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Where does Style Come From?

Lesson 3 from: Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

3. Where does Style Come From?

Lesson Info

Where does Style Come From?

This is the style cycle. Experimentation, discovery, realization, defining or definition, and then finally refining, okay? And this is how it looks. You go in a clockwise manner around it. I want you to think, as we talk over the next few slides, where you are in this phase, okay? This is my work, okay? You can see it has a very distinct style. Each image feels similar, similar components, very clean backgrounds, color, monochromatic. Sometimes not overly posed, you know, it's more kind of natural. This image, I just friggin love. Just like girls rule, boys drool, you know what I mean? That's real kids for ya. It's like, he is my little brother, don't you touch him, 'cause I got him in a head lock. You know what I mean? It's just awesome. Where does style come from? Where did this come from, from me? 'Kay? Look in yourself, who are you? Use all your senses. 'Kay? Hearing, smelling, sight, taste, everything. Then go outside photography. You must go outside to find inspiration. Yes, you ...

can look at other people's work and be inspired by that, it's very inspiring to look, and you're gonna see a ton of it today from different people, and you're gonna be inspired. But, I want you to go outside the photography world. Where do I want you to go? I want you to go places like home decor and design, movies, art, so painting, sculpture, museums. I want you to go to technology, internet, iPad. Technology sometimes is very inspiring, space. Things like that. Science can be very inspiring to an artist, okay? Nature, music, nature's huge for me. I have a frigging fascination with the wind. You will see the wind in almost all of my artwork. My custom paintings and composites, not every day client work like you just saw, but in my custom art, you will see the wind in almost every single image, 'cause I have a fascination with what the wind means. It's change, it's fresh, it's drama, it's renewal, it's all kinds of things that have to do with parenthood and love and family. So, to me, the wind is a strong component in my style, 'cause it has deep meaning for me, but only for me, okay? Your faith. My sister's style is hugely influenced by her faith. And we're gonna see her work in the upcoming segments, and you will see her faith in her work, which is really surprising, but it's so there. Personality and mood, and then our personal growth or life story. Oftentimes, your experiences as a child will influence your artistic choices. Let that happen. Decor and design. You guys know I love Joanna Gaines. This is not her kitchen, I couldn't use it here 'cause I don't have permission. It's a stock imagery. But this is very similar to the look I love, that white, fresh, clean, country farmhouse, contemporary kitchen, okay? When Jane Johnson did my rebrand, she came up with this style board that you see here that has our logo on it, and a few things from my Pinterest, and this very much embodies that fresh feeling, clean yet soft and textural, organic, ethereal look to my work. Movies, some of my favorite movies. The house in Something's Gotta Give, do you remember that movie? Oh my gosh. That cedar shake siding house floats my boat. Farmhouse, all fresh in hydrangeas inside. Happiness. Out of Africa, the plane scene. When they're flying over Africa, ah. This is a really old movie, so it's like major, totally dates me. It's a great movie, isn't it? Ah I just love that movie. Yet I'm also influenced by painters. This is Stanka Kordic's work. Do you see the wind, the texture, the organic components? I mean it's so messy, it's wonderful. Like when you look up close to her work, I'm gonna show you some close-ups of her work, you can barely tell that it's an eye, but you step back and oh, that's a face. It's just the way she paints. It's the brushstrokes in the work, and then when you see her work in person, this is the woman I actually commissioned to do my son. I'm not gonna show you my son, 'cause it's mine, and I don't want anyone else to see it. I know that's really selfish of me, but it's mine. But when you see her work like this, digital does nothing. It's like layered and it's three dimensional, and pops off the surface, it's so incredible, her work. Music, Ellie Goulding, Lorde, Norah Jones, the Black Eye Peas, little doesn't fit quite right there, Black Eye Peas, but it influences me. Okay, they're a little crazy, but I do love them. Death Cab For Cutie, Adele, U2, Lana del Rey. Can you see a theme here? If I told you Snoop Dogg, you would have thought a little differently, right? And you know, the Black Eye Peas don't really fit, but they do, if you think about it. They kind of do have that same rhythmic tone. And there are definitely some songs that don't fit, but I want you to see a pattern in what I pick for me, and you're gonna do the same thing, okay? Nature, the wind, we talked about it. I love the wind, so I incorporate it into almost all my work. Dandelions are the epitome of the wind. Dandelions float on the wind, they offer wishes, and that wish floats on the breeze, and to me, that's what parenthood is about. You frickin throw your life out there and wish for it, hope it works with parenting. And try to guide in the right direction, and that your kid grows up to be an amazing person, but you have no idea what's gonna happen, 'cause the wind will carry it where it will. And that's what I love about the wind. It has so much hope and promise, 'cause it could land somewhere amazing. Okay. So the wind is so a component of my work. Nature highly inspires me in that specific area. So, what to ask yourself when you do this process, when you go outside for inspiration? How does it make you feel? You've seen me talk very passionately. You can see when I talk about the wind I (gasps) I can't even talk, okay? A little exaggerated, but you see my point. When you find something that inspires you, you will feel it, you will feel different. What are you drawn to all the time? My staff, poor Beth and Belinda, they're so sick of hearing Ellie Goulding, they're heads spin, it's constant in the studio. We know all the words. Same with Taylor Swift, we play Taylor a lot, too, but I don't really like to admit that. (laughs) Is that feeling what I want reflected in my work? What elements of this make my heart sing, and why? Not only I can tell you about the wind, that it makes my heart sing, but I can also tell you why it makes my heart sing. So ask yourself and be able to articulate why something makes you light up. Could I live with this in my work day in and day out? Day in and day out. That's a very important question. Can I live with this day in and day out? Those boots are rad, but can you live with them on your feet day in and day out? No. They're kinda trendy. 'Kay? And, Beth, these shoes. I have a love affair with these shoes. I picked the outfit for the shoes. She's like, you can stand in those things all day long? Hell yeah, you betcha I can stand in these things all day long. Day in, day out, that's how much I love them. I don't care if my back hurts by the end of the day I'm going, somebody let me stretch 'cause it hurts. I don't care, I love them that much. Okay? That's style. That's when you know, yes, I want it to be part of my work, I want it to be part of my personal expression of who I am. Okay? When you start matching an outfit to a pair of shoes, chances are, the shoes are your style. Okay? It's the color, it's the shape, it's the holes, it's the zipper on the back, I mean, hello, cute little industrial addition right there. If you can live with it day in and day out, you're doin' fine. But ask yourself that with every component you choose in your work. Can I live with it on a daily basis? This is why as Shelly and Olivia suggested, it takes time. You have to marinate in it and really decide. If you put it on a shelf, and three weeks later you keeping coming back to it, mmkay we got something, right? How, okay? How do you know whether it's just that you like something versus it's and element of your true style? Okay? Style will stick. It will stand the test of time. Finding your style is an evolving process that takes a while. When you find yourself wanting to shoot elements over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, that's when you know that you've got something and it may be an integral part of who you are. How many of you have something like that that you love to shoot. And it could be a subject matter, it could be the way you compose in frame, it could be a texture, it could be, we're talking small components now, first of all we're gonna break it down into these components and then we're gonna start combining them. Okay? But first, do you have those things in your work that you like to shoot right now? Yeah. That sticks. We're gonna build on that, okay? So, your homework for this little lesson here is to go outside for inspiration. Start pulling from magazines, Pinterest is fantastic, 'cause you can just search stuff and then pin like crazy, if you go to my Pinterest board, it's Julia Radlick, which is my maiden name, R-A-D-L-I-C-K. I've had a Pinterest board for a long time. I have a couple of branding and style boards on there, art stuff that I pin, you can look at mine, if you see things that you like there, but make your own. Newspapers are great, movies, make an inspiration file from all those things I talked about, movies, decor, music, all those kinds of things. And just start making a file folder, digital, analog, doesn't matter, okay? 'Cause then, from there, we're gonna start playing around a little bit.

Class Materials

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Style Freebie

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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. :)

a Creativelive Student

Great class. A step by step way of finding a artist style that is from your heart. Stop hoping the style fairy will randomly visit you some day. I view this in-depth system as a smart exploration component integrated with a gut check component. Julia has laid it all out smartly and easy to follow. The work itself will not be easy but the steps are beautifully explained. Brilliant! Buy the course. Yeah I will be using it for years. Shelle

Student Work