DEVELOPMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLE

Creating a recognizable style involves distinctive photography.  A photographer who wants to develop their own sense of style must broaden their ability to see the image before they shoot it.  To develop your own sense of style, you must:

  • Be skilled with handling your camera and photographic equipment
  • Learn how to sense the way different types of film will respond to different colours and different situations (eg.   haze, back light, side light, reflected light etc).
  • Understand and respond to how light and colour can impact the picture.
  • Recognise and understand how certain scenes and subjects can usually be reflected in a photo
  • Understand that how the photographer actually ‘sees’ the scene determines the quality and style of the picture.
  • Use personal expression to select and arrange the subject matter
  • Be able to interpret a picture.  How you interpret a picture using photographic techniques will determine style.
  • Understanding basic design principles and analyzing impressive photographs can assist in the development of your own personal style.

Think about photographers or artists whose work is instantly identifiable.   What is it about their work that screams their name?   Study and analyse their work to see what their unique style is and how they permeate it through all their work.

The following things will significantly affect the success you are able to achieve in developing a personal style in photography: 

The things you select to photograph.

  • The way you compose your photograph.
    (i.e.  the way you arrange the things you select, and what parts of the subject matter are highlighted, in focus, in the foreground, excluded, the way they are lit etc.
  • The content of the picture influences the style.
  • The approach used to photograph something, influences the style.   Different approaches to the same subject will produce different styles.
  • Just because a subject is unusual or rare doesn't mean the photo will be unusual or rare.  The uniqueness of the photo depends on the way the subject is photographed as much as it does on what the photograph is itself.
  • Visual impact depends on the way composition, form, colour, action, etc. are ‘seen’ in the finished photograph.
  • Style is how you interpret the subject matter of a particular photograph, through that photograph, by using the various photographic techniques available to you.

 

Learn to ‘see’ rather than ‘look’

If you really ‘see’ something, you will probably find yourself shooting from a position ‘other than’ eye level more often than not.   ‘Seeing’ a picture is a skill that can be developed with understanding and practice.  ‘Seeing’ is about recognising that there is ‘more’ to a picture or scene than meets the eye, and reflecting it in your photographs.   Some photographers always find beauty in the ugly, by seeking it out.   Others discover a scene from an unexpected or different point of view which sheds new light on the subject.   An alternative point of view always makes a view look twice at a picture as it provokes thought.   Thinking in colours is another approach to ‘seeing’ a picture. 

Photographs that are taken by a photographer who ‘sees’ rather than ‘looks’ will add another dimension and bring renewed life to the subject, scene or topic.   To truly develop your own photographic style you must find your own unique voice or view of the world, and skilfully express that in your pictures.   Travel photography provides unlimited exciting opportunities to do this.

 

Hints

  • It is often a good learning experience to work with another photographer, photographing the same subjects, and comparing the differences in the final result.
  • You must be thoroughly familiar with the equipment and materials you are using, if you are to achieve your full potential.
  • Look at other people's work in books, magazines, newspapers, exhibitions, etc, and try to see the differences in style between different photographers.