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4 Key Steps to Developing Your Unique Visual Style as a Photographer

by Stephanie Faris
featured, photo & video

 

Finding Your Photographic Style with Julia Kelleher

“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”

Photographer Julia Kelleher believes wholeheartedly in this famous quote from Pablo Picasso. A respected fine art family photographer, Julia teaches workshops across the globe, lending her expertise to photographers of all experience levels. She has found that events like CreativeLive’s Photo Week are a great way for photographers to get ideas that they can use in their own photography.

But before an artist can successfully steal, they must learn his own personal style. Julia defines several steps a photographer can take to develop their own visual style.

Julia Kelleher Brand

Understand The Components of Brand

There are three major components of brand, according to Julia:

– Personality

– Visual style

– Moral promise

One quote that has always stuck with Julia came from photography marketing teacher Sarah Petty. “You cannot build a strong brand on a weak identity,” Petty says.


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


Know Your Photography Style

A photographer’s visual brand components are their photography style and collateral identity. The collateral identity has to do with the marketing pieces a photographer uses to get the word out about his or her services. Photography style is that little part of yourself every photographer puts into every picture they shoot, Julia says.

To arrive at your photography style, a photographer must first ask three questions:

– What do you love to shoot?

– How do you love to shoot it?

– Why do you love to shoot it?

“These elements are the components of your visual photographic style,” Julia says. “Not all of it. But answer those questions really well, and you’re well on your way to developing a strong photographic style.”

Brand Julia Kelleher

Describe Your Photography Style

To answer those three questions, Julia recommends taking a few of your own images that you feel very strongly about and name three adjectives to describe them. There should be three visual adjectives and three emotional adjectives. Julia’s visual adjectives, for example, are, “neutral, designed, and shallow depth of field.” Her emotional adjectives are “calm, touching, and organic.”

“Helping you define your photographic style in these words will help you not only develop a brand, but it will help you stay true to your photographic style,” Julia says.

Steal from Others

This identity is especially important when copying others. As Julia points out, every photographer copies others at first. Copying is how new photographers learn techniques. Once a photographer learns the technique, they’ll soon graduate to stealing techniques from others. As Julia explains, stealing simply means to “take as your own,” which means stealing components, then improving on them.

“Think about the great artists of the world,” Julia said. “All the impressionists used to get together and paint together. They’d steal each other’s ideas all the time. That’s why with companies like CreativeLive, we’re all here at photo week, getting together and learning stuff. We start stealing from one another. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Once an artist starts stealing and making it his own, then they’ll start to feel his style. Then the artist learns to decide more quickly which techniques are worth stealing.

“You just have to figure out what’s worth stealing,” Julia says. “That’s the whole point of art.”


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


 

 

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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip, 25 Roses, and the upcoming Piper Morgan series.