Perfecting Your Photography Style in 3 Steps
Branding yourself as a photographer is the defining line between a client coming to you or going to the guy across the street. But making a brand that is truly your own takes work and dedication. You can’t just try to copy someone else’s style and think you will suddenly attract the same customers. You have to nurture that one thing that makes you unique and we've got the steps to help you along the way.
1. Understanding Style
Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Annie Leibovitz have a style. To survive in the arts your style should captures people’s imaginations and differentiate you from the masses. While it can be a good place to start, it isn’t enough to take everything from your favorite photographer and mimic it. You need to make it your own. How you capture a moment or light a scene will make you memorable, and that is your style.
Your style extends beyond the photos you take and into your marketing materials as well. Designing a logo, business cards and portfolio gives you a professional look and shows the dedication you have to your craft.
Your logo and colors should be consistent across all your material because it makes it look like your brand is established. For example, look at well known brands like Apple, Best Buy and Amway. Apple uses straight, sleek lines and neutral colors to emphasize the simplicity of its products. Best Buy is a bold blue and yellow that people remember. Amway uses a simple red and blue logo across all of its platforms, including social media, so people recognize it instantly. When designing your brand, think about how colors and shapes interact with one another so you will have a logo that stands out without being jarring to the viewer.
2. Learning a Style
The best way to develop your photographic style is to practice and emulate the styles you like. For instance, Annie Leibovitz works heavily on the pose and looks for the subjects while using soft light that goes everywhere. Researching how your favorite photographer lights their scene brings you closer to developing your own style. Once you understand how they set up the shot, practice doing it on your own. This is the best way to learn and refine how your photos look. If you need some help recreating the style, there are lighting diagrams online that explain exactly how a shot was made.
Beyond how the scene was lit, a large part of what makes a photo look a certain way is the work done during the post processing. Ansel Adams once said that "50 percent of the creative processes occurred in the darkroom." Developing a sense of what amount of contrast should be in a scene or what "mistakes" give a photo character is critical. While there are limits to post processing, it sometimes can be enough to save a shot that you didn't think was good enough.
3. Making It Your Own
Don't be afraid to try new things that are different than what you did before. Rules and convention are meant to be broken, especially within the art world. The key is to follow your instincts because they will make you more unique than the rules ever could.
It's also important that you take criticism well. Most people aren't trying to tear you down but rather are trying to help you grow as an artist. Listen to everything they say and think about it. If it helps you develop your style and consistency, try implementing the feedback into your next photo shoot. But if it really is something you disagree with, then trust your instincts and stay true to your style.
We'd love to see your work, and hear what you think about our own style or the styles of our brands and photographers at Media Bakery!