When I started my business and finding my style as a photographer, it was easy to get so distracted! It was like being in a candy store where the more I saw, the more I wanted different things (plus I have a major sweet tooth so this example is a pretty accurate description of what it was like!). So my style naturally swung back and forth as I tried to find out what I loved!
However, there’s a few reasons this wasn’t going to help my business. People following my work might not book me since they don’t know for sure what they’re getting. If one image is dark, moody and serious, then the next image is light, airy, and joyful, people aren’t going to know which images they’ll get from me! They might even try to tell me how I should edit the images after booking me since they don’t know what to expect. Reverse that, and now I have clients coming to me because they love how consistent my images are with the light, joy, and color. But it’s also hard to grow your photography business if you’re still trying to figure out your style. Instead of working on posing, posting more consistently on social media, and serving your clients better, you might be spending those precious hours hunched over your computer frustrated you can’t seem to find what works best for you!
So I’m sharing some tips I think will be helpful in determining what style is best for you!
How to determine your photography style:
1. Find some past favorite images you’ve taken, determine what you like about them, and ask yourself what’s the same about each image.
If you’re still at the beginning of photography, find a few images others have taken that you love, and determine what draws your eye to those. Is it the light? White balance? The same emotion through the images? The same type of background? This could be a clear sign of the style you’re naturally drawn to! Then try to create the same type of images!
2. Keep your head down and stop comparing.
While it’s alright to look around at others’ images for inspiration or to study what they’re doing to achieve their style, be sure you don’t feel like you have to replicate someone else’s image. Comparing in this way leads to discontentment and discouragement, and can actually hinder your creativity!
3. Keep a folder of a few of your new favorite images.
Pull these favorites up, then compare the current images you’re working on. Ideally if random images were picked through your portfolio they would look consistent, and it would be clear the same photographer took them! This will help if you’re stumped on an image and need a place to start!
4. Shoot consistently in-camera.
It’s going to be easier if your style requires about the same edits to every image, especially if those edits are minimal because you shoot so accurately in-camera! If your style is darker and moodier, shooting the same darker exposure in-camera will help keep images consistent in editing! Not to mention it will cut your editing time WAY down. The same goes if you choose a lighter, more natural look. I use an ExpoDisc to keep exposure and white balance more accurate, and it helps keep my images more consistent! I’d highly suggest using an ExpoDisc or Kelvin to measure white balance so you have control to be more consistent!
5. Choose locations and light to match your style.
This goes back to step one of what you liked about those images. Was it because the background was clean and soft and drew your attention to the couple? Or was it vibrant and bold? Do you prefer harsher shadows on an image, or the light and airy glow the sun makes when it’s backlighting the subject? I love shooting light and airy, so I shoot regularly at locations with a lot of light colors and around sunset when the sun gives off a soft glow. Picking a spot in the middle of the woods right after sunset would make it really hard for me to keep my style! I have friends who do an AMAZING job with shoots in forests. The dark tones, shadows, and dark greens are beautiful. They prefer specific locations with these qualities because it fits their style! But if I did a darker forrest shoot like this, it wouldn’t match my style and would confuse my clients and followers.
6. Whatever you decide, stick with it and only make minimal changes to fine-tune your style!
It’s easy to look around everywhere and want to try everything! But it’s so important to find a style you love and will stick with too so that your work can be consistent! This way you can focus on improving your style, not completely changing it! This way people will hire you because they KNOW they’re getting your beautiful images and because they’ll love your style! And let’s face it… they can’t love your style if you don’t have a consistent style for them to fall in love with!
I hope this is helpful in achieving your style so you can grow as a photographer! Be sure to check out additional posts on free photography education!