Recently, I got a question from a colleague about how to achieve a fine art look of photography style. This made me think about this because I completely understand how overwhelming finding your way can be and that many times you can feel completely lost. Trust me, you’re not the only one! There are so many artists out there thinking about putting their soul into their work, just as I was. Finding your style and staying consistent is something so many of us photographers struggle with. For some, it comes quickly, and for the rest of us, it can be somewhat of a slower process or evolution. And that’s why I decided to share with you a bit about how I came to find my own style and some tips to help with consistency.
I believe finding your style is a bit like finding yourself in the world of art. These days and with social media, you can find beautiful images almost everywhere. We can be so inspired to the point where we can become so distracted we lose ourselves. What works for one photographer, may not work for you because it is not YOU. There is no list of steps how to achieve the work you want. And it also can’t be. Mother nature gave each of us the very special ability to be unique. To be the only ONE in this world and sometimes we ignore that instead of using that. Finding these signs of your beautiful personality can get hard and no one can tell you what you should do to achieve the perfect result, you just have to get the camera, go outside and shoot your heart out.
I think the most important part of finding your style and staying consistent – is finding your passion. Once you find what you are most passionate about photographing, I truly believe your heart will shine through in every image you take. Because it came from your heart.
“Turning your passion into your job is easier than finding a job that matches your passion.”
– Seth Godin
So how do you find your passion or unique style? After some time of shooting families, babies and weddings, when I was going through a sort of “who am I?” phase, I got some great advice from a photographer friend of mine and she told me to create a Pinterest mood board and collect all the inspiring images and words that I love. Did they have anything in common? What stood out to me about those images? When I really sat down and picked apart my own work, I realized it was those small, tender moments of celebrations filled with love and joy that I loved and that really moved me. I was also feeling burnt out at this time so to get through this hump, I decided to do some free projects with couples to find out If this is the right way that I am made for. It was about this exact time I started freelancing and truly found my calling in this photography world. My style was always there, but it took me years to truly develop and let my passion shine through.
Once I made this discovery about what I was truly passionate about, everything kind of came together. I wasn’t letting what I was seeing all over social media dictate the kind of photographs I took. I was shooting from the heart. I was shooting what I would want to remember as a bride myself. And I was shooting for feeling.
I consider myself a light and airy photographer. I love and get inspired by the beautiful light and seek it out in every location I find myself shooting in. Shooting with light in a particular way helps keep my work looking consistent. Light is so important in creating your style.
Gear is not necessarily the most important thing to consider when finding your style, but I believe it does make a difference in keeping a consistent style. I shoot both film and digital, but I shoot primarily with 50mm or 85mm, both indoors and out. That is just the length I prefer and am the most comfortable shooting with.
Gear I use:
Nikon D750 camera body
Nikon F100 camera body
Sigma lens 50mm 1.4
Nikkor lens 85mm 1.8
Sigma Lens 35mm 1.4
Portra 400 film rolls (working with Carmencita film lab)
The photo is made in camera and not in post-production. Find the best angle, find the amazing spot, choose the right tones and create a perfect shot. You have to learn to create a perfect photo first and highlight its beauty with some tweaks in Lightroom to make it final. And according to all I said, I feel like so many of us struggle with editing and go through editing crises all of the time. By jumping from preset to preset, our work will not be consistent. I can’t even tell you how many presets I bought before I found a set that looked like “me.” And once I found those, I stuck with it. By sticking with one preset, my work will remain consistent.