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The Style Cycle: Realization

Lesson 7 from: Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

7. The Style Cycle: Realization

Lesson Info

The Style Cycle: Realization

Realization is looking at your work and seeing the common threads that are the essence of your style. Truly, recognition is your most powerful ally. This is when you step out 40,000 feet. Discovery is in the trenches. Your figurin' this out, you're doin' the work, you're getting better, you're getting better. Now realization is stepping back and going, okay, what's it? How many of you feel like you're in this phase right now, where you're getting your technical skills down, you feel like maybe I have a style but I'm not sure? How many of you are in that phase right now, where you're like, I need to figure this out? Do I have it or I need to work more? A lot of people are in this phase. And they don't know how to step back and analyze their work. So again, this is some images of my work that definitely has a feel to it. But what I wanna ask you is, when you look at a body of work, particularly your own, which is hard to do, what do you see, recognize, feel, interpret? Does any meaning c...

ome to you? A lot of people ask me, well, which images do I put together as a body of work? Do I look at everything? No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. We don't look at everything. And we're gonna talk about that later in the last movie of the day, which images do you actually pick to examine a body of work? So when you look at this body of work, what do you see, feel, interpret? I see a very similar color palette. That's the first thing that kind of comes out at you. Yeah, it kind of pops you in the noggin, color palette beautiful, very clean backgrounds, and a light airy feel to it. Uh huh. What about you Melissa? What do you see? I see, like you were saying earlier, I see triangles everywhere, I'm seeing triangles with your composition, I see triangles with posing, and I even see, now it's not really wind, because you're in the studio but I see a flow in composition but also using the wrap to flow or even the little guy's leg, I'm drawn to it because it-- It's a triangle flow, yes. And what I see is the overall composition, it's balanced from the large on this side to the way you've put the four over on the other side. Oh, isn't that funny? Even in the way I designed those keynote slides. Yeah, the whole design of it has an appealing balance to look at it. Oh actually, I have to admit that wasn't my design. Oh, well, that was commendable of you to give someone else credit but that still is something and the presentation is really important. But you make a good point. I was drawn to that slide to use it to put my work in. So even though I didn't actually create the holes to put my work in, I was like, oh, that looks good. So, you're right, there was an element of my choice there but that's fascinating that you brought that up, for sure. But you guys hit the nail on the head, flow is huge for me. Anything that has to do with flow, hair, fabric, wind, anything that makes movement through an image is highly, highly intriguing to me. So we're starting to recognize elements of work that are common threads, right? And it can be so much more than that. And we're gonna go over each of these technical elements that I want you to be hunting for in your own work. And what I also wanna warn you about is that looking at your own work is incredibly challenging. I mean, because I look at my work and I see all the technical flaws. You know, I'm like, (groans) screwed that up, you know, it's like the hard-on-yourself, I'm extremely hard on myself, it's like a serious personal character flaw. But having someone else go over your work and say, what are the common threads, is a extremely valuable exercise. So I strongly recommend finding a friend in your community who is a photographer and understands these different elements who can help you see it in your own work. Go on to our Facebook group and give yourself, once we go through and I talk about how to make a body of work board, and stuff like that, post your board in the Facebook group and get some feedback on it. That's where people are gonna help you realize your own style. The realization phase is that 40,000 foot look. We're gonna take a huge in-depth examination of that in the last segment today, as well as looking at other artists' work and seeing their common threads. But the reason this is so challenging is because you have to step outside yourself. And that's where it's hard is to examine a body of work that's yours, that you have a personal and emotional connection to, because it is your soul on paper, paper. It's your soul. So like examining that, going, what is that? Is a very challenging thing because you kinda know already but you're asking your mind to define it.

Class Materials

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Body of Work Artist Statement
Studio Borchure
Style Manual

Ratings and Reviews

Cesar Flores

Wow wow wow, as an artist on a beginner's stage this was an amazing presentation. Julia is a pro on teaching the psychology of the artist within ourselves. I will follow her from now on and start putting in practice her step by step techniques on finding my style as an artist. Thank you Creativelive and Thank You Julia, you are amazing


This course is amazeballs. Love love love love love love love. Just buy it. :)

Laura K.

Wow - this may be my favorite Julia Kelleher class (and I own several). So much of what she talks about hits home with me, really speaking to where I am at in my photography journey and the struggles I grapple with every day. Lots of hard truths - the kind that remind us as to the necessity of good old fashioned hard work (really, really hard work) - the need to be truly technically proficient - the need to experiment - the need to practice every single day - repetition ("wash, rinse, repeat!") - and the need to continue learning all the time. I also really appreciate the fact that Julia touches on the PPA (Professional Photographer's of America) CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) process a bit. I just took my CPP exam and will be working my way through the image submission phase of the CPP process over the course of the next year; so it was nice to hear Julia's thoughts and experience in her own CPP journey. I NEEDED this course. Julia and Creative Live - thank you for bringing this to us. And Julia, thank you for diving deep into the hard realities that we need to hear and know in order to truly grow and evolve artistically and professionally.

Student Work