It's one of the hardest things we face as a photographer.
Whether you are a hobbyist or someone doing it professionally, it's all the same. With so many trends and other people telling us we should be shooting a certain way, it can be pretty hard to trust yourself. Even more so if clients continue to move towards the "trendy" photographers... you know who I'm talking about haha "Autumn tones" using less contrast and only shooting at sunset golden hour
Autumn tones and less contrast isn't for everyone. At the end of it all, you need to find something that makes your heart sing.
That makes you feel something.
Makes you feel emotionally attached to that captured moment or the image itself.
So I'm guna talk about how I got into photography and how I got to where I am today, to help you see my own journey.
I started taking pictures back when I was a teenager.
Now that I write that, that makes me sound really old. But anyway, I always had a camera on hand... not much has changed.
I took pictures mostly of plants, flowers and landscapes. Shooting people or anything like that scared the crap out of me. I avoided it like the plague. As I got older, more experienced and more knowledgeable, I found myself always picking at my work. I felt like the perfect landscape was completely unachievable for me. Of course, it got even worse when I decided to try to earn some money from my camera. I played the comparison game HARD.
I always had something in my head that I could just NEVER accomplish. It's only been in the last year that I've actually been creating images I've had in my head for about 11 years. And that was all Camera Gear based... I had to invest in the right gear to achieve my style. Unfortunately an expensive way to perfect your style, but a necessary investment nonetheless.
First part of finding your style - fill your cup with the basics.
LEARN TO SHOOT IN MANUAL MODE!
Shooting in manual mode gives you more opportunities to explore and create. This is also where you'll find whether or not you like underexposing, motion blur with slower shutter speeds, or a greater depth of field.
You need to learn your camera... who knows, you may like the mistakes more than the intentional "good" shots.
Try new things and never say no to different opportunities to learn and shoot.
Astro is something really new for me... an exciting challenge that has helped me gain more insight into my camera and different ways of achieving things with it. Astro has taught me my low light capabilities.
Once you've got a pretty good standing of the basics and how your camera works, you can do this.
BREAK THE RULES.
If someone tells you that what you're producing isn't what an ideal photograph should. Tell them to fuck themselves. You need to create something that is an extension of your personality. Not just something that fits in with trends and every other "professional" photographer.
Look at different angles for the same scenario. Different lighting. A favourite trick of mine is to walk from one side of the room to the other when shooting inside. I love natural light though, so my heart sings for shadows. The soft shadows you can only get with natural light.
You don't always have to compose images "the right way" using the rule of thirds or the spiral technique. You can do things even slightly differently and they could turn out far superior to a perfectly portioned thirds image. My boudoir almost always does not follow the portion rules haha
The third thing you need to find out... is what best describes what you dream of capturing?
Do you like a documentary type of image? Or something a bit more creative? Something abstract or minimalistic that makes people think?
Sit down and go through your Instagram or other socials. Look at who you're following. Scroll through a few of your favourite accounts and ask yourself... WHY? These accounts and people resonate with you and your interests. They are people and art that inspire you.
What is it you love about these images? Is there something about them that you wish you could capture too?
Then go through the list of people and accounts that THEY follow. This will lead you onto more art and more images that inspire you. Follow them. Keep in mind the art that you find most appealing... even create a mood board if that's something you're into!
I like to look at these accounts and then look at my work. I ask myself, how can I change my images in a technical view to take on some of their aesthetic? Now, I'm not saying to copy. What I want you to do is take 5 different accounts, look at your work, and see what you can change and HOW to get into the same type of photography as them.
Do you need a shallower or deeper depth of field? Do you need to slow your shutter speed right down to get that motion blur? Or do you just want to investigate colour grading or black and white editing a bit more?
Play around with their methods and apply them in different situations. You'll learn a lot, while finding out what you like in your own work.
I hope all of this has been helpful. It's a long road of self discovery with lots of curveballs...
If you'd like to gain new perspectives and open your horizons... I do host workshops!
I prefer doing one on one sessions as it gives me time to dedicate myself to teaching that person. Groups are welcome to book and can create a really cool bubbly atmosphere though :)
I'll post a link below with more info you can check out ;)