How to Discover and Develop Your Photography Style

How to Discover and Develop Your Photography Style


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Think about one of your favorite photographers, artists, or filmmakers. You likely could recognize their work without being told who created it. The certainty you feel is a result of every great artist having their own unique style.

No two photographers will take the same photograph, even in the same setting and with the same subject. Each photographer has a different perspective and ideas about the best composition, themes, lighting, angles, and editing techniques. These preferences all add up together to create a photographer’s unique style.

You may not understand your style if you have just started building a photography business. Developing a signature look should be one of the goals of your photography business. A distinctive style can help set you apart as a photographer and attract clients who will appreciate your work. Let’s look at what it takes to find and establish a photography style.

5 Steps to Finding Your Individual Style

You cannot always describe an artist or photographer’s style easily. It will not be one specific thing but a combination of different creative elements resulting in photographs with a unique and identifiable look. Discovering your style comes from researching what is currently being done by other photographers, experimenting with new ideas, and settling into what you love.

1. Look at What’s Been Done

Mark Twain said, “There is no such thing as a new idea.” The first step to finding your photography style is to look at as many photographs as possible. Discover what is already out there. Look at other photographer’s websites and portfolios, go to art museums and galleries, follow photographers on social media, look through art books and magazines, join online forums, etc. Seek out photography wherever you can, and consider creating a folder or mood board of all the images you find that inspire you.

2. Recognize What You Like

Reviewing many photographs, you’ll start to recognize elements you love and those that don’t speak to you. Keep track of these things. Pay close attention to each photograph’s composition, lighting, mood, theme, angle, depth of field, coloring, and any apparent editing effects. Evaluate what you find striking or beautiful and what you feel falls flat. You will likely see patterns in appearance and techniques that repeatedly draw you in.

3. Photograph with Purpose

Once you know what you like, approach your next photography session with intention. Developing a photography style involves experimentation and stepping out of your comfort zone. Go into your next session with an idea of the results you want to achieve. Reaching your vision may involve trying specific lighting techniques, new locations, different angles and perspectives, or unfamiliar equipment.

Photographing with intention starts with slowing down and approaching each image with purpose. Visualize and compose the finished image before pressing the shutter button on your camera. Approaching each photograph with intention will help you achieve a more consistent look, which can develop into your signature style.

4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Whether you’re in school for photography, just starting a photography business, or have been a professional for some time, one of the most important lessons you can learn is to stop comparing your work to others. It can be a freeing experience to focus on creating the photographs you love and not what others prefer. Confidence in this decision will help set you apart as a unique photographer.

When new photography and editing trends pop up, jumping on the bandwagon can be tempting. However, staying true to yourself and your preferred style will assist in branding your photography business. For many photographers, your business brand is very much a reflection of you.

5. Put Your Style Out There

Putting the images you are proud of out into the world, whether in an online portfolio, on social media, or elsewhere, introduces potential clients to your style and attracts the people who appreciate it. However, it is essential to remember that not everyone will vibe with your work, and some people have strong opinions. Try not to take criticism to heart, and remember that a photography style is as distinctive as the photographer.

Discovering your photography style will not happen overnight or in a single session. Have patience and work with consistency. Over time and with experimentation, you will find yourself creating images that speak to you.

A personal style is instrumental in establishing a unique brand and growing your business. You want people to be able to recognize your own work in the same way you know your favorite artists. If you are just getting started, consider enrolling in a school for photography or finding a mentor to help advance your skills and learn new techniques.


How to Discover and Develop Your Photography Style


Finding an artist or photographer’s style isn’t always easy. It’s a unique combination of creative elements that gives their work a distinctive look. Check out the infographic for five steps to discover your own style.

5 Photography Enhancements Infographic

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