What is your style?
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” – Aaron Siskind
We all have our own style, from the clothes we wear to how we decorate our homes. As individuals, we are all unique, which is a good thing. Imagine we were all the same- we spoke the same, looked the same and functioned the same, how monotonous our lives would be?
Photography should be no different. If every photographer had the same vision and used the same technique, we would page through a magazine and see the same scene or subject time and time again. What would that image mean to us? Probably nothing much.
The only rule in photography, is that there are no rules. So where do you even begin to discover yourself and your own photographic style?
I started my photographic journey about 8 years ago. I still remember purchasing my very first camera. I was so excited to be able to afford my first camera and set of lenses. I saved up some money, did my research on the various equipment (which I thought I knew very well), and began my photographic journey.
Arriving home, I began to open all the different boxes, full of excitement and anticipation (similar to that of a child on Christmas morning).
After charging the batteries and connecting my new lens to my camera body, I thought I would put it to the test and see what my GEAR could do This is when I realised that my earlier thought ‘’how hard can photography be?’’ changed to that of, “wow, I know absolutely nothing about photography and this massive investment I had just made”. Owning the gear is one thing, having the knowledge of how it works, is a whole different story…
I decided to take out the manual in an attempt to understand this foreign contraption I held in my hands.
The more I read, and the more research I did, the more I wanted to learn. Photography is very complex and I will admit that I had some moments where I became overwhelmed. With so much information where does one even begin?
Trying to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible, was not working. I made the conscious decision to start small by learning the basics one step at a time. What is ISO? What is Aperture? What is shutter speed? Slowly but surely, understanding one element at a time and seeing how one affects the other. Then taking my knowledge into more practical situations, my confidence and ability started to increase and my passion for photography took flight.
There are so many different ways to get all the information needed to learn about photography. For myself, the biggest help was working amongst some incredibly talented photographers. I am a very practical person, so in order to understand something I physically need to do it and see the results.
Equip yourself with the tools
The wonderful thing about taking images, is that no two images are the same. When it comes to wildlife, every situation is different. Out in the field, the ability to translate the conditions and elements at that specific moment into the camera is crucial. How do you do this? The only way is to play around with your equipment, understand your camera and, it’s settings and capabilities.
I have spent many hours taking images of random things and practicing new techniques to understand how various conditions effect my overall image. Sometimes it is just sitting in the garden photographing my pets or dappled light on the wall. It is a relaxed environment where I am under no pressure, and can familiarize myself with camera in hand, and understand why or when I need to make adjustments.
Analysing other photographers work also helps to develop your photographic skill. I’m not suggesting that you should try to recreate an image, but looking at an image and understanding what that photographer did to create a specific result is really stimulating.
It allows you to pick up details from the image such as what draws you to the image and what may you have done differently. Subconsciously, looking at other images you are already developing your own style.
After taking a couple of images I will take some time to look over them. Am I happy with what I have captured and, if not, not what could I have changed? It is important to never simply dispose of an image you not happy with. Rather use it to learn. You never know when you will be faced with a similar situation and, if you had just deleted the image, you may find yourself in the same predicament next time you critique your work.
Take images for yourself
Never compare your images to someone else’s. Take an image the way you like and, if you enjoy it, then that’s all that counts. Never be absorbed into comparing images with others. We are all different and, we all have a different eye for photography. That is why photography is so great.
Most importantly photography is meant to be fun and enjoyable. So pick up your camera, go outside and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Would you like to learn more?
For more information and to sign up for our digital photography course – click here.
Perhaps you would be interested in in joining us on our #WidlifePhotographyEssentialsWorkshop? To view available dates and more details – click here.