What is your photography style

4 steps to your own photography style

“This photographer has a cool style” you hear people say over and over again. But what actually defines a photography style of its own? What is part of it? There are 4 factors that shape your own photographic signature.

Table of Contents

Motif

The first decision the photographer makes is what to photograph in the first place. Do you photograph landscapes or still lifes? Do you photograph animals or people? And with people there are again different directions. Do you photograph portraits, fashion or advertising? Men or women?

By making these decisions alone, you first of all define the area in which you will mainly be active. A few years ago it was mainly landscapes for me, but now the focus has literally been on portrait photography.

The next question with the picture motif is which direction it is going. Should it go in the direction of photo art, in which the person often fades into the background? Or should it be portraits, which are mostly about the person alone? Do you use props more often?

If you want to develop your own photography style, you should definitely have dealt with these questions. Of course, the one does not completely exclude the other. But you should still be aware of where the core area should be.

Photography technique and settings

If you know what to photograph, we'll get to how to photograph it. On the one hand, this includes which light you use. On the other hand, the camera settings and partly also your equipment.

But first about the light: This factor is very important for the image look and therefore also for the photography style. There are also many options here:

Do you mostly shoot portraits on Available Light? You can use this, for example, if you want to preserve the naturalness in your pictures. So you don't react to light conditions here, but adapt to them as advantageously as possible. It is important to read places and their lighting moods.

Of course, you can also correct lighting situations in places or design them completely yourself in the studio. Lightning is used for this. This allows you to decide for yourself whether you just want to support the natural light and compensate for unfavorable lighting moods. Or you can create your own lighting moods, which can then look artificial as desired.

Another point would be the camera equipment itself. Of course, you don't need the most expensive equipment. First and foremost, you should think about what you need for your style. If you want to use flash, you have to decide whether you want to work on the go or in the studio. Accordingly, do you need a flash with a porti / battery or a compact system flash? Or do you need a flash that is only available in the studio and needs a socket? Or even permanent light?

An important aspect of the technology is of course the lens. With some photographers, for example, you often see very blurry backgrounds. In almost all pictures. I am of the opinion that the choice of aperture then significantly defines the style of the picture. Just like the sharpness of the lens. Or the focal length, which determines the angle of view recorded.

There are people here who swear by the classic 50mm lens. Meanwhile, however, many also prefer the 35mm lens with the somewhat more modern-looking, wider viewing angle.

Point of view and composition

As already noted with the lens, the viewing angle is also crucial. This not only includes the focal length of the lens. However, this can also be a characteristic that the observer sometimes only perceives subconsciously.

Rather, you often see that photographers have retired to a certain angle. Do you regularly take photos from the front? Or slightly from above? Or directly from the ground?

All of this is also noticeable later when you concentrate on one direction. Of course, that doesn't mean that from now on you should only take pictures from above or below. As with any point, just keep it in mind.

At this point, composition also plays a role. Do you always build your picture in the golden ratio? Or do you also experiment with central perspectives or completely unconventional orientations?

This could include very small images of people in front of a landscape. Or unusual cuts on the edge. Everything is possible! At this point, too, you can fully develop yourself.

In portrait photography, of course, the posing of the model itself also takes part in the design. This can create shapes that have a significant impact on the composition.

post processing

At the end of each picture is the post-processing. It often makes sense to think about what you are going to do right from the start. In this way, you can adapt the lighting situation to your project in post production right from the start of the shoot.

I just don't know if I should say much about post-production at this point. Everyone knows that the possibilities in Lightroom and Photoshop (or other programs) are seemingly endless.

Every photographer processes his pictures differently in the end. Here you can even drive pictures in a completely different direction. What sounds good should, however, be taken with a bit of caution so as not to lose sight of your goal. Less is often more.

Own photography style: conclusion

You see, it takes a lot when it comes to developing your own photographic signature. Overall, however, the points can be structured in these four main categories.

Basically, it comes down to the W-questions that you answer for yourself.

What am I photographing? Where do i photograph it? How do I photograph it? Why am I photographing it?

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You can then go through all the points covered:

  • Motif
  • Photography technique and settings
  • Point of view and composition
  • post processing

Did I forget a point? What do you think defines the style of a photographer's image? Let me know in the comments.

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Markus Thoma

My name is Markus and I write about the creative art of photography from my experience as a professional photographer. I prefer to take portraits outdoors - in natural light. Because less is usually more. Every now and then I like to travel. When I'm not taking photos, you can find me at Metalcore concerts, in nature or at the buffet. Take a look at my social media channels: