This article was originally posted on Photofocus.com
Several years back when I was just starting out as a photographer I was focused on increasing my technical skills, getting my images clean and sharp and, at a very basic level, I was just trying to make beautiful photographs. Eventually I learned that photographers should have or adopt a certain “style” to their images. So then I started wondering … did I have a style? If I did, I couldn’t see it, and eventually my friend Scott Bourne let me in on what he could see: I did have a distinct style! That was music to my ears.
Knowing that piece of information didn’t really change anything, other than the perception I had of my own photography. It didn’t force me to shoot a certain way or continue to try to create my images with a certain look. I just did what felt right and looked good.
If you want your style to be authentic and natural then the best thing to do is to not force it! It’s possible that you will be influenced by images you see and people you work with,and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, I’ve seen photographers mention that they want their style to be a certain way, possibly because they’ve seen other photographers’ images that they love and can relate to. That, in my opinion, can be the result of succumbing to trends and wanting your images to look like someone else’s work.
So, the bottom line is, just be you! Learn the techniques, try new things but don’t let the lure of wanting to have “a style” change your photography. Trust me, you do indeed have a style, and the more you shoot and process your photographs the better your chances that it will shine through.