Your Personal Style of Photography
What makes an artist become a great artist, a painter become a great painter or a sculptor be acclaimed for his work is the same thing that makes a photographer be renown for his images.
All great artists regardless of the medium that they have chosen to represent their work have one main thing in common, they are all known and recognized by their own particular style of doing things; their vision and how they translate this vision into their work.
Just like any painter that possesses some talent can make a painting of some trees and flowers that in the end look good, any photographer that has the basic understanding of his equipment can take good photos. What distinguishes the great from the mundane in every art form is how the work is perceived by audiences.
Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004) was a fashion photographer who was well known for the ways in which he portrayed models, instead of posing models in stiff poses with little or no emotion, he photographed them moving, showing emotions, smiling and so on. This is one of the main reasons why his works is still the standard in fashion photography.
Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was another famous American photographer who specialized in nature landscapes, especially of Yellowstone National Park. He shot almost exclusively in black and white and his work is renown for the dept and clarity that were present in his photographs.
Andrew Warhola, Jr. (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987), known as Andy Warhol,was a famous American painter known for his whimsical and eye catching colorful paintings of the most mundane of subjects such as a Campbell's soup can and a Coca Cola bottle top.
"Anne Geddes, MNZM, (b. September 13, 1956) is an Australian-born photographer, clothing designer and businesswoman who now lives and works in New Zealand."wikipedia. This contemporary photographer is world renown for her photographs of babies, usually composed with seemingly surreal props, like a newborn inside a cabbage, flower pots or as waterlilies. Her work is unmistakable and she has gained fame for it.
"Frederic Sackrider Remington (October 4, 1861 – December 26, 1909) was an American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer who specialized in depictions of the Old American West," wikipedia. His style was aimed at naturalistic depictions, and sometimes impressionistic in its scope and depictions. He was well known later in life for his very realistic sculptures representing scenes from the American West. Of special note was his rendering of horses in motion, which were for the time, the most realism ever presented in sculptured bronze.
These art greats had and have their own particular style and became known for it. This is what every photographer should ideally strive for. It does not mean that one should become a specialist in one single technique, one single style or one genre, although in photography a specialization is a trait sought after by most major photography buyers. It means that whatever style one decides to pursue be it one or many, each image is done in a way that reflects a personal style; "your touch" is present in the images.
I shoot almost anything, and I tend to focus on colorful elements, with nature photography being my area of expertise alongside abstracts, but time after time I find myself recording close ups of my subjects, up to the point that I do it without thinking. I see a subject that is of interest to me, and I know that it has probably been photographed many times such as photos of an elephant taken at a nature reserve park . I have seen hundreds of elephant photos, my style is to capture the ridges and facial features of the specimen, sorts of its character, and this is what at this time has become my "personal" artistic touch or style.
Developing a personal style may be though as something easily done, but from experience, and that of contemporary photographers, it takes time to develop and to come to the realization about what it is that draws you to a particular way of doing things, a style and it also takes time to perfect a personal technique.
This is very true in photography where almost everything has at one point or another been recorded and covered through photos in almost every imaginable way and format.
The axiom "once you see a photo of a sunset you have seen them all", holds some veracity, but then and now you come upon an example which literary takes your breath away, probably not due to the subject itself but because how the image of that subject was composed.
Those are the kind of images that not only will be well received by an audience but will also tend to do very well in today's highly competitive photography market.
Read about, research and look at many samples of the various genres that exist in photography, all formats and all styles and see what it is about them that attracts you to one technique, one style, one way of doing things. Once you have an understanding of what appeals to you, go out and work on developing it to the point that it becomes second nature to you.
Before long you may find yourself repeating images with the same artistic effect time after time without even thinking about what you're doing. At that point you can take a pause and say to yourself "I've got it."
- Masters of Photography
Links to many of the masters of photography spanning almost a century of innovation and truly breathtaking works of art.