Photo Coleslaw

Developing Your Photographic Style

with one comment

Picture 1Become serious about photography and there is one piece of advice you’ll hear over and over again – work on developing a sense of style.  And for a long time the idea confounded me. I understood the concept, sure. Find a way of shooting that separates you from the masses. Be different. Be original. Be yourself. Period.

Except I would look at my pictures and they would be one-hit-wonders.  Each one would look like it was captured by a different photographer.  Guess what?   It’s normal. Sorta like when hot pants make a reappearance in summer fashions. (I know all you men are following this analogy closely)  You take a few pair into the dressing room, give ’em a whirl in the mirror and realize you just aren’t as trendy as you thought you were. Then it’s back out to the racks to locate something a bit more classic. Breathe a sigh of relief, it’s you.

Same goes with photography. For a sense of consistency to start appearing in your work – you not only need to shoot a lot, but also with a sense of direction.  So how do you find that direction? Go get a piece of paper and a pen and try this. Seriously, you have to write it down for it to work, something about the act of actually manifesting a thought physically onto paper instead of just in your head is important. On the top of the page write the thing you like to shoot most.  Landscapes, people, llamas, whatever. Just make sure it is just one thing. Now underneath it number 1 through 5. Next to each number write a trait that describes you. Extroverted, contemplative, funny…  be honest, your list is just for you.

styleblog-4Over the next month start shooting that one thing using those descriptive words. Focus less on what the thing looks like and more like making it feel like the words. Somewhere in there lays your voice.

The two images in this post are a couple of my attempts at working on style. Practicing has the great benefit of allowing that inner-voice to speak up.  The work I want to make is rooted in a sense of mystery. Asking questions, not answering them.   That’s what I think about before I click the shutter.


Written by Spelman

09/30/2009 at 4:10 pm

One Response

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  1. Great advice especially for someone like me who is just starting on this adventure.

    gary sparks

    10/11/2009 at 10:49 pm

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