Discover
learn. create. do.

5 Steps to Defining Your Photography Style (and Creating Guidelines)

by Jessica Cardelucci
photo & video

How to Define Your Photography Style

Finding your photography style can be a daunting task.

It’s been a painful process for me to define my photographic style over the years, and now I’m sharing the five-step process I use to help other photographers find their own unique style and build a set of guiding principles for the future.

Check out How to Define Your Style and Brand with Ben Sasso for his guide to building a cohesive brand.

When I first created a collection of fine art, my work was lacking a cohesive style and subject matter. Going through this simple process helped me define the rules I’d be following for each series of work to ensure that my message is clear and consistent throughout my images.

Keep in mind that less is often more, so don’t feel like you need hundreds of images to create a successful collection of photographs!

Step 1: Determine Your Goals

Start out by asking yourself what you are looking to accomplish with your photography.

What is it that you enjoy about photography?

A photo posted by Jessica Cardelucci (@cardelucci) on

Think about the market you are interested in.

Do you want to shoot commercial jobs, weddings, portraits, or possibly fine art? Chances are, you have an idea of what you want to pursue or accomplish with your images.

It’s typically best to start the process of defining your style by focusing on one collection of work at a time, so set your goals on what you want to accomplish for each individual series of work.


Interesting in learning how to developing your own photographic style from Julia herself? Join her for her upcoming course on Finding, Defining, and Using Your Photographic Style, on August 16-17th, 2016. It’s FREE to watch while live!

Visual Style


Step 2: Find Inspiration

Research. Research. Research.

It’s important to be aware of what other photographers are creating in your industry! When you are defining a unique style for yourself, you can use their work for inspiration, but try to make your images different.

Your photographs are a visual representation of your brand, so try to think of ways to be true to yourself while still adding a unique edge to your work.

I highly recommend creating Pinterest boards filled with images that represent the look and feel you are trying to achieve.

 

This will significantly help you in sorting through ideas that’ll will inspire future images, and give you a stylistic guide to fall back on.

Step 3: Be your Own Critic

This may be the most difficult step, but it will help you in the long run.

A photo posted by Jessica Cardelucci (@cardelucci) on

Take a step back and really analyze your work. If you are having trouble with where to start, choose 10-20 of your favorite images you’ve photographed that relate to your goals. Take a deep look at these images up close, far away, and upside down (yes you heard that right!).

Look for similarities between the photographs including subject matter, composition, depth of field, lenses used, tones, colors, and any unique elements your eye may catch.

Even though your images may not be 100% cohesive yet, you need to start observing what makes them come together as a single collection that represents you as an artist.

No matter which photographic industry you’re pursuing, you are still the artist behind the camera, creating these images.

A great example is one of my favorite photographers Jose Villa. When browsing through wedding images, I can tell the photograph is likely his before seeing his name. The images he creates are cohesive in style, depth of field, color, and tones. He’s a true master at controlling the quality and guidelines for his art.

Step 4: Set the Rules

One of the final steps to this process is setting guidelines for yourself.

Write down what makes all of the images unique to your brand, and how you are going to make them better. If you are a visual person like myself, keeping your top 10 images in a folder on your desktop or printed in your office can help you compare new photos to see if they fit within your guidelines.

This way, you can visually see how your images work together as one cohesive collection. It’s okay to have a little variety too, but all images should create a single story.

Step 5: Make Mistakes

After you’ve defined your style and written your rules, don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Some of my favorite images and best new ideas came from happy accidents.

A photo posted by Jessica Cardelucci (@cardelucci) on

That one accidental shutter click or new editing technique can often spark something new that’ll make your work better, or lead you into an entirely new collection of work.

 


Interesting in learning how to developing your own photographic style from Julia herself? Join her for her upcoming course on Finding, Defining, and Using Your Photographic Style, on August 16-17th, 2016. It’s FREE to watch while live!

Visual Style


 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Related Classes

Related Articles

Comments

Jessica Cardelucci

Jessica Cardelucci brings a fresh approach to fine art photography by preserving the world’s natural beauty with eco-friendly prints. Each image is a finely crafted work of art and takes you on a journey through the natural world.