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gallery art hanging on a wall

HOW TO FIND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLE

Finding your style, starts with knowing your taste.

Grace Costa

But what does that mean? Well, knowing what you like and dislike. What suits you and doesn’t suit you. What you will and won’t buy. By collecting all these ideas, you will be able to start piecing together an overall picture of your personal style, which leads to your photographic style. 

I base my own style as a photographer on these things:

  • I enjoy the work of old great film photographers, think Cartier Bresson, Elliot Erwitt & Mary Ellen Mark
  • I love reportage photography
  • I’m not attracted to the heavy use of filters on photographs 
  • I’m not attracted to the vintage-filtered look on photos
  • I’m not attracted to ultra-contemporary photography, (think snap shots of random things)
  • I like to shoot with really shallow depth of field wherever I can because I love that look
  • I prefer working with zoom lenses to fixed prime lenses.
  • I’m heavily influenced by magazines so my work can at times reflect that
Rodeo cowboy on bucking horse at a night time rodeo

When I think about the aesthetics of my photos, they are usually clean natural colours “as shot” in camera but with enhanced contrast. I want my photos to look as good today as they do in 5 years time so I don’t add any trending filters to them. I like straight and symmetrical lines, so I never shoot at an angle where a vertical wall or line won’t be straight. This really annoys me.

Evie at a campsite by Grace Costa

If you were to ask any of my close friends how to describe my style they would use words like classic, timeless, and stylish.

If I was to show you some of my Pinterest boards you would notice the style throughout is quite consistent of the types of images I collect.

The below questions might be useful starting points for you on this journey to discovering your style.

  1. Are you drawn towards the dark moody style of photography or art in general?
  2. Do you prefer a natural look or strong filters or vignettes on photos?
  3. Are you drawn to clean white light, lots of space in photos and a modern look?
  4. Does a particular era such as the 70’s including its colour palette, style of clothing and the interiors really appeal to you?
  5. What colour palette do you like? Do you find these colours in your wardrobe as well? 

Think also about your influences and the inspiration around you. An example is my mate Mark Mohell always creates personal projects around the environment and nature because he is passionate about that topic. So he dedicates his style and his work to ideas around that theme.

Also, your style will evolve over time, it can chop and change from year to year. It took me many years to realise what my style is but that’s probably because it took me a while to learn how to actually discover it in the first place with these questions I’ve previously mentioned. I found that this included starting to understand what wasn’t to my taste. Sometimes knowing what you don’t like is as helpful in discovering your style as a photographer as what you do like. 

I hope this post gets you thinking and noticing what you gravitate toward visually. If you want to ask further questions on finding your photographic style, send me an email or DM over on instagram @gracecostaphotographer