There have been some incredible photographers throughout the years and a great many of us have admired their work, technique, compositions, lighting, etc. Besides their photography there are more than enough articles to read and digest about how to do almost anything in photography. All of this is great to learn from and I am a strong advocate of constantly increasing one’s knowledge levels. But that is where it should end because it is now for you to tell us who you are and what your look and style is that separates you from all of those educational sources.
Quite a few years ago I met a wonderful lady who was sort of just getting started in photography. She had a passion to learn and learn she did. But she also had desire to separate herself from the pack and create her look, her style and her signature. By signature I mean I could look at a bunch of photographs and immediately pull her work out of the batch. She had created her own signature. I used to joke with her about her approach to her images as being color creative as well as abstract. And the more I joked the more I happily watched her develop her technique. Her specialty was and still is flowers, yet she has diversified some what and she is doing excellent work within that diversification.
So let’s everyone and anyone have at it. Begin to think about your photography as your own and not something that you are trying recreate as opposed to creating. It requires some time. It requires dedicating yourself to shooting for at least an hour a day, every day. Shoot the things you like, create little projects for yourself. Experiment with black and white, color, fiddle with composition, and work with as little gear as possible so you have the time to concentrate on what you are shooting as opposed to what you are shooting it with.
Don’t shoot the mountains because Ansel Adams did. Unless of course you have a unique way of seeing and creating a great landscape. Work on your street photography, not a famous street photographer’s work. The lesson there is F8 and be there and the rest is up to you.
Work on architecture and learn how to apply tones in a way you want to see them. Make black and white one of your signature moments. Of course architecture can also be great in color but nothing beats black and white for tones and detail. Study angles, crevices, play with shadows. Have a ball.
Develop a style, your style. Develop a look, your look. And have your signature which combination of all the factors that put an image together the way you see it and the way you feel it and perceived it, which will become your signature.
In addition for this re-post I cannot stress enough the importance of a final print. Nothing speaks more to your talent and your style than a print hanging on a wall. Either do it your self or send a file off to a good printing service. Be proud of your work and hang it.
Most of all love what you are doing, don’t take yourself to seriously and always remember it is not your gear that makes an image special, it is your signature.