Discovering your style in photography is a constant process:
1. Keep reviewing your older photos
First of all, realize that your style as a photographer is constantly in a state of flux. Your style is constantly changing; you don’t need to achieve a “final” style.
Thus my practical strategy is this:
Keep looking back at your old photos, and categorize aesthetically-consistent photos into certain buckets/sets.
Generally speaking, I most prefer the style of my monochrome images with high contrast, ‘crushing the blacks‘. I then simply create new folders with images with aesthetically-consistent images:
2. How to create a consistent aesthetic style
As a general tip, stick with one camera and one lens, and one film or processing style for set periods of time.
A general tip is to stay consistent with your gear and processing style for at least 1 year. I feel this period of time is a good opportunity for you to get to know your equipment very well, and also make your photos look consistently the same– at least for a certain project or theme.
3. Pursue certain themes which fascinate and interest you
I am Korean-American, and the notion of AMERICA has always fascinated me.
I have my own vision of America, and I am attempting to uncover my feelings and critique about America through my ONLY IN AMERICA project.
If you pursue a theme which fascinates or interests you, you will never run out of motivation to shoot it. Why? You are being self-motivated; you are pursuing your own personal curiosity, using the camera as a tool of your personal curiosity.
Only shoot what interests you.
4. Photograph your loved one
Who is your soul-mate? Photograph them!
In my #cindyproject, I photograph Cindy continually. Why? I love her with all of my heart and soul, and I don’t consider any other woman more beautiful than her.
If you have a soulmate in your life, keep photographing them.
By photographing your loved ones, you will imprint your soul in the photos you make of them.
5. Style is overrated
Honestly at the end of the day, I think style is overrated.
Why? If we are too focused on creating a distinct style, we often lose the passion for making photos for the sake of it!
Never lose your child-like enthusiasm for photography. The objective we have is this:
Never stop shooting, preferably until age 120.
Technology continues its relentless march forward. We are living in a brave new world of photography in which there are constantly new technologies evolving and changing our shooting processes (computational photography, AI (artificial intelligence), and new ways to share/publish our photos.
Shoot for yourself; make photos that you like to look at, and seek to master photography for yourself.
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