Don’t read this expecting an answer to that question. In my opinion there is no definitive answer. And maybe even more surprising, in my opinion, to answer that question could be a bad idea.
Some years ago it was a question that plagued me. As if I had to find out. After all reading some of the most popular publications and articles always talked about “finding your style”. Like it’s something you just had to know. I thought I had to know so I could understand what it was I photographed. That sounds silly to even say or mention now.
Style is not the same as subject matter. You may concentrate exclusively on grand landscapes, or be a macro expert. Either way that does not define your style, only your subjects.
Style is a combination of many parts. Some experiences, desires, likes, dislikes, attitude, ability, imagination, circumstance just to touch on a few. Trying to describe ones style is like trying to describe a color. You can see it, you know it when you see it, but you sure can’t describe it.
I haven’t thought about such things of late. It seems irrelevant, at least to me. But you can read many articles about growing in photographic abilities that consistently mention style. You need to find your style, you need to develop your style. Let us say you want to develop a “style”. Where do you start, and how do you know when you get there or have one?
I think the first time you picked up a camera and snapped a picture your style was imposed on the result. Time spent pondering such things can take away and dilute the photographic process naturally instilled in a person pursuing the craft.
Shoot what you love, make it yours. Accept your results but never be satisfied. Style hides in such places.
This is really great Brad. I’m loving your posts with advice such as this. I’ve also chased the idea that I have to “define” my style and I’ve never been able to do it and always felt frustrated. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Keep up the fantastic work!