When I got my first fancy camera, I just wanted to take a pretty picture. That. Is. It. What exactly “pretty” meant, well, I figured I’d know it when I saw it.
Now, 8 years and thousands of shoots later, my camera’s an extension of my arm, my eye. I sure do know pretty when I see it. Just like a seasoned chef doesn’t need a recipe, I’ve internalized my style.
If you’re in the early stages of your photography journey, you’re probably toying around with your own personal style.
Whether you’re blogging for biz or Instagramming your adorable rugrats for fun, odds are there are colours, subjects and moods you naturally turn to. For me, I’m a sucker for soft hues, sharp blacks and loving creatures, be they human or other species.
While it’s perfectly OK to be influenced by trends – lord knows, I LOVES me some millennial pink these days – you also want to develop a signature style as your build your feed, your portfolio, or even your clientele.
So, where to begin?
First, a word on style.
It’s a unique combination of many elements: subject, lighting, shooting angle, cropping, colour, tone, depth of field, and more.
A great place to start: find a subject or subjects you love. What interests you? What inspires you? Me, I love cute. I can’t resist cute outfits, cute kids, cute dogs, cute couples. I love love. And fashion.
Now, you’re probably feeling a tad overwhelmed. Totes normal. Try this: go through your feed or your shots to date and pull out 5 to 10 of your faves. Notice any recurring themes?
No sweat if not. The beginning of your fancy camera journey is kind of like the first year of college: a time to explore before you declare your major.
Your style will evolve.
Now, along with the subject, there’s the whole mood or feeling your photos evoke. Nothing has a bigger impact on this than lighting. What time of day did you shoot your favorite photos? Are they brightly lit or full of shadows? High key, deliberately underexposed, or somewhere in between?
How about color and tone? Sepia filter all the way or color bombs? Dark and moody or light and airy?
I don’t expect you to be able to answer these questions yet. But start paying attention to what calls to you. And download my handy-dandy tipsheet to help.
Your personal style will set you apart.
It will give your pics – individually and collectively as your portfolio grows – that je ne sais quoi that makes them wonderfully, distinctly yours.