3 easy ways to discover your unique photography style
Back before I started photography and (uh..um) Instagram wasn’t around, I loved looking at all of the different photography blogs. They all had varying editing styles and were unique in their own way. In fact, I still look up to many of those photographers and can spot their work from a mile away which I feel is so flattering as a photographer. Flash forward to starting my own photography journey. Instagram was starting to boom and I quickly became overwhelmed by all the different styles. You know what I’m talking about right? Between light, dark, matte, contrasted, film, and orange (yes orange), I was one confused girl. I thought it would be easy…take a picture…slap on a preset… and VOILA! I’m a rockstar. What I didn’t realize was it would take some time to find my editing voice. In fact, believe it or not when I started out I was all over being dark and moody. What I wish I’d known then are these few easy exercises and lucky for you…I’ve put together 3 easy ways to discover your own unique photography style.
1. CREATE A SECRET BOARD ON PINTEREST
The best way to start out is to create a visual board and there’s no easier place than Pinterest. Get the Pinterest Browser Button and you can add pins from anywhere. Pin anything that appeals to you whether you find them on blogs, Instagram, or your Pinterest home feed. Add a variety and don’t just stick to your favorite photographers. Paintings, certain colors, clothing choices, and scenery are all good insights to get you closer to figuring out your style . Let this board be messy. There’s no right or wrong way to do this and because it’s secret it won’t junk up your Pinterest profile.
Next, pick your favorite top 20 images and create a new more perfected board. Write down what they have in common. For example, if I was comparing mine I would say…movement, candid, bright, soft colors, and playful. Again, there’s no wrong or right answers here.
2. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?
Ok, I realize you’re not 5 anymore, but when is that last time you really stopped and thought about your favorite color? Making a cohesive brand and style starts with a cohesive color palette. Once you’re aware of your target colors, everything from your instagram feed, website, pinterest, and most importantly your overall editing will look consistent.
At a loss of where to start? Here’s some questions to help you discover colors that are relevant to you.
What is the scenery like where you live and what colors do they most bring out? Example: mountains/beach/redrock/city/farmland
What is the light like during your favorite time of day? Example: Warm/cool/dark/bright
What type of weather makes you happy? Example: sunny/cloudy/rainy/snowy
When shopping for clothes what colors do you reach for first?
What season is your favorite? Example: Spring (pastels), Summer (bright colors), Fall (warm browns and oranges), Winter (cool tones)
Again, there are no wrong answers and it’s okay to have to choose more than one from each question. Now, refer back to your Pinterest Board. Do your answers lineup with the colors of your top 20 or do you want to make some tweaks?
3. WHAT IS YOUR WHY?
Hopefully, you already know the reasons you decided to do what you do, but if not, write it down right now. Seriously…DO IT!
Ok…now that that’s established let’s move on to how that affects our editing style.
I think we can agree that we are all different and most likely our stage of life is too. Our past experiences, views, and how see the world, will all play into our own unique style. Not long after I started my photography business I had a close family member suddenly pass away leaving a wife and three kids. A year later another close family member suddenly passed away leaving a young son. A year after that we got another dreaded phone call that my brother in law had also unexpectedly left this life leaving his three young daughters. That’s 7 children in my close knit family who had to say goodbye to their dads too soon. You better believe it shifted my WHY big time. After attending and being a part of these funerals I realized the photos that meant the most were ones that had some type of emotion, showcased their personality, and had a clean timeless edit. For those reasons, not only did my why change, but so did my editing.
Note* I’m not saying there’s a right or wrong way to edit photos or that one is better than another, just know the reason why you personally do it. Which brings me to a warning…
WARNING: DON’T JUST FOLLOW THE POPULAR CROWD
Don’t choose an editing/branding style because someone with a lot of followers does it and it seems to be working for them. Trust me when I say, it won’t take long for you to feel like you’ve lost yourself among the sea of others doing the same thing. And guess what? People are going to see right through it. Find YOUR unique style. It might just be what everyone is waiting for.
So there you have it folks! 3 proven ways to bring out your inner photography style. I hope this gets the wheels turning! Feel free to comment or email me with questions!