A friend once asked me, “When you edit pictures, how do you know what to do to get the picture to look like that?”. My simple answer, “You just play around and experiment with it. Everyone sees things differently”. Two people can look at a single picture and appreciate it differently and that’s the beauty of photography. Two photographers can edit the same picture and come up with totally different outcomes. In like manner, everyone has their unique photography style. There might be similarities in style but ultimately, there’s usually a differentiator.
For us photography newbies who are looking to find our peculiar styles without copying someone else’s or trying to replicate that of our favorite photographer, here are a few tips to consider to create your style.
- Practice/ Frequency
The same way you must practice for a math test or a presentation, the same applies to photography. You have to go out to take pictures to better understand your style. If you’re into editorial photography, spend some time every day on Lightroom/ Photoshop or any other photography software you use. I remember showing a nice picture I took to a photographer friend and immediately he asked me to edit it. I must have edited that one picture about 4 or 5 times and each time it looked different. You don’t have to post these pictures anywhere but if you edit pictures or take pictures frequent enough, you begin to better understand and create your personalized style.
- Say no to copying
Imitation, they say, is the best form of flattery but the thing with imitation is you are not truly expressing your style but someone else’s. It’s okay to draw inspiration from others but not flat-out imitation. Occasionally, I watch a movie or go through pictures of other photographers and take notes on how I can adapt something specific or fascinating to my style. Also, with the adaptation of various concepts, you are inevitably creating your personal style.
- Be yourself
Your style is unique because it is particular to you hence you want it to be something that represents you. Don’t be shy to incorporate something personal to you into your style. It’s easy to get lost thinking that your style would not be appreciated but like I said earlier, “everyone seems things differently”. Think about what you want and how it can be reflected in your unique style.
Ultimately, it’s not an easy task to find or create your style and it’s easy to feel drowned out if your style is different from others. But it’s important to take your time and your crowd would ultimately find and appreciate your art and effort.
Patience and persistence is key.