WHAT IS YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLE?

Photographers develop a personal style over time, by following a path that begins with learning the technical skills required to use a camera, then developing an awareness of how an image capture system responds in different ways to light, and thirdly by sharpening their ability to identify things to photograph and foresee the finished result.

Good photography is not accidental. Good photography is created by a person with the ability to see the possibility of an outstanding image, and use the tools at their disposal to create that image; in exactly the same way that a sculptor might see the possibility of a sculpture in a piece of stone, and use the tools available (hammer and chisel), to create a final piece of artwork.

Photographic style can vary greatly from one photographer to another.

Style is how something is interpreted by the photographer in the way they create an image; whether through the use of the camera, lenses, filters, lighting, composition etc; or through techniques for processing the image after it has been taken.

Aspects of Style
Style is affected by the way in which the photographer:

  • Chooses what components to include, and what not to include in the image
  • Organises the components in the image (which can be affected by the angle from which they are photographed; the distance, what parts are in sharp focus and what are not, what components are lit more brightly than others, etc)
  • Uses colour
  • Uses Light
  • Captures or hints at movement (or lack of movement)
  • Implies or evokes emotions
  • Relates to the subject
  • Presents the work

How to become more creative, developing your imagination, broadening your thinking:

  • Ask yourself what you normally do then try to find a way to do it differently.


You can Create a Style by Emphasising or De emphasising things Differently

Every photographer will emphasise different considerations to the next in the way they approach their work. If you do this consciously and with reason, backed by technical skill, you will be able to create a consistent and valued style in the images you create.

Consider such things as the following; and what you might or might not choose to emphasise.

Unity

Unity is achieved by grouping, placing or arranging individual components in such a way that several appear to have a sense of oneness.  A desirable appearance needs to be achieved from all points of view.  A repetitive pattern can be used to create unity.  Water spreading through a landscape can be used to tie other components together creating a sense of unity. Unity can be achieved by using components of similar texture, forming or colour or by enclosing an area as a unit.

Balance

This refers to equilibrium either symmetrical or asymmetrical.  

Our eyes (usually) naturally seek to create symmetry within a frame. Visual tension is created when a picture is not balanced, and there are times a photographer may seek to create this. The distribution of light and dark tones within a frame, determine the visual weight of the photograph.  Subject placement also heavily impacts upon the image. 

While placing the subject in the middle of the frame may provide balance, it usually leads to static composition and discourages the viewer from looking around the image.

Whether balance is desirable in a frame or not, is dependant upon whether the photographer wants the image to communicate harmony or tension. 

Proportion

This refers to proper sizing or scaling of components in relation to each other and to the total image. A person standing next to two hundred foot trees are not in proportion if seen in a small courtyard, neither is a bonsai in proportion in the middle of a large expanse of lawn.
 
Harmony
This refers to the way different parts of the image fit together.  A photo with harmony has a relaxing affect on the person looking at it.

Images that have an unusual or steep slope or line can challenge harmony. A person in an extreme difficult angled pose may not be as harmonious as a person comfortably sitting on a chair. A harmonious image will have an instant pleasant effect on the viewer as opposed to one that is not. An un-harmonious picture may have an unsettling effect on the viewer but can create drama – if this is what you want.

Harmony is created in this photo by the contrasting colours - blue and yellow are opposite each other on the colour wheel.  Harmony is also created by the balancing effect of the blue sign on the right with the water on the left.  You may notice your eye bounced from the sign on the right to the boat in the centre (or whatever that other dark blue object is) and then up to the ocean.  

Had the photographer moved a fraction to the left, the lines created by the building roves would probably have been on more dynamic angles pointing towards the camera and you would have been able to see a fraction less blue water which would create a more balanced picture.

Contrast

Contrast grabs a person's attention, and it is useful in photos which are trying to get the person looking to sit up and notice something (e.g. in advertising).

Red and green are opposite each other on the colour wheel which is why the red (being a warm colour) jumps forward from the cool colours.

Rhythm

Rhythm is a conscious repetition of equal or similar components. It is usually created by repetition and transition.

The repetition of the diagonal lines of light in this photo creates rhythm.