How did you find your style?

Started 3 months ago | Questions
Birdstheword
Birdstheword New Member • Posts: 4
How did you find your style?

Hi all,

What a steps did you take to find your own personal style? Do you use presets? Or did you just edit your life away for 500 hours until you found what you liked? At what point did you decide “this is it!”?

I have always been drawn to photography but I have just recently started to pursue it as more than just a hobby. I currently use some presets, but I am feeling like it isn’t quite “me”. I’m new to editing in Lightroom as well.

thanks!

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Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 18,593
Re: How did you find your style?
6

Birdstheword wrote:

Hi all,

What a steps did you take to find your own personal style?

What do you mean by style? I have always taken it to mean the way one takes photographs - the subjects, locations, framing, composition etc. I didn't take any conscious steps to find my own style; rather, after a period of time in photography I looked at what I'd done and recognised the style I'd been using.

Do you use presets? Or did you just edit your life away for 500 hours until you found what you liked?

You seem to be thinking about the look of the final image after taking into account the things I mentioned above. I started photography in black and white (colour film was available but far too expensive) and I still like B&W for some types of picture. But generally I want my photos to look natural, so the idea of using someone else's ideas in a preset is foreign to me.

However you want your images to look it takes time to learn how to process them, just as any technique takes time to learn. There are lots of tutorials and videos available but it's besat to target ones that deal specifically with a problem you encounter.

At what point did you decide “this is it!”?

Never, in absolute terms. There's always something new to learn. Adobe Camera Raw (which is functionally identical to Lightroom) is now on its 13th major version. Each has introduced changes to the way of working - some major, most minor - so the learning is never-ending.

I have always been drawn to photography but I have just recently started to pursue it as more than just a hobby. I currently use some presets, but I am feeling like it isn’t quite “me”. I’m new to editing in Lightroom as well.

Try forgetting presets - which are just someone else's ideas - and start to develop your own taste.

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Gerry
________________________________________________________________________
I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
_________________________________________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
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theworstphotographerontheinternet Regular Member • Posts: 215
Re: How did you find your style?
4

I think your style is something that finds you, rather than the other way around. Keep shooting and it'll happen.

pocoloco Veteran Member • Posts: 3,015
Re: How did you find your style?
2

Birdstheword wrote:

Hi all,

What a steps did you take to find your own personal style?

Just by shooting a lot so you develop your shooting style (subject matter, point of view, lighting conditions, etc.). Also learning from others, adapted aspects of others I like.

Do you use presets?

Sometimes. I am bad ad pos processing - or maybe lazy - so I use some presets as a starting point, sometimes.

Or did you just edit your life away for 500 hours until you found what you liked?

Not yet

At what point did you decide “this is it!”?

Never... and probably never will.. I guess you will always evolve...

I have always been drawn to photography but I have just recently started to pursue it as more than just a hobby. I currently use some presets, but I am feeling like it isn’t quite “me”. I’m new to editing in Lightroom as well.

Keep experimenting... it will come!

thanks!

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yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 13,361
Re: How did you find your style?
5

Style, in any form of art, arises naturally through experience, experimentation, and old fashioned learning. There are no shortcuts. Your style will develop alongside your taste.

Follow your nose. Do the kind of photography that interests you, and try to do it well. Your first efforts will probably not be good. Some will be better than others. Critique yourself rigorously: what makes the good ones good? Try to do that again. Repeat.

Remember that a technically sound photograph is in focus, correctly exposed, and well composed. Take that as your basic requirement. What you do that's more than that is a matter of taste. Doing that "more " in a consistent way becomes your style.

Don't worry about it. It will just happen. As a beginner you have way more important things to worry about.

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KCook
KCook Forum Pro • Posts: 19,296
Re: How did you find your style?
1

What a steps did you take to find your own personal style?

Just by shooting a lot so you develop your shooting style (subject matter, point of view, lighting conditions, etc.). Also learning from others, adapted aspects of others I like.

I like this. I don't hesitate to copy themes that others have played with. I also like books -

https://photographyintro.com/tag/books-on-photography/

Kelly Cook

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John Crowe
John Crowe Contributing Member • Posts: 904
Re: How did you find your style?
2

Well, I have been at it for 40 years now, and much like the others I developed my various styles for different subjects over the years.   Initially I did my own thing, and then through magazines and books I targetted other looks.

For me too, it has always been about "seeing" then lens selection, and then composition.  Post processing did not come about until I had to take the very near black and white RAW file and make it look like Kodachrome or Velvia etc.

I have always been at least somewhat artistic with a degree in industrial design, so my influences, even for photography, have been Salvador Dali, Lauren Harris and Ansel Adams, and in the late 80's and early 90's Outdoor Photographer magazine.

While I know I have an overall style that likely affects all my images, it does change from lens to lens.

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JustUs7 Senior Member • Posts: 1,764
Re: How did you find your style?
2

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Try forgetting presets - which are just someone else's ideas - and start to develop your own taste.

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Gerry
________________________________________________________________________
I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
_________________________________________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

Maybe for someone artistic with some understanding of color, that works.

As someone who enjoys photography and the outcome and just wants it to look close to what I remember, to have to mangle through the myriad of available colors to come up with something uniquely “me”?  No way.  Give me a one click preset prepared by someone that knows a lot more than I do all day.

Personally, I’ve taken to Canon’s “Standard” picture style and AWB-White Priority.  It seems to work well with my families skin tones without being too red (Portrait) or yellow (AWB-Ambient Priority).  To move hue, saturation, or luminosity- I’d just goof up the colors.

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Krusty79 Senior Member • Posts: 2,314
Re: How did you find your style?
1

Your style will evolve over time. Don't try to rush the process - you may be limiting yourself. I've never heard of anyone being criticized for lacking a style. Well-exposed photos that strike a chord in your viewers will always be in style.

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JeffSlade
JeffSlade Regular Member • Posts: 496
Re: How did you find your style?
2

Birdstheword wrote:

Hi all,

What a steps did you take to find your own personal style? Do you use presets? Or did you just edit your life away for 500 hours until you found what you liked? At what point did you decide “this is it!”?

I have always been drawn to photography but I have just recently started to pursue it as more than just a hobby. I currently use some presets, but I am feeling like it isn’t quite “me”. I’m new to editing in Lightroom as well.

thanks!

Do you possibly mean how do you find your workflow? If not ignore.

I have no style so I can't be of help if you really meant style.

Interesting question though.

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Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 18,593
Re: How did you find your style?
1

JustUs7 wrote:

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Try forgetting presets - which are just someone else's ideas - and start to develop your own taste.

Maybe for someone artistic with some understanding of color, that works.

Possibly; but that's not me. I'm not artistic and most of my understanding of colour comes from reading about it after learning photo editing (which is what stimulated my intertest).

As someone who enjoys photography and the outcome and just wants it to look close to what I remember, to have to mangle through the myriad of available colors to come up with something uniquely “me”?

This is back to front. Anything you do without understanding what's going on is uniquely you because no one else can replicate it.

No way. Give me a one click preset prepared by someone that knows a lot more than I do all day.

Personally, I’ve taken to Canon’s “Standard” picture style and AWB-White Priority. It seems to work well with my families skin tones without being too red (Portrait) or yellow (AWB-Ambient Priority). To move hue, saturation, or luminosity- I’d just goof up the colors.

Each of those things is easy to learn but they do need learning. You cut out my paragraph that says "However you want your images to look it takes time to learn how to process them, just as any technique takes time to learn. There are lots of tutorials and videos available …"

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Gerry
________________________________________________________________________
I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
_________________________________________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

Klaus dk
Klaus dk Veteran Member • Posts: 7,435
Re: How did you find your style?
1

I'm still waiting for it to find me.

I make portraits and if I have a style it is to adapt the setup to my interpretation of the person in front of me.

"Picture styles" is a marketing term for predefined settings and has nothing to do with personal style.

Good luck and good light.

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hotdog321
hotdog321 Forum Pro • Posts: 20,928
Re: How did you find your style?
3

Birdstheword wrote:

Hi all,

What a steps did you take to find your own personal style? Do you use presets? Or did you just edit your life away for 500 hours until you found what you liked? At what point did you decide “this is it!”?

I have always been drawn to photography but I have just recently started to pursue it as more than just a hobby. I currently use some presets, but I am feeling like it isn’t quite “me”. I’m new to editing in Lightroom as well.

thanks!

The camera settings should be as natural as breathing; they have little or nothing to do with achieving a personal style. Learn your gear so it becomes "Zen" in nature--so comfortable that you don't think about it. The camera is just the tool you use to achieve your style.

A personal style is achieved when you choose subject matter, composition, light and message. I suggest looking though as many photos as possible and see which ones "grab" you. Of those photos, decide what you like about them and consciously copy that style. In time, you will find your own modified style coming to fruition.

Worked for me and gave me a pretty good 40 year photojournalism career.

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Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,686
Re: How did you find your style?
1

Birdstheword wrote:

What a steps did you take to find your own personal style? Do you use presets? Or did you just edit your life away for 500 hours until you found what you liked? At what point did you decide “this is it!”?

After 30 or so years of semi-serious photography (including a 15+ year lull), I don't know that I've ever found my style. I just look for interesting scenes and take pictures of them.

Aaron

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Birdstheword
OP Birdstheword New Member • Posts: 4
Re: How did you find your style?

Hi Gerry!

thank you for taking the time to comment. I suppose I should add more information to this. Where I live (CA) there are a lot of photographers with the same warm, moody style. While I am drawn to it, I don’t want to just fall in line with what everyone else is doing. I love a good natural photo, but I also love to add my own touch. I’m very drawn to vintage/film style photos, but I guess I need to spend more time learning how to edit.

Birdstheword
OP Birdstheword New Member • Posts: 4
Re: How did you find your style?

yardcoyote wrote:

Style, in any form of art, arises naturally through experience, experimentation, and old fashioned learning. There are no shortcuts. Your style will develop alongside your taste.

Follow your nose. Do the kind of photography that interests you, and try to do it well. Your first efforts will probably not be good. Some will be better than others. Critique yourself rigorously: what makes the good ones good? Try to do that again. Repeat.

Remember that a technically sound photograph is in focus, correctly exposed, and well composed. Take that as your basic requirement. What you do that's more than that is a matter of taste. Doing that "more " in a consistent way becomes your style.

Don't worry about it. It will just happen. As a beginner you have way more important things to worry about.

I love this, thank you!

KCook
KCook Forum Pro • Posts: 19,296
Re: How did you find your style?

Birdstheword wrote:

Hi Gerry!

thank you for taking the time to comment. I suppose I should add more information to this. Where I live (CA) there are a lot of photographers with the same warm, moody style. While I am drawn to it, I don’t want to just fall in line with what everyone else is doing. I love a good natural photo, but I also love to add my own touch. I’m very drawn to vintage/film style photos, but I guess I need to spend more time learning how to edit.

Step One would be to find your way between High key and Low key.

Kelly

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yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 13,361
Re: How did you find your style?
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You're very welcome. I am just quoting several excellent teachers I was lucky enough to learn from in my younger days.

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Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,686
Re: How did you find your style?
2

Birdstheword wrote:

Where I live (CA) there are a lot of photographers with the same warm, moody style. While I am drawn to it, I don’t want to just fall in line with what everyone else is doing.

Why not? Do what you love. One of my favorite styles of photography was inspired by a photographer named Scott Matyjaszek. A friend owned a several of his prints. He made a lot of junkyard photos that I loved, photos that concentrated on texture and color, and I began to emulate that style. Effectively, I started copying what he did -- but of course I had my own take, so my images had their own feel.

Scott has moved on to other subjects, but if you check out this gallery , you'll see some of those color and texture pics (cars and doors). (Be advised, some female nudity here. Don't look if you're scared of boobs.)

Now, if you go to my digital album on Flickr, you'll see photos of that same style. Maybe you'll think my pics are nothing like his; maybe you'll look at them and think I'm a copycat with no sense of originality. But they are pics I enjoy making, and everyone is individual, and that (to me) is what matters most.

Incidentally, I reached out to Scott a few months back and told him how much his work influenced me, and sent him a link to that same album of mine. He sent a lovely note back, and included a high-res JPG of a shot I hadn't seen, with permission to print for myself. How cool is that?

Anyway, that's a long-winded way of saying do what you like and don't worry about whether it looks to much like other people's work. You don't have to have your own style. Unless you're doing this for a living, you should enjoy making photographs. Do what is enjoyable!

I’m very drawn to vintage/film style photos, but I guess I need to spend more time learning how to edit.

Or just shoot film. A lot of us still do!

Aaron

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Birdstheword
OP Birdstheword New Member • Posts: 4
!

Autonerd wrote:

Birdstheword wrote:

Where I live (CA) there are a lot of photographers with the same warm, moody style. While I am drawn to it, I don’t want to just fall in line with what everyone else is doing.

Why not? Do what you love. One of my favorite styles of photography was inspired by a photographer named Scott Matyjaszek. A friend owned a several of his prints. He made a lot of junkyard photos that I loved, photos that concentrated on texture and color, and I began to emulate that style. Effectively, I started copying what he did -- but of course I had my own take, so my images had their own feel.

Scott has moved on to other subjects, but if you check out this gallery , you'll see some of those color and texture pics (cars and doors). (Be advised, some female nudity here. Don't look if you're scared of boobs.)

Now, if you go to my digital album on Flickr, you'll see photos of that same style. Maybe you'll think my pics are nothing like his; maybe you'll look at them and think I'm a copycat with no sense of originality. But they are pics I enjoy making, and everyone is individual, and that (to me) is what matters most.

Incidentally, I reached out to Scott a few months back and told him how much his work influenced me, and sent him a link to that same album of mine. He sent a lovely note back, and included a high-res JPG of a shot I hadn't seen, with permission to print for myself. How cool is that?

Anyway, that's a long-winded way of saying do what you like and don't worry about whether it looks to much like other people's work. You don't have to have your own style. Unless you're doing this for a living, you should enjoy making photographs. Do what is enjoyable!

I’m very drawn to vintage/film style photos, but I guess I need to spend more time learning how to edit.

Or just shoot film. A lot of us still do!

Aaron

Hi Aaron! Thank you for taking the time to respond. Scott’s stuff is great! Really awesome he sent you some unseen work as well! I definitely don’t think your style is similar to his, but maybe I just didn’t see enough of his stuff to compare.

photography is a big part of my job - but not in the same sense. I do social media management for dairy and ag businesses, so i have to photograph families, dairies, equipment, events, etc. While I do enjoy it, I’m still looking to do my own thing. Possibly for a career, but mostly for myself at this time. I have shot weddings with my husband who is a phenomenal photographer (and everyone reading this is probably wondering why I don’t just ask him - I do pick his brain a lot! It used to be a side job for him but now it’s just a hobby) and I did my first family session on my own in the fall. My kids have been my subjects for the last 5 years. I don’t know, I guess I’m just here to see what everyone has to say and so far it’s been really wonderful reading responses.

as far as film goes - that’s an entirely different world I’m not ready to dive into! Although we do have a working Leica camera sitting around!

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