Being a professional photographer is a combination of technical skill and creative intuition. Mastering the tools of the trade means understanding your camera, lenses, lighting, and software to produce quality images. Your technique, your unique perspective, and your storytelling ability set you apart as an artist. Combine all this and you have your style. Finding your style and being able to consistently produce it will set you apart from the masses. Additionally, establishing the look of your brand can help you decide what type of professional albums and products you’d like to offer your clients.
When photographers describe their style, you might hear things like; light and airy, dark and moody, clean and modern, lifestyle documentary, fashion influenced, or timeless and classic. Yet, what if you really can’t identify your style? Does that mean adopting the latest trend and conforming your work? If you want to be authentic – probably not.
While it’s important to keep tabs on what’s hot in the industry, having a cookie-cutter look isn’t going to be rewarding. Choosing to emulate a passing fancy might seem attractive for a few months. However, if it’s not something you are totally in love with, it might actually be a strain on your creativity. Churning out facsimiles will ultimately lead to boredom.
A Discovery Exercise
Finding your style can be a great exercise in developing your artistic approach. Here are some ways to explore how your own tastes and preferences impact your style.
Take a field trip to your local mall and wander. As you walk past the various storefronts, signage, and window displays be aware of what attracts you and what repels you.
- Do you like the comforting look of dimly lit stores with palm plants and spotlighted outfits?
- What about look of white kitchens, succulents, and brass accents?
- Do you prefer brightly lit glass spaces with clean lines with shiny fixtures?
- Are shops with rustic bins full of products and handwritten chalkboard signs the type of thing that draws you in?
Take note of how these different styles can be seen or featured in your work, branding, website, and products.
Grab Some Magazines
Yes, you can scroll through Pinterest to get the creative juices flowing but this is more personal. Grab some magazines and go for variety; fashion, gardening, architecture, self-care, cars, even technology. Take some time to page through and tear out images that really speak to you.
Next, go back and look through the images that you selected and write down words or phrases to describe the image or design and the feeling that it creates.
Now, look at your own website and see how these words connect to the images displayed. If there is some disconnect, set yourself up with a plan to work on your imagery outside of your regular hired jobs. This will help you give your portfolio the stylistic boost it needs.
Phone a Friend
This might take a little bravery, but try reaching out to a friend or client and ask them to look at your work and describe your style to you. If the words they’re using aren’t your intention, maybe things are out of line. Look for ways to make adjustments to your next job or allow yourself a workshop shoot to create with more intent.
What to Offer Clients?
Finding your style can be eye-opening. Examining your creativity based on other things that you like can be revealing. It can also help simplify your brand message, the types of wedding albums, and the finished products that you offer. There is something really attractive about focusing on just a few specific products.
Let’s sync some of the retail space environments and style descriptions with professional wedding albums and customized options that might pair nicely together.
Style Loves: White kitchens, Succulent Plants, Light, and Airy
Offer: 12×12 or 10×10 Luster Books with Full Leather Cameo Covers in Glove White, Sage, or Mesa Blue with Gold Imprinting.
Style Loves: Minimalism, Lifestyle Photojournalism, Modern Elegance
Offer: 12×12 or 10×10 Zookbook with Splash Cameo Cover; White on Black or Black on White, Branded Imprinting, Black Gilding
Style Loves: Rustic Containers, ChalkBoard Signs, Boho Chic
Offer: 12×12 or 10×10 Lustre Books with Thick Pages and Custom Canvas Wrap Covers
By honing in on your specific talent, tastes, and expertise you realize that finding your style will differentiate you from others in a saturated market. Ultimately you’ll attract clients who come to you, not because of availability or pricing, but because of your artistry and style.