How to find your photography style fast? Let’s not waste any time, what is the most important element in someone’s photography style? The quick answer is repetition. What you do the most and consistently, that will define your style. What comes naturally to you will ultimately become your style. Your default, or to put nicely who you really are and how you see the world will ultimately mould your photography style.
Someone’s photographic style used to be determined on only three factors, the film stock they used, the camera & lens they owned and the subject matter they pointed their cameras at. Street, portraiture, landscape, journalism, animals, commercial, location, fashion, etc. That was it really. Oh, and a massive body of work sticking to those three things constantly over a lifetime.
Nowadays we have so many choices. With so many options and new cameras & software constantly coming out, that are better and better it’s easy to lose your way. Or in this case your style. So how does one keep consistency and repetition in their body of work in a photography world that is forever changing? The answer, discipline and a list!
What?! A list! That’s right, plus the hardest part, the discipline to consistently stick to that list. The great news is the list is only three things.
- Camera(s) & lens(es)
- Post-processing or film stock / preset
It’s always easier said than done thou… right? After making these choices comes the hard part, sticking with them. For myself, the first thing I did was put all the photographers I was inspired by in front of me and asked the question, what is it that I liked about their work? The answer became obvious, minimal aesthetics, black and white photos & only shooting using natural lighting. So I picked a camera body, then the lenses I used the most often. After that, I chose my favourite film stock Kodak Tri-X 400, and went to town photographing everything.
After a few months of this and reviewing my work, as you should, I found some consistency through the body of work I was doing and started refining and refining it more and more. The only thing that I’m still stuck on to this day is my subject? Landscapes, street photography, candid moments, still life? Once I figure out which subject matter to focus on I will have a more consistent style and body of work. But for now, I’m happy with 2 out of 3. Like I said easier said than done.
Committing to one thing is intimidating and at times feels scary to limit one’s self so savourily when we live in a world of endless options and abundance. Why in gods name would you want to take choices away from yourself, or even options to get the shot? I’ll say one word to help you ‘FOCUS’. Once you limit your choices you have more time and can spend more energy on creativity rather than making choices. The less time you spend on making decisions when it comes to gear, lighting & post-processing, the more time you have to create and take photographs.
Write that list, stick to it and start creating a body of work that is consistent. Repeat and repeat because repetition is the key. Make your photo routine so repetitive that autopilot or flow starts. And your creative mind begins to shine through. And who you are, starts to reflect into your work. That’s how you find your photographic aesthetic. That’s how to find your photography style fast!
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