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Individual style

Onyx

Member
I’m a member of a local camera club. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, I enjoy being a member and get a lot out of the meetings and events the club organises.

Last night we had our first (of a series of 6) club competition, for prints with an “open” theme ...... so anything goes! Each member can enter three images which are presented to the judge anonymously in random order. I entered a mono portrait of an elderly gentleman with a very “characterful” face, a landscape with a lot of trees and a picture of a woman and her horse taken at an agricultural show.

When the portrait came up, the chap next to me (quietly) asked me if it was mine. I said it was and asked how he knew to which he replied “Its your style”. He also correctly recognised the horse picture, but not the landscape because “you don’t normally do those”, which is true.

So it seems I’m developing a recognisable style in my images. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, as I just take pictures of how i see the world. So maybe you can help me out here.

Recognisable style ..... good thing or bad thing? And, as an auxiliary question, do you have one yourself ..... ?
 

Snips

Always on
I see nothing wrong with a style. Many forum members have a style and it’s not difficult in the monthly competitions, for example, to pick out about five photographs knowing exactly who took them, usually from the subject matter but, to me, more from the editing of the photograph.

If I were to produce a boudoir shot (something I doubt will ever happen!) I reckon the moderators would be looking into the copyright of the photograph. If I were to enter an equine competition photograph most forum members would probably think it was me that took it as that’s what I photograph week in, week out.

A few of us edit landscape shots in quite similar ways. I’m thinking of myself, Paul, Barry and Ed but I like to think I could tell the difference between Paul’s and Barry’s.

On the other hand there are three members I can think of who have their own, nearly unique, editing styles. I’m thinking of Scott, delicate and non contrasty if I can put it that way and using wet weather, Steve who uses blacks quite vigorously and heavy contrast for really strong colours and full sun (we don’t see too many of those from him :)), and Barry who loves to brIng the pastel colours to the fore with seascapes and tends only to photograph sunrises and the occasional sunset, when he doesn’t drop his camera in the water.

For me, I tend to warm my photographs purely because that is what I like. It’s not right, nor is it wrong (in my opinion) - it’s what I do for many images.
 

Ozzie_Traveller

Old Hand
Premium Member
G'day Onyx

I agree with Snips too - and by developing / creating your own 'style' shows many things ... your image quality - your visual nuances / likes / dislikes - your creative editing options and so it goes on

Many of my mates recognise my stuff coz I like panos - so when an interesting pano comes up at my camera club, people immediately say "oh that's one of Phil's". Maybe your skills have developed to the stage when you are now looked up to for ideas and quality images

Phil
 

mkdonald

New Member
I would take that as a compliment. It means you have a voice, you have something to say for yourself, and your take on the world has a distinct perspective.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Onyx

Member
I would take that as a compliment. It means you have a voice, you have something to say for yourself, and your take on the world has a distinct perspective.
Thank you. That’s interesting. I never thought of it like that. I took it more to mean I’m getting a bit predictable and need to vary my work a bit more, but maybe not.

I do tend to have a preference for quite contrasty shots with strong blacks, I love monos and I tend to get up close to my subjects and have them filling the frame - just my way of producing a picture I like - so maybe I should stick with it, keep doing my own thing and not berate myself for being too predictable. :)
 

kayak

Always on
My main subject is wildlife, although it does involve a lot a travelling which I can't be doing all of the time. I'm now getting into macro photography which can be done nearer to home whenever I feel like it. Club competitions push me towards other subjects which are sometimes fun, although I don't tend to do very well with landscape and street photography as they're not my main interest.
 

SeanNeedham

Ol' Sparky
Honorary Life Member
Recognisable style(s), a good thing... Yes.

Chasing around trying to create a "style", not so. Just working to what feels right to you, instead of going all out trying to be distinct will create a fingerprint that is (or should be) recognisable as your own; it's quite easy to get bogged down trying to create a "look" instead of actually going to try and get an image.

Also, on that, if approaching different genres, don't think "This is my 'style' for X, let's apply it to Y" as again may not work; if you flip between different areas, start with a blank canvas and work to what feels right for that type of thing.
 

mkdonald

New Member
Recognisable style(s), a good thing... Yes.

Chasing around trying to create a "style", not so. Just working to what feels right to you, instead of going all out trying to be distinct will create a fingerprint that is (or should be) recognisable as your own; it's quite easy to get bogged down trying to create a "look" instead of actually going to try and get an image.

Also, on that, if approaching different genres, don't think "This is my 'style' for X, let's apply it to Y" as again may not work; if you flip between different areas, start with a blank canvas and work to what feels right for that type of thing.

I completely agree, Sean, well said. I have students come to see me who are stressed about not having a 'voice' and end up imitating photographers they admire. I always say, lean towards what your excited by, that's where you'll find your voice and your best work.
 
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