It is important to give yourself time to develop your style, as much as it is important to just ‘go and do it.’
When we speak of ‘style,’ this is a reference to the traits to your work that will not be individually original, but collectively come to represent you in a particular context.
Perhaps think of the word ‘style’ as ‘How my work is seen by others,’ i.e. it’s something that doesn’t actually matter until you want to sell your work in some way. For many photographers, there is a critical awareness that their art itself pours out in an often impulsive, uneven and unkempt flow, and that the ‘business’ side of themselves checks in on it to organise, shape and package it in the form of exhibitions, portfolios, books and so on. Maintaining a balance between what you want to do and what’s popular or successful, and will create better foundations for everything that you do want to do is one of the key seesaw conflicts that people experience as an artist.
Seeing your work alongside other people’s can help you understand your own idiosyncrasies, your ways of doing things, giving you confidence to say ‘Yes, this is me.’ Perhaps you can see how your lines and curves differ to other photographers’. Or how you favour particular colours, or have compositional traits. Another exercise is to simply look at all of your work together, as prints laid out, or thumbnails stacked on a screen for example, which can be helpful to visually observe your own trends in using colour, light, tone and composition, laid out as a visual tapestry.
List ten things—whether these are other photographers, other kinds of artists, films, music, literature. For each thing, say what inspires you about it. But also, be aware of aspects of each item that don’t necessarily inspire you so much. You will have favourites, which are attractive to you for a reason (an easy but interesting task is to review the pictures on photo-sharing sites that you’ve added as favourites). The relationship between the inspiration and yourself is unique—because there is an aspect you choose to highlight above all its others. In the end, you have a shopping bag of your own chosen parts of those inspirations. Once you realise what it is about something that inspires you, you can make sense of the component ingredients that go into the production of your own work.
Creative Portrait Photography by Natalie Dybisz offers an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the creative process of one of today’s most exciting and popular professional portrait photographers and gives you everything you need to step up your portrait photography to take photos that express the style and personalities of both you and your subjects. With over 150 portraits and a showcase chapter featuring work from five top portrait photographers explaining how each shot was achieved, you’ll be inspired to take your portrait photography to a whole new level of creativity.