How do you develop a photographic style?

Pier lit with coloured lights April 2010

I read a lot, blogs, magazines, books etc and one of the comments I see a lot is about how photographers have to be different or unique to stand out.  To look for a different viewpoint in front of a popular photographic icon, to walk around the corner, to go up or down.  This makes sense to me and something that I have incorporated into my work.

However the writers go on to say that you must develop your own unique style to truly communicate your vision through your images.  Your own specific way of seeing and capturing and processing an image that is consistent and identifiable.

Belly Dancer June 2010

Having been fairly serious about learning the craft of photography for the last 5 or so years, I am already working hard to master the capabilities of the camera.  To try and remember all the rules for composition and then try to creatively break them.  Filters!  Post-Processing!  DOF, Hypefocal distance, shutterspeeds!

So much to learn and remember, I am utterly boggled by the thought that you then have to think even further beyond that to develop your unique style or vision for an image.  Its hard enough to simply come up with a good or even great image, accounting for light and conditions and all the other things that affect what you produce.

Oamaru Breakwater June 2011

HOW DO YOU DEVELOP A STYLE?  How do you even decide what your style will be?  While the articles comment that you should do it, no one ever says “this is how”.  There is so much world out there, doing fabulous things and I want to see and capture most of it, and its all different.  So far, my style has been turning up with a camera LOL

For those who have a specific intense passion for one thing, and they are driven to capture just that, then maybe they have more opportunity to develop a specific style?  Maybe in that focus the style organically evolves?


Red Zone Sunset Sept 2012

We all want to be remembered for something, and I would certainly like my images to be some form of memorable, and to do that they have to stand out from the crowd.  Do I shoot with a particular style or method in mind?  Beyond trying to create the best composition to capture a specific image, no, I have no artistic aims or goals.

Should I?  Maybe but I really don’t know how to develop this concept.  Should I do a creative art course of some kind?  Do I simply lack the vision that makes a great photographer?

Herbert Cemetary Dec 2012

Right now, I am going to continue to focus on continuing to learn my craft, improving my compositions, capturing the light and the shadow. Style may or may not evolve, but if I aim for improvement, surely that is a worthy goal of its own?

If you have a style, was it a concious choice?  Was it a direction you specifically went in?  Or did it just happen over time?

Seagulls on seawall, Akaroa, 2010


About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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12 Responses to How do you develop a photographic style?

  1. Very interesting article and not sure if I have any answer, let alone the answer (and you have way more experience). when Leanne Cole did an intro to my work, one of the comments I got back was that there tends to be a blue / green tinge to my work. If there is, it is not deliberate and maybe more to do with where I am (Ireland) than a consciously made decision. I think evolving is the most natural progression and for that one has to keep on practising. Just an opinion of another eye behind the lens, MM 🍀

  2. Why?Matters! says:

    I don’t have an answer either. Since i take pictures i have mostly everyday my camera with me. I like to go out and walk, but in no specific area. I go around and see something and see if it works as a picture. I have a lot of people around me they tell me i need to specify on something but i have to say i don’t like too. Since i start posting them on my blog i can see all different kind of people liking it. Maybe this is an specification: The variety?

    • lensaddiction says:

      I like variety as well and wonder if that has some influence on the ‘style’ or lack of it. Maybe you are right, and the choice to do variety is our style 🙂

      Lucky you that you have the opportunity to take your camera with you every day, I keep thinking I should buy a small P&S to carry in my handbag for those moments you see, but they are so often when I am driving that it would be pointless anyway.

  3. Ok, here is the explanation that I received at a workshop done by a seasoned photographer that I asked about individual style.
    “Your individual style will develop over time for you see things like no one else does. Once the technical aspects become habit your mind will be open and your individual style will develop organically.”

  4. SPFischer says:

    This is such a timely post for me, lensaddiction! While I am an incredible novice compared to the time you have spent developing your craft, I find myself wondering the same things as you. Most specifically your question – Do I simply lack the vision that makes a good photographer? – is one I have asked myself. I marvel at the amazing images I see here on WordPress, especially those with unique points of view that just pull me into the images, and I wonder if I would have “seen” that choice if I had shot the image.

    I, too, find myself shooting random images, and like you, am mostly concerned right now with mastering the fundamentals of photography and of my camera. But I am heartened by dapontephotography’s comment.

    Now, all that being said, I think your images are stunning! Your skill with your camera is clearly evident in each of your images, and the scenes that you capture definitely appeal to my eye. Keep on doing what you’re doing … I’m delighted to follow along on your journey!

    • lensaddiction says:

      Thanks, its nice to know I am not the only one navel gazing about these kinds of things 🙂 I found some photographers online who did some work that I found was astonishing and so unique and really inspired me (I need to share them in a post) and it kinda planted the seed about how they got to that place in their artistic journey.

      I am going to carry on as I have been, and if it comes, it does, and if not I will have had fun along the way 🙂

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