Developing Your Photographic Style
The next thing I want to talk about his photographic style one of the elements of photographic style and how do we know what they are the first one I would say is your technique your technique is pretty much I'm gonna go into that in a second slide but your technique is the way that you approach to shoot some photographers use artificial light some photographers use natural light it could be the way you had it it's everything about photographer style your subject matter what kind of models used to use professional models to use more cars to use commercial models to use friends or deed use older people for like um emotional portrait it's fine art photography processing how do you process that what goes for that due process it in camera do you process after in light room do you do that in photo shop and personality as well because I think this is really important personality speaks a lot for photographic style because you'll tell someone's personality immediately from the photographs and...
the most successful photographers have their personality signature written all over them like many aspects of photography these elements will often overlook as well so like technique processing the personal a team subject matter was wrong so it's good to remember that style does not come straightaway style could take a year to get their style could be I could come to you after five years I'm still developing my style I'm definitely I haven't fully defined it, but I'm enjoying. Just experiment in and see where that goes, so your soul will develop over time and it's. Ultimately, why the most important aspects were marked in yourself is a photographer. So when your market you were first thing client's gonna look at is your style and how you approach it as well. So all those things I talked about, they're gonna look at that, how you approach it, what your technique is, what your subject matter is, and the consistency is, well, how consistent you are. All over the board with it so defining the aspect of technique again the lighting you may use use of depth of field for example I used wider picture when I'm on location and I try to do soft lining when I'm in the studio so everything I'm about is soft lighting my subject matter as well femininity, beautiful girls composition of my work I don't go by rule of thirds I try not to go you know, I think outside the box I cropped differently than a lot of photographers do. Um I've always very mind the way that images would lay on a magazine, so whenever I'm shooting that's the way I see things but everyone is different, you could have a different rule of composition for yourself you could have a lot of negative space because that's the way you shoot so there's no right or wrong way with composition it's all about what suits you. So for me, the composition um in the technique here the light in first of all delighted with composition this line again indoors self lighting if I'm outside it's the same thing use of depth of field in my work outside focusing through elements like leaves in the trees, flowers here I used a piece of jewelry put right onto the lens and sometimes I do this with my hand as well, so I put my hind around the lines and focus for it. And as long as you want a wide enough aperture that would just throw everything out in the foreground, and you get that really interesting result as well. So this is something really great focus with and if you haven't experimented with before, it's really great to start working with, okay? And again, the composition about how these girls look, um, the composition of the image, the way the girls come across again, it's a signature style I have is the way my work comes across decline, so a lot of people would say to me, if I see this in in your work or if I see this online like a tumbler, all right, another place I know it's yours because of the way that you position girls the way that you're consistent with your styling, your lighting in the color that you use a swell so subject matter, and I'm going to define the aspects of subject matter the theme again, or the concept used the environment use, and I think this is really important because for me, I love shooting out in fields I love shooting. If I'm in the studio, I love shooting with seamless that might be a texture so that's all consistent throughout my work, so if you're thinking about your subject matter what is the environment and how consistent is it with you? What do you like to shoot in urban environments? Do you like to shoot in fields to you? Like shooting for it's? Something a bit more organic? Um, that really defines your subject matter and the type of models and models he used a swell like conventionally. Um so for me, when I shot this beautiful girl, maddie, um, for the subject matter for me, when I am most inspite of my most successful shots or when I'm most inspired by who on shooting so like, oh, you when I test. And this was another example of a test. I was so inspired when I saw her on the package that the model agency sent to me that I was like, I have to shoot that girl when she available. And they were like, okay, give me a day. I set it up. It was just me and a small team involved. And I wanted it really simp paul, I'm trying to get the emotion in the beauty from this shot again. If you want to know the technical parts of this, I went out and shot this on a rooftop in brooklyn, it was a very bright outside. So I positioned here in a shadow such as, like a chimney on the roof that kind of came down and give that shadow, and then I shot wide open, I would say about two point eight and I focus on the eyes, so whenever I'm shooting something like this said from focus on an emotion, I'm focusing in on the eyes and the emotion that the girl is giving me same thing again, the emotion that she's given me and I didn't have to really push her to do this. She gave me a lot of it just from the way that she's posed in and everything but I will go in and say, hey, how about just pulling your dress down, look down, maybe have, like, more sad expression look like you wondering about something sometimes I'll give my model's rolls, so I say, you know, look like this person or trying try and see this person in the photo and you can see the way that they change in their facial expressions change. So whenever you casting girls as well, think about how they would be good actresses in front of the camera this is andre um, he's a really big model right now, and I was really looking to shoot him before he got huge and again a test natural light on location, I was extremely inspired by what was going on the pictures so I didn't need a background I didn't need crazy things going on I don't need props I just needed him to be inspired by this um the depth of field again focusing through the leaves and this was all wide open on my eighty five one two lens just experimenting with that I shot for about two hours and there's still some of my favorite images on I'm very rarely shoot men because I love shooting femininity, but everyone thinks that on j it's like a female anyway, so he kind of gets away with it in my portfolio so processing and defining the aspect of it the tone adjustment or the saturation any images for example the way I process is I have quite bright colors, but then I have the saturated skin or I go like a really moody black and white creative effects like textures things like put in an overlay of texture over the top, maybe it's like a sun paper texture, anything you can think of creative effect, something like a blurry then going on maybe it's grain that you add after that really defined someone stylus well, so talking about the processing here's a couple of images to show you exactly how I processed and why that is good for myself, so I talked about the skin and the light so when I shoot beauty, I'm always thinking of ways that I could tie it into my portfolio because it's so far from my editorial work but I don't want it to look upon so in this picture the color comes from the makeup but I still have that saturated skin technical part of this photo was that I had one soft box but I use the modeling boob so I shot wide open I had to the soft box right to my model's face on an angle here but I just choose the modeling board so the bright continuous line I put the white balance onto bull and then just process it and what was great about that is that enabled me to great a great beauty shot but it's still flows within the rest of my work to another one with the processing so when I shot this it was very blow. Now I shoot back lighting to the sun and a signature style of mine is that I pull back the detail in the shop later so I got back the blue on the size and I kind of added this rainbow effect if you can see just on the right here starts another thing with creative effects and how that works for personal sorrow so personality and how to define that your vision, how you see things and again this comes through exactly your personality you you're kind of fool into your vision when you're doing it your vision and how you see it, how you go about putting things into play your influences and how they come into play, whether your influence by the location urine by the fashion by the girl you're shooting or by the sudden modeling shooting your influences and how that shows within your work and your personal connection with your subjects as well because if you don't have that connection with your subject than the audience is not gonna have that connection either. So the personality we bring to our work defines the evolution of our star, so if you start bringing personality or work from the beginning, you going to evolve faster and people are going to start to relate to you work a lot more so for me this shows a lot of my personality in the shot mainly because I'm bringing my influences in I'm bringing my inspiration, my influences, how I shoot I shoot mood moody back on y a lot in the studio I'm bringing and a childhood story the velveteen rabbit here so I'm bringing that childhood influences I'm going back into time what influences influenced me as a child you know the kind of velveteen rabbit thing it's a dark story so how do we put that into play in the studio so it's going back thinking of ways you can use your influences in editorial stories how you can use your influences, portraiture or you know anything that you do if you do different types of photography, how your influences work within that as well. So these two great quotes to remember so my portrait's and more about me than they are about the people I photograph and I think this lends itself more towards, like portraiture and fashion portraiture, but you need that connection evident always has connection whenever you look back at his work and ansel adams here, every man's work is always a portrait of himself. He does landscapes, but there's something about him in the work something you know, you can kind of tell what kind of personality has just from looking at his photographs on the same when I'm shooting models, what is coming from from how they look and when I'm shooting editorial. This is often more of a fake personality because we're using them on with setting them in a fake set in. So I wanted these to be like sisters on location no in a beach set in, and I wanted them to interact as well. So again, think about the ways you could maybe use that fake personality or influence and put that into a fake setting such is okay, we want the styling like this, we want fifty seven how would the model act we did not seem back in the day, back in the era, so tips when developing your style style will not happen overnight, and it takes anywhere from months, two years to develop. So I know I talked about the before, but it's definitely something you should remember. I know a lot of people have come tto workshops or email me, and they get they say, I'm so frustrated, like, how come you have the style and I'm not there yet, and I'm like time to speak patient, enjoy the ride, enjoy the first three years of your career, those at the top of those of the times where you can kind of enjoy your job and you're not getting hassled by anyone is about, so use that to your advantage. So repeat successful chute concepts in techniques, but never be afraid to experiment, so if something goes great on a shoot, you go out there in the shoot with natural light, and that works for you. Repeat that if there's a technique that works, whether it's like processing or a technique that camera or with lighting repeated, keep going, that's the tips to define itself how you'll find it is for experimentation, you won't find it by just sticking to one thing and hoping it works out for you and again, telling yourself goto things like what I did with hawaii and even embarrassed yourself if you need to just do anything you can and learn from your mistakes, go challenge yourself to shooting maybe two to three tests a month, maybe even one test a week, so now I want to talk about inspiration, so inspiration is important for photographers develop shoot concepts seems in techniques and inspiration is one of those things that people really get caught up on. How do I find inspiration for my shoes where we look effused about where I'm I'm looking for it? Does it have to be relevant to what I'm shooting and a few answers here? So finding inspiration, research, other art forms and mediums, you don't have to look to photography for inspiration go out there, go to an art gallery, go teo, you know the moma gallery here in new york and look att other artists, how they present different themes what's great amount fashion photography is style is defined by, you know, era's style is defined by certain things and culture, so it's, good to go and look at that certain culture when you're trying to you know, for example, when I was shooting this torch exclusive shoot for velvet always earlier this week we had, um, an exclusive collection, it was based on the renowned renee johns themes of it has, like, you know, the cherubs on the hearings and, you know, the kind of paintings and murals on the clothes, so I went and looked for inspiration. It was relevant to that on my mood board showed that when I presented it to my client as well, join online creative communities, and this was really important for me at the start of my career. Deviant on flicka um, facebook anywhere that people will give you constructive criticism if you're even introduce a fight videos video on youtube things where people are out there to help you and engage with you and that's gonna inspire you as well. Just going free things like click a photo of the day constantly for refreshing your memory is well, so the first point, whenever I get on the internet in the morning, I'm always looking tumble feed if people have that that's a great place to look, finding things, selecting who you want to follow and getting that direct into your inbox for your website, create archives of image reference is's so I always save things on my desktop of things I love. If I see something online, I'll pull it into a photo and I'll challenge myself, I'll say. I'm gonna plan to shoot this in two weeks. I'd better start organizing now because it's important when you find the inspiration, hold onto it because sometimes it's really hard to find it. We have bouts where you'll have loads of inspiration and then you have a few weeks you'll be like, oh, I don't know what I'm doing, you know, I wish inspiration would come to me, so use it when it's available network was telling and other photographers so go out there and network with people, you may find online friends with photographers, goto workshops and engage with people there. Go to meet ups, meet up with the stylist makeup artist, bounce ideas off each other that way you're gonna find inspiration throughout the people as well photograph a model, a subject you've inspired by like the photos of maddie or andre go out there and figure out who you love. I photographed him, go to a model agency, asked them for their new faces, or even you can approach someone on the street or it could be a friend it could be a friend's kid. It looks beautiful, be great for subject, too. Try a photo, a day or self portrait project now I was all about the self portrait when I started, partly because I was too scared to use models partly because they weren't available, and it was great for me to hone my skills. So experiment with these if you have a certain project that you're worried about testing on the model, do a self portrait to test the lighting or the skill and surround yourself with inspiring people because it's great to be around people, that kind of artists ah, unique there, like their own, little stagnant, their own little group. So it's, good to surround yourself with people that get you and understand your vision. Like my silent team, I'm always meeting for coffee for drinks. Anything that we bounce ideas would be like, hey, do you want to try that new idea or welcome to me with some inspiration and say, I have seen this in a magazine? Let's, try this some clue ding this again from yesterday because for those that you that might have tuned in, um, today, this is a quick example of my inspiration and how I put it to play in a mood board, so I have close watches a sketch here from one of my illustrators. Um, and then the final images from the shoot, these would actually be pitches I'd find online or from magazines, but I can't show you that today, so these are just images that I would place to show to my editor, the fashion editor to my client, what I want from the shoot and how I'm going to approach it so the best photographers will pull inspiration from not only imagery, but every aspect of the world around them. So this is a really good thing to remember. Look outside of the box don't just look to the next photographer next to that shoot in and imitate ideas, do something different. So this is an example of surround yourself inspiring people, same thing when I went to hawaii, um I love networking. So this for me, it wasn't work for me. I got there and all these people had their own story. I remember every one of their names they still keep in touch with me great people and it's, just like I came back from that johnny just feeling really inspired and refreshed. And the same thing is I arranged in inspire um it was an event in london, so I got loads of photographers together to a free event we met in a park. We look from each other's portfolios and we bounced ideas back and forth and it was just great to get to know them their stories that's gonna really help as well. So testing, styling, inspiration recap, testing person work is essential to develop in as a photographer remember that your style will develop as you grow not gonna come overnight but that's okay, have fun with it never be afraid to experiment and challenge yourself because this is how you learn in look everywhere for inspiration and not just the obvious and most importantly of all, shoot what you love and the rest will follow that's a really important one to me, but one that I live by with all of my chutes I didn't pay models at the beginning because I already had a portfolio of self portrait and friends, so I built that fine art portfolio um and they would work with me just for the fun of it, so I would say if you're just starting out and you haven't used models, ask what their fee might be if you can't get them for time for print and you want a great face and your portfolio that's gonna take you already a few steps ahead because the model's gonna know what they're doing and that's gonna help you think it so it's worth doing that in the beginning but question from fashion to be in singapore, how do we pursue a style and yet showcase versatility uh when we create a style, do we need to be consistent in what we do? How do we suggest we create a style and yet showcase and number of our capabilities howto and when you're experimenting with style when to keep that consistency, I think it's important to show, don't show all of your experimentations so the only people that are gonna be judging you solace, the clients and the people that maybe watching online so only put out there what's consistent, so there's, so many shoots I've done where I've gone out in sharp, but I don't share it online because it's, so far from what I do, it confuses people so it's just about shooting as much as you can, getting that kind of experiment, finding out what you love with your style and kind of picking out the best picking out the best images and showcasing camera says when you do the shoot pool that went wrong. Yeah, did the model only get that one picture? Or did you retouch more? Because I never know if I should give the model all the pics, even the ones that I didn't retouch or just the ones I've retouched. What do you give to models when you are testing that's? A really good question? Um, whenever I'm shooting with agency girls, the model agency would always request pictures because that's what their benefit, you know, the models aren't being paid, the benefit is that they get pictures for their portfolio, so to clients. Um so for that one yes, I only got one picture but because they have a good relations agency they kind of said, you know, it's okay it's understandable, but when I'm shooting when I did shoot with more friends and kind of people that weren't signed don't ever given edited images I think it supported that your style is your edit a swell people shouldn't request that unless it's a client that wants to see the select before I'll always give models and my creative team finished final images thank you doing questions in the audience so when you get the pictures back to the agency what's the nature do you give them the right just to promote them the models with pictures so if they're using them they can have mine yeah, they shouldn't use them for anything other than promotion on the website was showing in the books and the same for others a photographer we have to get permission before we do anything it's like a mutual benefit both kind of the same rules and my second question is for your testing do you always have a creative team with you? It depends. I try to just because um I prefer to try and get the makeup done or at least the hair I think that's important even if it's just a bit of simple makeup and you don't want to focus on that yourself you want to have someone who's skilled to focus on that, so you just focus in on the picture, but I have gone out in like, central park when I first moved to new york and I didn't have the connections, and I went out there, and I just got a model from elite agency, and I took them around central park, and the girl had no makeup on just messy hair, and I just got some flowers and it's, a beautiful portrait on it that's fine to do as well. It all comes down to what you have in your images, whether you shoot more of a raw style or whether you shoot more stylized style anymore questions from you. When you say you see improvement, you showed the ones that you think are not your great work, and I would never think they were anything but amazing. Um, what do you see that you've improved on? Because you feel like your images are more you now, do you see improvement in your technique? Lighting? What do you see? You've improved on since those first images? It's definitely a mixture of everything. I think my technique has improved because when I first started, I will admit that I didn't know all of the technical parts, but I've defined that to work for me, um but, yeah, when I look at pictures like that, I think this I always remember the story behind the picture. I think that's, what slightly puts me off, I'm like god, that was such a waste of a day or, you know, just that kind of thing. Go. I imagine, like this struggle we went to in the red eyes we had and awarded to get those shots. So I think, it's, the technique, is the way I've got more of a creative team involved, that I've got a great skill set. We're focusing on all angles of the shoot, but my vision's still pretty much the same. It's, just an improved version with help.