It’s time for Truthy Tuesday! I’m a bit late because I hadn’t planned to post anything today, but I was inspired late this afternoon and had to write this while it was still fresh on my mind.
As a photographer… new, kinda new, or established… have you ever given much thought to your style? Why your photos look the way they do?
A running theme this past month throughout all of the conversations I’ve had during my mentor sessions and workshop has been embracing what YOU like and finding YOUR style.
I hear so often that photography is such an over-saturated industry, it’s so hard to get noticed, everyone thinks they’re a photographer so it’s hard to convince someone to book with you, yada yada, etc, etc… There are indeed a lot of photographers and everyone loves being able to capture their own moments themselves, but I think of it this way- there are also a lot of restaurants too, right? And you don’t think the restaurant industry is over-saturated. Everyone has a kitchen in their home, but that doesn’t stop the restaurant industry from flourishing, does it?
It’s just the nature of things… if you focus on the negative that’s what you see, whereas if you focus on the positive, you’ll have a different mindset. Honestly I really don’t mind those perceived “negatives” because even with that being the case, there is still enough business for everyone! There are a lot of photographers, but there are also a lot of people… and everyone isn’t looking for the same thing. Just like there are a restaurants that appeal to one person and not another, the same is true when it comes to photographers- and any service-based business, really.
What’s going to make someone book with you and not another photographer? Your style. So this leads me back to my original question: Have you ever given much thought to your style? Why your photos look the way they do?
If not, I think now might be a good time to do so. When you clearly know your style, you’re in a much better position to have a genuine brand that truly reflects you and market yourself effectively. I kind of got sidetracked above, but my original point in writing this today was to share this: I want us as photographers to understand why our photos look as they do. What is it about your work that makes it yours? Are you happy with how your photos look or are you settling because it’s the best you could come up with? And if your answer to that last question is yes, that’s okay! We all have to start somewhere.
When I started taking photos, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I didn’t know what “good light” was, or what made a good photo. If I liked it, I did it. And you know what? Surprisingly, some other folks did too because I had clients early on that were attracted to something about my work lol. But that wasn’t enough… As I kept shooting, I started becoming frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t produce what I wanted to, and I realized I was “settling” for a style that wasn’t truly mine because I didn’t know what to do to get the photos I wanted. So what did I do? I learned! Lol
I’ve always loved this quote! In this case I’m applying it to photography, or really any endeavor you’re pursuing… If you know that what you’re producing is not your best and you’re settling, now is the time to learn how to improve. Don’t settle for imitating someone else’s style because it works for them, find YOUR style!
I can say that learning and embracing your style is a wonderful feeling… It feels great when you’re able to produce just the kind of imagery that you’d like to… BUT it doesn’t happen overnight. Just look at one example below with my lovely client Desiree over the years.
Just starting out and I thought these were pretty good. They were tricky to shoot in full sun so I had more editing to do to compensate for that. I wasn’t happy that I couldn’t get the blurred background effect but at this time I wasn’t aware that achieving that look had to do with the lens I was using.
I hadn’t yet learned how to correctly use white balance, and I knew these looked weird, but I didn’t know how to fix it. So I threw filters on it and made it black & white.
Because I didn’t have sharp/clean images to begin with, I thought making them extra contrasty made them look better. I was beginning to see my composition style change and that I was happy with.
My color and clarity were improving, but there I was again in full sun which I don’t really love.
And here we are today! Or well a couple years ago, but this is a much more accurate reflection of my style. Clean and crisp with bright color.
So this post ended up being wayyy longer than intended, but I want to wrap up just saying that finding your style can take time and sometimes just defining it can be tricky. But I can guarantee that once you do, you will be happy you did :)
Let me know what you thought of today’s post!
Until next time,