It’s taken a long time for me to really find my photography style. I have been shooting artistically since middle school and I have learned and grown so much as a photographer. I find it funny that finding my style has helped me identify different aspects of my personality as well. I’ve always seen photography as an art therapy of sorts, and through that therapy I am constantly learning about myself.
But that’s a different, more lengthy post for another day!
There were always photos that I was drawn to, but I could never quite put my finger on what aspects really drew me in. Over the years I began figuring out how to best capture my photos in camera, because I’m lazy and don’t like editing for hours! As I got better at that, I got better at editing because it was a seamless workflow.
I started out with high contrast, highly saturated, warm “glowy” images. I thought I loved that look. I saw it everywhere. It’s a beautiful look, but it always felt off to me. I couldn’t figure out why. I even distinctly remember once going to a craft convention with a friend and her mom. We passed a photography booth and I pointed out an adorable photo of a little girl. My friend’s mom agreed, but mentioned that she wasn’t a big fan of the high contrast/saturated look. I realized that I agreed, but couldn’t think what would “fix” that issue. I had always been a high contrast photo kind of girl…but I had mainly done black and white darkroom work…which translated really well in high contrast. I realized I hadn’t found my “digital style.”
[notice the highly saturated colors. Beautiful in their own right, but just not what I was truly wanting]
As I looked through the photos of others (I enjoy looking at portfolios and identifying what I like), I started noticing that I would prefer certain types of edits. I still didn’t know how to achieve it, or what even to call it.
Fast forward a few years and I was learning lots, shooting tons, and still not quite hitting the mark on my photography. I stumbled upon a free webinar from Click it Up a Notch and Bethadilly Photography. (That’s what happens when you peruse photography sites and profiles for fun). It was the 5 common photography style mistakes. In the webinar they discussed honing your style down to three simple words, then always thinking of those words when shooting.
Simple, Bright, Soft
It took me a bit to figure these words out for myself, as well as what they meant to me, but it make shooting, composing, and editing so much easier! I knew what I wanted in a photo and my images were beginning to not only look way more cohesive no matter the subject, but they were also making me want to spend a fortune on prints!
I have always enjoyed uncluttered, minimalistic images. I don’t want a lot of distractions, I enjoy tight crops, shallow depth of field, and just a general feeling of, “hey, here it is.”
I LOVE bright photos. Bright WHITE photos. I love the way a sunset glow can make things look, but a clean, clear, well white balanced photo takes my breath away. It ties into the “simple” for me.
I love soft, muted colors. In photography, and in life. I still like contrast, but I don’t want over the top saturation. It’s too heavy for me. I had had THE hardest time pinpointing this part of my desire for my photos. I couldn’t come up with the term, “matte.” Surprisingly, my experience working in an Optometrists office with a full glasses dispensary, opened me up to the “new” craze of all things matte. I was loving the matte frames coming in all the time. I realized it was the perfect term for what I was seeing in photos that I loved. I quickly did the research to figure out how to best accomplish that look.
So now I had the tools and knowledge that I needed. I began applying it to my own work. Part of that style includes shooting brighter than my meter tells me, so I have to watch that I don’t over expose. I quickly found how to easily create that simple, bright, and soft look on my photos with minimal time spent editing. I love it.
We all have our own styles, weather it is fashion, hair, photography, socialization, etc. Different photographers will have different styles, and therefore cater to people who also enjoy that style of photography. Do what you love, and work with those that love what you do!
What’s your style?