Before deciding on a photographic style, note that each method requires (to quote Bryan Mills)…. “ a particular set of skills.”
To assume that any good photographer can take great shots irrespective of the subject is absolute nonsense. Sure, a good photographer will always choose correctly exposed photos. However, a correctly exposed photograph is not necessarily a great image.
It would be foolish to think that a great food photographer, dropped in a war zone, and expected to be an accomplished conflict photographer would be anything less than catastrophic.
Both need different mindsets. Furthermore, both require a different approach to their subjects.
In finding your “photographic style,” you need to have a passion for photography. This desire may not necessarily extend to the subjects you choose or want to photograph. What do I mean by this….
Well, sometimes what we are good at, is not always our passion.
It’s great when it is, but that’s not always the case.
Do not limit yourself to what you want to photograph. Go out there and take shots of everything. Analyse your images afterward. Have your friends or family comment on your pictures too. After a while, you’ll find a pattern begin to emerge, and before you know it, you will have found your “style.”
In other words, let your images do the talking.
Remember, this doesn’t mean you need stop taking pictures of what you care about. Instead, see it as broadening your talents as a photographer. Expand your photographic universe.
So to get you started here are a few possibilities that may not have crossed your mind.
#1 – Street Photography
Like Candid photography. This type of photographic style is capturing life as it usually happens in public spaces. These types of images may not always feature people.
Here the photographer tries to capture ordinary day-to-day life as he, or she sees it.
#2 – Candid Photography
Here capturing spontaneous moments is especially relevant. Usually, this means in the subject is unaware of the photographer. This photographic style features a person, or group, in a relaxed and natural state. There is no guidance or instruction from the photographer. Subjects do not pose for the image. This form of photography is widely accepted and very trendy.
#3 –Architectural Photography
This is about capturing visually appealing structures, or a part thereof.
Architectural photography is about shape, form, colour. It can also be about any abstract component of a structures’ design.
Distortion is one of the most common challenges facing photographers when photographing structures. Tilt-and-shift lenses are ideal for this type of photography.
#5 – Fashion / Product Photography
The aim for this style of photography is to sell a product. Whether the product is clothing, cosmetics, fragrance, a car, or latest DSLR. The idea is to use imagery to entice a potential customer into believing it is something they need by glamorising a product or lifestyle. This type of photography has a particular function. However, it can also be one of the most creative and visually appealing types of photography.
#6 – Aerial Photography
In this approach, the photographer captures the subject from an elevated position. Historically these images were taken from balloons, helicopters, planes, and microlights. All pretty costly for the average photographer.
Times have changed, however, and these days aerial drones are easy to come by and are also relatively inexpensive. Furthermore, they are easy to fly. As a result, aerial photography has become accessible to any photographer.
#7 – Food Photography
Another type of photography is to portray food in a creative, engaging, and attractive way.
Usually, this style is used to sell a product, promote a restaurant or to illustrate a cookbook.
#8 – Portraiture
A portrait aims to capture the essence, personality, character, or mood of a person or group. Unlike candid photography, the subjects here are given instruction. They are guided by the photographer to achieve a particular “feel.” These shots almost always need the subject to pose in a controlled setting.
#9 – Photojournalism
Photojournalism highlights a specific current event or issue. This information is made available to the rest of the world.
This type of photographic style is “news.” However, this doesn’t mean it can’t be very subjective depending on how the photographer wishes to portray the event. There is a fine line between photojournalism and documentary photography.
Photojournalism should be objective. Documentary photography could be either objective or subjective.
#10 – Documentary Photography
Firstly this type of photography differs from photojournalism in that it needn’t be a current event. In this case, the photographer wants to highlight a particular subject or story. This kind of photography can be partial, positive or negative. It can be about social issues, conservation, discoveries, or specific individuals achievements. The photographer has “carte blanche” on how he/she wishes to portray the story.
#11 – Sports Photography
Ok, let’s be honest……a sports photographer is a documentary photographer that’s been “doping.”
Est tu Lance, est tu
Kidding aside, sports photographers are responsible for capturing the drama of current sporting events. Usually, this type of photography requires the use of a telephoto lens to get in close to the action. Due to the nature of sport in general, photographers need to anticipate and position themselves where there is action or drama.
#12 – Fine Art / Conceptual Photography
“A Picture paints a thousand words.” Here an image, or images, are staged in a certain way to provoke an emotion from the viewer.
Most of all, this type of photography is all about an idea, emotion, or message that the photographer wants to convey.
Ok, now let’s get into my favourite area…..where I realise my true insignificance in the cosmos….
#13 – Wildlife Photography
Probably one of the most challenging forms of photography. The only control the photographer has is the camera.
How difficult could it be?
Finding a particular animal in it’s natural habitat.
Hoping that the animal will be relaxed enough to allow you to photograph it behaving naturally.
Seldomly are you, the photographer, offered a clear view. The composition of an image is often the critical issue. Due to the environment, trying to get the shot without that pesky branch or rock in the way, can be challenging.
Have the decency and common courtesy to position itself in a manner that the sun is in a perfect position and the light catches it just right.
Hope that the weather will play along.
#14 – Macro / Close-up Photography
Firstly, this means getting up close and filling your frame with your subject, or a part thereof (emphasising a shape, colour or pattern). Subjects for this type of photography are never in short supply. The most noteworthy subjects associated with macro photography are insects, flowers, fungi, water droplets, spider-webs, machine parts. The list goes on.
Because this form of photography more often than not requires working with “tiny” subjects, it can be quite challenging.
#15 – Landscape Photography
The challenge with landscape photography is to capture and show the beauty of the natural world. It can also be especially relevant when trying to emphasise environmental changes caused by human influence, or natural disasters.
Ok, I’m sure you get the idea. But in case here are a few more:
#16 – Time-lapse photography
#17 – Black and white photography
#18 – Travel photography
#19 – Underwater photography
#20 – HDR photography
#21 – Night Photography
I could go on forever, but I’m not.
In conclusion, get out there and explore, experience, and above all enjoy finding your photographic style.