4 Questions to Help You Discover Your Photographic Style

If you’re new to the world of photography, you may hear other photographers talk about their photographic style quite a bit. But what does this mean and how do you find your own style? I’m sure you’ve heard of photojournalism (shooting moments with no posing), traditional photography (completely posed), and lifestyle photography (which is a blend of the two). But a photographer’s true style is more than just a description of his or her shooting method. It encompasses the whole look of the photographer’s art. Below are four questions you can ask yourself to help pinpoint your style.

photo by Gustavo Gomes

photo by Gustavo Gomes

What do you like to shoot?

This can sometimes take awhile to discover, especially if you’re new to photography. Most photographers discover that there is one subject in particular that they really enjoy shooting more than any other. Sometimes that’s weddings or newborns, or maybe it’s kids and families. Whatever you prefer to document directly affects your style. The way you photograph kids is probably completely different from how you would document a bride and groom. So knowing this can prove to be a huge indicator of your style.

Where do you like to shoot?

Though this may not seem like a contributing factor to your style, it can play a role in the look and feel of your images. For example, I love shooting outdoors, preferably in a park, forest, or reserve. Somewhere beautiful and natural. But one of my good friends loves to shoot in grungy, dirty, dilapidated areas. The locations she likes to shoot, coupled with the grunge overlays she adds to her portraits, sets her style apart from my more natural, pretty, and soft artwork.

outdoor wedding portraiture

“Nadya & Sasha” captured by PictureSocial member Natalie Milissenta Shmeleva

How do you like to shoot?

This is a two-fold question really. How you shoot can involve your equipment. Do you shoot digital or film? Natural light or strobes? All of these play into your style. Another way to look at this question is to determine if you prefer more traditional portraiture with heavy posing or more candid moments. These are two very different shooting styles, and they play a huge role in defining your style.

outdoor portrait photography

“Barley” captured by PictureSocial member Jay Sadler

What moves you?

I’m sure you’ve looked at other photographers’ work. When you see an image that stirs your soul and makes your heart flutter, what is it you like about it? Are you drawn toward intimate moments? Maybe tight crops of eyes or thoughtful looks from kids leave you in awe. Maybe you love black and white imagery or maybe instead it’s richly colored images that leave you inspired.

black and white portrait photography

“LX” captured by PictureSocial member Thomas Jeppesen

Whatever it is that moves you and fills your soul with passion, that is the biggest part of your style. Learn it. Embrace it. Harness it. And then express it in your own work.

About the Author:
Stephanie lives in Central, Illinois, is married to her best friend, Ryan, and enjoys the company of her rambunctious lab-beagle pup, Kit. She is the owner of Green Tree Media (greentreemediaonline.com) and is passionate about photography.

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