What Is a Photography Style?
A photography style is a signature look for your images that makes the work unmistakably yours. It is your own unique way of seeing the world through your camera.
It’s not the same thing as a photography niche or genre, which is what you choose to photograph.
If you have ever been out on a shoot with a fellow photographer, you’ll notice that he or she sees a scene completely different from how you do.
Elements of a scene that stand out to you, might not be noticed by someone else. You will no doubt both end up with different photos of the same scene. We all see the world through our very own filter.
Your view of the world is shaped by your likes and dislikes your upbringing, your environment, your passions, and your priorities all color how you see things or situations.
If I had been the child of a botanist, I would probably spot flowers more quickly than others. If I’d had a scary experience in a forest, this would mean I may avoid forests.
All our experiences and preferences give us this unique vision of the world and this determines what makes us pick up a camera and take a picture.
Your unique vision determines what you take pictures of and what you are attracted to.
Ask yourself the following questions before you press the shutter: why do I want to take this picture? What is it that attracts me to this scene? This will help you to capture your impression and stay true to your own vision.
How to Develop Your Own Photography Style
A photography style cannot be found overnight: it takes time to grow into one.
It helps to know what makes up a style. A style consists of a compilation of many choices. All of these choices combine to give your images a signature look. These choices start with the things you want to include or exclude in an image.
1. Make Choices That Align with Your Style
This, in turn, affects the way you compose your scene. it affects your point of view, the weather conditions that you choose to shoot in, the focal distance, and the depth of field.
Let’s say I am smitten with a single tree in a landscape. For me, it is all about this tree and less about its surroundings. In this case, I must find a way to take a picture of this tree that conveys my vision best and captures it in one image.
How I can make this tree stand out from the rest of the trees? I might have to wait for a misty morning, or perhaps wait for this tree to be backlit. I could also choose a shallower depth of field, a wide-angle lens to emphasize its size, or I could photograph it in Autumn when the colors stand out the most.
There are a number of choices I could make to take this picture: these are the building blocks of my style. For example, I would not opt for a wide-angle shot of this tree, even though that would make it look really large in comparison to the rest.