Find your style and what makes you unique.
When I first started shooting Landscapes several years ago, I tried to emulate other Photographers in the current industry. I knew I was no Ansel Adams and that would be a stretch, so I looked toward other artists that I wanted to mimic. I always wanted that graphic sort of look like some of Trey Ratcliff’s images coupled with the finite details of Matt Kloskowski. I loved the locations they shot and how they always seemed to capture the right time, the right place, and I was very envious of their processing skills.
Needless to say, I spent a lot of time trying to be someone else. It is a sad truth really, but ultimately I was wasting a lot of time trying to become someone I never could. Sure I could go to the same places, take the same shots, and attempt to process them the same way but I would never be able to make the same artistic decisions they did. This is not because they are better artists than me, but because we are instinctively different artists.
This is a tough concept to wrap your head around, however, I want you to really think about this the next time you process a photo with the intent to be like someone else or even wish your images looked like someone else’s. It took me a long time to figure this out so I want to save you some time here.
The more time you spend trying to be someone else as an artist the farther away you get from the artist within.
I was trying to develop the artistic style of someone else. While this was happening my own style was developing and I was clueless to it. It is certainly okay to like another person’s style and even try it on for size every once in a while, but don’t get so consumed with the idea that you reject the style you are developing in the meantime.
Since the beginning of time every artist has given the world their unique style. How do you find what makes you unique? These three steps will get you on the right track.
- Before you begin developing any style I want you to start thinking of yourself as an artist. If you are on this site right now reading this, then you are no longer ‘just’ a photographer. You are an artist.
- When you are processing a photo and find a technique or look that speaks to you, you are on the way to developing your style. Now elaborate on that emotion.
- No matter what the art is, it is emotive. Don’t shy away from the emotions in the process of developing a style. There will always be an image that speaks to you, find out why it does and elaborate on it.