Three Photo Projects to Define Your Photo Style

by Valerie Johnston | January 31, 2013

Many people have a little trouble understanding photographic style. However, the style of digital photography can have a big impact on how the images are viewed. Ten different people can take a photo of the same subject and create ten totally different images. We all have a photographic style, and learning what yours is will help you develop your skills to a much higher level. If you fight against your photographic style, you are most likely going to create images that seem disjointed. When you learn your style and go with it, you can create more cohesive images that are sure to get more attention.

Ansel Adams, who is considered to be one of the great photographic geniuses, once said "Every man’s work is always a portrait of himself." In saying that, Adams meant that we all reflect ourselves and our personalities in our digital photography. How do you know what your photographic style is? Here are three simple projects. Finish these and you will be able to determine your own photographic style.

Take a Photo Walk

This sounds a little boring, but it is extremely helpful. For your first project, simply take a walk and photograph what you see. It is simple as that. Then, answer the following questions.

  • What did you focus on or what jumped out at you?
  • How did you frame your subjects? Up close or with a lot of space around them?
  • Was the whole image in focus?
  • Did you incorporate any shadows in the images?
  • Did you shoot from the down low, or at some other angle?
  • Did you add any other elements to the image?

By simply taking a walk around your neighborhood or twon, you can start separating your style. The important key is to ask yourself why you did what you did and if you like how they came out. You can always build on that. Remember, no one is stuck in one style. Tastes and skills change that can allow for growth. This is just an exercise to get a handle on where your tastes are at.

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Photograph a Landscape

In this project, your subject matter will play a key role in your photographic style. The project parameters do not specify any type of landscape or subject. This is completely up to you. Go outside and take a picture.

Your personal photographic style cannot be totally defined with words like "traditional" or "creative" and this project will help you learn that. This project will help you understand what you prefer in images. Ask yourself about your outdoor digital photography, the following questions:

  • Did you focus on one subject or take a sweeping panoramic?
  • Did you use settings to control light and shadows?
  • Did you change the depth of field to create a blurred effect?
  • Did you line up the shot straight or did you take it at an angle?

Your style is going to start coming through as your ask yourself these questions.

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Take a Picture of Your Favorite Subject

This can truly be anything. Whether you choose an object, a person, a place, an animal, or anything, this is the final test of your style in digital photography. Do not put any restrictions on this. Now, take a moment and think about what you photographed. The subject you chose has a great deal to do with your style and personality. Some people simply tend to gravitate toward landscapes or subject photography.

Remember that photographic style does not have to do with the subject of your photograph or your digital photography skill level. Instead, this speaks of your personality and the creative level that you tend to use in your photography. The more you understand your style, the more you can work with it to create even more interesting, beautiful, and breathtaking images.

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"How to Establish Personal Photographic Style", http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/aesthetics9.shtml

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