhouettes, long exposures… all those can be defined as styles if they repeat themselves in your work
To sum it up
Style is in other words – you.
You can't be unique until you are able to escape what you grasp as "normal". You will be simply doing "more of the same" until you challenge yourself to find your personal statement. Even then you need to keep on experimenting to do "fine tunning" on it. Style is something that changes, and still stays you. Think of the photographers you like… can you define a certain style in their work? I bet you can.
The wonderful thing about personal style is that People will recognize your work like recognizing your face in a crowd. Your photography becomes you. You are now a unique artist.
For my full journal on it, and past tutorials -> [link
Now, I invite you to take a look with me, at 10 of my favorites Under my weekly spotlight
That's a different point of view. Shooting nature shots is one thing, shooing them like that is unique. Mood and atmosphere is captured in a brilliant way using very shallow depth of field, the subject (crows) match the B&W perfectly.
Total views up to now: 621
Total Favorites up to now: 187
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Playing with light. Working patiently with a flashlight and long exposure, instead of a simple flash makes all the difference. Creative technique to match the idea.
Total views up to now: 63
Total Favorites up to now: 7
The texture, color, composition.
A simple scene becomes special and interesting to the eye. Becomes art.
And let me just add that the title fits very well.
Total views up to now: 108
Total Favorites up to now: 14
Very unique. Shooting a white rabbit in that background made this very pleasing to the mind and eyes. Almost a 3D render.
Total views up to now: 198
Total Favorites up to now: 50
Illustration of beauty and nature. The human and the world around him. The silhouette makes it perfect as a symbol, and the B&W is simply perfect.
Total views up to now: 182
Total Favorites up to now: 25
This is surreal. You take a minute to examine this frame, and it simply takes your imagination out of this world. A flooded playground is something you don't see everyday, and seeing a kid in the middle of it is even more surprising. I don't know what post processing was done here, and I simply don;t want to know…
Total views up to now: 150
Total Favorites up to now: 19
Great urban shot, using a different point of view on architecture to show "the key to the city". Creative and very well composed.
Total views up to now: 76
Total Favorites up to now: 15
There is a lot of nudity on DA. A little too much, if you ask me.
Once in a while you see a very original nude shot, that actually fits the category "Artistic Nude". This is a wonderful example of what I mean. Not just the shape, but the creative way to show and play with it.
Total views up to now: 301
Total Favorites up to now: 31
How adorable.. Animals are easy to fall in love with. When they are photographed in the wild, even more. When they are being photographed like that.. it's irresistible to ignore
Total views up to now: 149
Total Favorites up to now: 35
And finishing off this weekly ten with a breathtaking landscape.
Moraine Lake in Canada must be a breathtaking place, no doubt. Watching it in a well taken photograph is a real pleasure. The composition, exposure, clarity.. wow.
Total views up to now: 244
Total Favorites up to now: 40
It's amazing to see how much beauty and quality is passed un-noticed here in all one week. I hope that more great work will get noticed here. It's up to us. Use the comments favorites power to support the un-noticed.