Finding your style in photography

6 min read
gilad's avatar
By gilad
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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" (…). Here are some pointers on that.

General thoughts
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 ->…
© 2007 - 2020 gilad
anonymous's avatar
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SkyHalo's avatar
SkyHaloHobbyist Photographer
This is wonderful, especially because I have been trying to find my style. You really inspired me! Thank You!
sakuratree77's avatar
Thank you for writing this it gives me a different outlook on photography and styles. Thanks :) you helped a lot. Now I can search my style in photography.
MESSofYOU's avatar
I enjoyed this.
woodfaery's avatar
woodfaeryHobbyist Photographer
Thanks for that!Very interesting.
scream92's avatar'll certenly help me.thanks
:camera:[link] .my latest work

Member of ~RomanianArtistss
emina2492's avatar
emina2492Hobbyist Photographer
I love it thank you !
randomheadartist's avatar
thanks, this was helpful =)

now to finding out how to use all those different techniques...
eye-am's avatar
eye-am Digital Artist
Damn I'm glad you posted that, I hope more people will read it (I have in mind one particularly irritating Copycat), so that they get the point of originality and their own personal point of view! If you don't have anything to say yourself, what's the point of copying others all the time? If you have nothing to say in your own way, why even bother to become an artist or photographer...
leonardsetiawan's avatar
Gilad.... i'm really really your fan...
Pooxie's avatar
being a "newbie" this article is exactly what i've been looking for, thank you so much :D
BacWii's avatar
Fantastic article, gratz!
boldstripes's avatar
thank you for making this ;]
Sylvina77's avatar
Sylvina77 Photographer
... very helpful article ... :) ... Thank You ... :hug: ...

Eitansun's avatar
EitansunHobbyist General Artist
:highfive: very informative

MatiasPhoto's avatar
Style comes from heart :)!

This was very very good!

Thank you Gilad :heart:
Simounet's avatar
SimounetHobbyist Photographer
Thanks for all gilad ! ;)
ajieboy's avatar
ajieboy Photographer
i'm a beginner & newbie in photography. this article encourage me to try and try and always try to be myself and find my style. thanks mate
le-feu's avatar
Well,could you define my style?beacause I can't though I have been taking pictures for a few years now and it doesn't mean I am not taking good shots...I just like being undefined...because I like experimentming,realising still new ideas,being spontaneous..I don't want to close in a frame it really important to have a style?Anyway,thank you for a valuable article.Cheers.
coexist-love's avatar
wonderful news article.

I am starting to understand how to get news in photography.
dragonflyforest's avatar
really nicely composed. well done. :)
sofini's avatar
you really inspired me
thanks a lot :D
Danaan-Lugh's avatar
Thank you so much for this article. Been feeling like I've been treading in circles lately... it's a definite cycle-breaker!
lliam's avatar
lliam General Artist
anonymous's avatar
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