You'll often hear people talking about your photography style, but what does that mean? Does it matter in how you book jobs or how much you can charge? How does one even find their photography style, and why is it important?
In this video, I'm talking about how I found my personal photography style and exploring where it may have come from and how I really developed it without distractions. I feel that a photographer deserves the right to fall into their style, not pick one, but actually accidentally fall into their style.
I encourage others to try this, difficult as it may seem. In order to really dive into your true style, it would be helpful to turn off any distractions from the outside world. That means every social channel, photography accounts, and even magazines or books. I'm asking for a total blackout of outside inspiration to allow your inner style to surface.
While the video goes into great depth on how I did this, here is a simple breakdown:
- Phase 1: Cancel all outside noise and distractions while you photograph several times a week. The subjects are unimportant. Fashion photographers can photograph a bowl of fruit and landscape photographers can shoot cars. For this strict phase, shoot anything and everything without worrying about placement or posting it anywhere.
- Review of Phase 1: Look at the images that you love. Show some trusted friends and see if they start seeing a pattern. For example, maybe they realize that all your natural-light photographs are whimsical. You're not looking for their opinions; you're asking if they see themes. At the same time, you'll do the same analysis.
- Phase 2: Once you identified the consistent themes or repeating styles without pressure from a client, you'll notice those are the seeds to your true style. They're coming up slowly, and it's time to nurture them. For phase two, I want you to photograph more with these connecting styles in mind. Nurture those styles more and see if you can improve on them.
- Review of Phase 2: Now, we see a solid path towards a style that naturally came from the photographer without outside influence. What does that mean? We start eliminating things that don't work and doubling down on the styles that feel natural to the photographer. Clients can sense when you love what you do versus when you're forced to do it for the check.
- Phase 3: This is an on-going phase that lets the photographer consistently curate their personal style. You're constantly doing test shoots, updating your website and marketing styles. The third phase is a career-long step, but without proper nurturing during the first couple of phases, the photographer's career may not stand on the most solid ground.
To really book photography clients and win the head-to-head battles, you'll need a definite style. This is insurance for the client who wants to know what the final photographs will look like before they even sign up. A consistent photography style in your portfolio helps put them at ease.