What is Your Photography Style?
So, gather your 10 favorite images and really study them. Lay them all out in a grid in front of you and ask yourself what do these images have in common? And be as detailed as you can as you answer that question. How would you describe those to somebody else if you were describing them to someone who couldn't see the images, what would you say about them? Are they bold? Are they soft? Are they subtle? Are they vibrant? What's the subject matter? What are the colors like? Are they black and white? What do they have in common? Look at them as a body of work. Okay? And then, the really important question is, who would appreciate this type of work? That's the ultimate question because as you think about your audience and your consumer, they're the end result, you have to always have them in mind as you're thinking about these things. Let's do this. Here is a group of images. And at first glance, they're all very different, right? They are different sports, they're different settings, some...
are dark, some are bright. Is there something that these images have in common? When you think about this, I just heard someone say adventure. When you look at this, it's obvious, right? There's a theme here in these images. Skateboarding, ice climbing, biking, camping, snorkeling, skiing, there's a common theme in all of these images. What else is common in these images? Is there anything else that resonates?
They're all outdoors.
They're all outdoors, there's not a single studio image in the bunch, so we've got adventure, we've got outdoors. What else are you seeing in the images?
There's dramatic colors, they're very bold, bright.
They're bold and vibrant, they're bright. There is a consistent feel to all of the images. Is there anything else that you see along these images?
They're all humans interacting.
There are people in all of the images interacting. Even the one where you don't see anybody, there's the implied person in the shot inside the tent. Absolutely. Okay, so as I'm thinking about this group of images, there's some words that I can use to describe these. Outdoors, adventure, vibrant and bold, people. These are my words for my business. When I communicate with my clients, that should be obvious in everything that I do and say with them. Okay? As I'm thinking about my style and my body of work here, the next question is, who's going to appreciate this work? Is it going to be the person walking down 5th avenue that carries a dog in their shoulder bag? (audience laughing) Probably not my target client, right? They would have plenty of money to spend on my images, but they're not going to appreciate them, right? The person that shops at the Patagonia store and buys $150 jacket every season, that's my client, right? The person that's out hiking every single weekend. The person that goes traveling to wild and remote places. That's my client. They're going to appreciate my work. It's not the person that has the money, it's the person that does these types of things and has expendable money to invest in photography. Those are my clients, okay? As you're thinking about style, and what your style is and who your client might be, these are really important questions to ask. Let's look at another group of images and let's talk about these images a little bit and be sure to grab the mic if you have an idea. What do you see in this group of images? It's a totally different group.
Relationships. There is interaction in every one of these images of the subject matter. Okay, so relationships is a good descriptor for this group of images. What else are you seeing as you look at all of these images? Is there anything else consistent?
Ah, authenticity. So, as you're looking at these, there's not a lot of staring at the camera. These people are authentically interacting in an environment, great, great. What else are you seeing in these images? Are there other words that describe this body of work? We've got relationship and authenticity.
Dramatic lighting, the bold and dramatic. This is also our client. But if I showed this group of images to the same people that appreciated the other group of images, are they the same? That's the question that you have to ask yourself. This group of images are also all outdoors. No studio images. This group of images also shows people in dramatic and daring environments. It has a feel of adventure even though it's not as obvious in the other group of images, right? This group of images also has that authenticity, that realness to it. It has the bold, bright, vibrant colors. I'm gonna go back so that you can see them one more time. Do you see a consistent feel between this group of images, who has an obvious target, and this group of images? And honestly, they have the same appeal. It's still the person who goes into the Patagonia store and buys outdoor equipment, okay? These people also like to be outside. They also probably go on adventures when they're not get married or having a family portrait session. Same kind of appeal. Same target audience, different application. This is more of a personal, private client. This one is more of a commercial client. We do the work the same way. We're gonna market it a little bit differently. It appeals to the same kind of person. As you look at your body of work, maybe you have a couple of different groups that are distinctive as well for the types of images that you're creating. Step one, lay out your body of work and write those descriptors, okay? Step two, think about who's going to appreciate it. It's gotta be somebody that has money that can invest in you, but that's not the big, determining factor. That's a huge pool of people. You need to start narrowing it down a little bit on specifically who's going to really appreciate this type of work.