How does someone determine their style as an artist? Especially someone whose main career background is in technical documentation and not in anything resembling a creative outlet.
When I picked up my camera for the first time in 2014, I literally had no idea that it would lead to using that part of my creative brain for my full time career in 2020. At one point I had labeled myself as a left-brain thinker. Meaning, I was logical and analytical so there would be no room to be a creative artist.
Have you ever heard of the Left Brain vs. Right Brain Theory? The theory goes that if you are more of an analytical, logical thinker, good with mathematics and engineering, then your dominant side of the brain is the left side. If you are more creative and artsy, imaginative, and in to the arts, then your more dominant side of the brain is the right side.
All of that being said, these last four years have been a creative journey for me in finding my style as a photographer and artist. I learned early on in my journey that I absolutely love landscape photography, being out in nature and spending time traveling the world capturing memories with my family. I also am extremely fond of picking up my camera and a macro lens and photograph on the macro level of flowers and items of interest to me.
As far as determining the style and genre of photography I love to capture for my business opportunities, well it all boils down to, what do I love to photograph? What sparks creative juices? What brings me joy? It took me a while, but I have finally determined I love photographing events. I love helping small businesses promote their business. If I can take my camera to a non-profit fundraising event and create photographs that tell a story about the cause they are promoting, it gives me a purpose. I have learned that wedding photography stresses me out and is not in my wheelhouse, and that is okay!
How does all of this fit in to finding my style? I am so glad you asked 🙂 Here are a few things I used over the years to determine my style as an artist and a business owner.
Practical steps for finding your style
- Determine what genre of photography you want to focus on.
- Try many genres to weed out the ones you don’t enjoy. Do you want to photograph weddings, seniors, families, product, food, etc? How do you know if you don’t try it?
- Join a local community to seek out opportunities in photographing different subjects.
- Attend workshops or camera clubs. The more you do this, the more practice you get. My favorite local group (located in Pittsburgh, PA) is the Flourish Academy.
- Find inspiration but avoid the comparison trap. You can be inspired by other photographers without comparing yourself to them.
- If you have to compare, then only compare to yourself. Ask yourself, “are you better today than you were yesterday?”
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- Don’t let anyone else tell you what they “think” you should do. Just like believing the left brain vs right brain theory, I lost some precious time trying to fit in to a mold rather than trusting my instincts.
- Practice! Practice! Practice!
- Last, but not least, HAVE FUN! You are creating a life that you love and when you are working in your passion, others can see it and be inspired to follow their dreams as well.
Do you have a project, event or small business you would like to promote? Contact me and we can chat about solutions to help you get your message out there to your customers.
This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Style Tips,” check out Jessica Wasik with Bark & Gold Photography, celebrating the joy and love between Pittsburgh pets and their people. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.
These are such good tips, especially for new photographers. It can feel so overwhelming to even narrow down editing style so I think these can also apply to more seasoned photographers looking to push themselves.