Thank you for joining the "Golden Hour Guild"!! I'm so happy that we'll have the opportunity to get to know one another! :-) Please enjoy my quick lesson on some of the "ingredients" that I feel make up a photographer's style!
Let me begin by saying that no photographer starts out with a developed "style". EVERYONE has to begin at the beginning and the first time you ever pick up a camera you typically have very little, or no knowledge, of what it's like to create a finished photograph. This is totally cool, completely normal and expected! If you happen to be just starting out, please do not feel as though you should already have a "style" all figured out. Your style will emerge in time :-)
Only through trial and error, experimentation, practice (lots and lots of practice!), and time can you begin to develop your style as a photographer. I also say "begin to develop your style" because, personally, I feel that your style is never set in stone and that it's constantly evolving over time. There are many things that will impact these changes, such as the equipment you use, anything that leaves an impact on you visually or emotionally (a movie, works of art, where you live, music you like, other photographers that inspire you, etc.).
Key "ingredients" that make up style -
- Things in the world that make you who you are! - This is the one ingredient that you begin with as a photographer. These things will change or evolve over time, but you will start off with a unique set of life experiences that will impact who you are as a photographer and as an artist. For example, if you are someone who loves nature, maybe you will incorporate many outdoor elements in to your future work. Do you dress in all neutrals? Maybe you'll notice a pattern of neutral colors emerging in your images. The cool thing about this "ingredient" is that it completely belongs to you, and you alone. Although we can all be inspired by many of the same things, only you can view the world in the exact same way that you do! The quicker you can tune in to what makes you a unique individual (photographer), the quicker you will be able to identify these elements in your work and use them to your advantage (create separation between you and other photographers). This is huge!!
- The way you interact with or "pose" your clients - Do you prefer to allow things to unfold naturally or would you like complete control over where your clients are standing, how they are interacting with one another, etc.? There is no right answer, but the way you prefer to work with your clients will help to create an overall style, over time. Personally, I do a little mix of both and it has definitely contributed to how I interact with my clients when we are on a photoshoot to what the finished images will look like. This is how I am comfortable working and it has also become what clients, and prospective clients, expect from me while shooting.
- Lighting - Some photographers prefer soft, natural light (raises hand!), some prefer dark, moody lighting to create drama, while others prefer to shoot in the studio with studio lights. The lighting that you shoot in (for most of your work), definitely contributes to your overall style as a photographer.
- Lenses you use - The lens choices you make will definitely have an impact your style as different lenses achieve different looks. Personally, I love to shoot with fixed prime lenses. I use similar focal lengths in most (if not all) of my work. This consistent choice of lenses, and focal lengths, definitely shows in my work.
- Editing - This is a big one! The way you edit impacts your style greatly!! Do you prefer a very minimal amount of editing, or do you like to get way in to it, creating backgrounds that were not there when you took the photograph, etc.? Again, there is no right answer, but I do believe that consistency in your editing is very important so that potential clients always know what to expect. It is normal to experiment with many different editing looks, especially when you are first starting out, however, I believe it's important to find a look you like and try to stick with it (or very close to it) as soon as you are able. This will help your clients to trust you as they move forward from booking you to receiving their finished gallery. Of course, feel free to keep experimenting with personal work! The only way to grow and learn, as a photographer, is through experimentation :-)
These are some of the main "ingredients" that will make up your style as a photographer! Please feel free to contact me with questions :-)
Visit the Golden Hour Guild page in order to learn more about one on one mentoring sessions, workshops and more!