One of the most important parts of wedding photography is discovering and maintaining your unique style. Often times, it can be challenging to know exactly what your style is or who you are as a photographer. Without an idea of how to find your style, how can you maintain consistency and share your unique style with ideal clients?
In our Online Training: How to Find Your Unique Wedding Photography Style, Jared Platt shared the concept of how to get to a style and how to maintain that style without compromising efficiency, standards, and quality. Here are the top 5 tips from the training.
1. Understand What Style Is
To understand what style is, and create one that lasts, dig deep to the core of who you are as a photographer. You might think your style has do with just your logo or website, but that is not the case. The reason for this is because logos change, but the style of photographs should not change much throughout your career. Your style is actually who you are as a photographer, and what you believe in photographically.
Take a look at the way you decorate your walls in your studio, or how you design and present an album, or the way you present yourself when you hand out a business card. Even the way your desktop is set up reflects your style.
2. Know What Affects Style
Because your style is made of who you are, there are many areas of your life which affect it. These include your personality and your space, which is who you are and how you choose to surround yourself. It also includes your mental filters, which is how you see the world (cup half full or half empty). Other things which affect your style are your choices in books and music, as well as your images and designs.
Try to avoid the influence of popular culture. If you create a style because you saw another wedding photographer’s, it will not be as authentic as one that fits you. Instead of looking at other wedding photographers, find inspiration in other photography genres.
“The people who hire me as a wedding photographer hire me not just because of my photographic style, they hire me because of the style of my personality. My style and personality match, so they know they’re getting a genuine style.” – Jared Platt
3. Showcase the Attitude and Energy
When you think about attitude and energy, think about what is presented in your photographs. What do you look for when you are shooting an engagement shoot or wedding day? Perhaps you look for funny or quirky moments, or maybe you search for sentimental and serious moments. Your mentality will also change the way your style with look in photographs; so if you have a fun or quirky personality, or a serious one, your style will reflect that.
Something else that appears in your images is whether you search for ways to create energy in the photos you take. You may think you need to create energy through movement in each image, but it can be created through the way things interact with the frame, and how you crop things in the frame.
Tip: Take on personal projects. If you like to photograph landscapes or architecture, or you like to capture people’s emotions, this tells you a lot about your photography style.
4. Create a Consistent Style
When a client hired you for their wedding, they booked you knowing their images would look like the ones on your website. This means your images need to be consistent and stay in the same style, as well as the products you deliver to them, and their overall experience with you.
Another place your clients need to have trust in you is in post processing. A photo editing company can provide you with consistent color corrections, and allows you to quickly add your unique style with Lightroom presets (which should also be consistent for every wedding you shoot). This saves you time overall, and ensures your clients will receive what they are expecting.
Tip: Become an expert curator to showcase your consistent style. Look at your website and blog today, and take 50% of images off of each. Once you do this, you will be seen as a better photographer and your clients will more easily understand your photography style.
5. Take Time for Practice
During the online training, Jared mentioned a few action items for you to do today to begin to define your style.
- Photograph sculptures. This helps you test lighting, vantage point, and depth of field. This is a great way to identify your style and who you are, because you have the chance to photograph something that isn’t moving.
- Shoot landscapes or street photography. Avoid using a zoom lens; rather, use a 50mm, 85mm, or 35mm. This forces you to move around and really see what you are shooting. It helps you identify who you are as a photographer based on what you see.
- Draw different shapes on paper. Have someone else draw the shapes for you and find them as you shoot. This helps you see shapes in any location, and will help train your eyes to see those shapes every time you shoot.
- Focus on a skill. Every time you shoot, focus on a specific skill you are lacking. You will start to understand where you can improve and what you enjoy as a photographer.
Take the time to practice your skills and use the tips Jared provided here and in the online training to define a style of your own. How can you easily add your style to your wedding images? Download The Wedding Photographer’s Guide to Presets to discover quick ways to use presets in Lightroom to apply your style.