How to find your own photography style in 6 simple steps

(film, London 2011)

Can you remember the last time you saw a photo and immediately knew who it was from without actually seeing the author’s name?
Or think of the times when you discover a new blog, magazine or website - what is it that attracts your attention, that keep you browsing for hours?

Well, imagine people would keep browsing through your blog, just because they’re so intrigued by your content.
Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?
The only secret is to develop your own style. Sounds easy, but it’s not. So let’s talk about 6 tips on how to go about it:

1. Work on your very personal project
You know how sometimes you feel like other photographers are influencing you in a way that it seems like you’re just copying their work?
That feeling will keep coming back, and there is so much photography work out there that it’s hard not to get influenced by anyone.
Or you’re taking photos for a blog post and always have other photographer’s work in mind - how would they do it? What would their photo look like?
If that’s what you feel like there is help at hand.
I know it feels annoying, and you want to create authentic photos. Produce your own work.
Well, do exactly that. Work on your very own project that no one else is going to see. It’s just for yourself - you are the only one who gets to see the results. No one else, just you. Set yourself a topic, a goal, and a deadline, and then get started.
It could look something like that: ‘a month of lazy afternoons’. That’s your topic. Work around that theme for 1 month (or however long you want to work on it).
You’ll find that not having the pressure to please someone will be freeing and will enable you to find your own style.

2. Create a special Pinterest board for special images
I know, all the images you pin on Pinterest are your favourites. But let’s be honest - you know what images you REALLY Love, and what images you just really like.
Those images that you’ve totally fallen in love with go on a separate board. These are the photos that inspire you, the ones that you absolutely adore, the ones where you wish you had taken them. Or the ones you feel like copying. I've created my 'folie douce' board for the photos that inspire me (in a way that helps me to come up with a project brief for a shoot), and I've also got my 'sweetness' board for general images I just really adore. (yes, okay, that's 2 already).
After a while you might find that it’s a certain style of photos that you keep pinning.

3. Have role models
Whose work do you admire? Who do you look up to? We all need people we respect for what they’re doing. It helps us to keep going, and to set ourselves goals. Even if we just want to copy what that person did - it helps us to find out who we are, and where we want to go. Which will ultimately result in finding yourself.

4. Imagine the future
Where do you want to be in 1 year time? Where do you see yourself? What do you picture your life to be like? What will your pictures look like?
Take some time and go through those questions in your mind.
And then figure out what will get you there.

5. Be patient
All good things take time. Finding your own photography style takes just as much time as writing a valuable blog post. Well, longer.
You go through phases where you like that one style, and then the next moment you swoon over something completely different. Things just take time to develop and evolve. Over time your own style will show.

6. Keep taking photos.
If you’re not working on it you can’t develop. In order for your photography to grow and to find your own style you need to actually do it.
It’s like Darren from Problogger once said about blogging (and it’s the same for photography): it’s like building muscles. In order for them to grow you need to use them.
Same with photography. So true.

So start working on these things and I can promise you that in the end you’ll be the one that keeps attracting people’s attention.
Well, I have to admit that I’m not quite there yet, either. But I’m working on it. ;)

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  1. wow love this post! I like especially the first advice you shared, I never thought about this but sometimes I do my work thinking about how others will judge and then i steer away from my style.

    Great post, really.

  2. This is the post I needed to read, thank you for writing it. I just discovered your blog From reading your guest post over at Breanna Rose. I'm going through the motions of finding my feet in the blogging world, and I've only just recently bought my first DSLR...I LOVE IT!! Have been a keen photographer for so long and now Im stoked to finally have the means to put what I know into practice! Im now soaking up everything I find about photography, I'm really glad To have found yourr blog xx

    1. Thanks, Rachel, I really appreciate it. Great that you got a camera now - I hope I'll keep inspiring you. :)

  3. Hi Helena! I've been looking a lot at your posts for understanding exposure and am finding them really helpful as I just got a Canon 1100D and want to get out of Automatic mode! So thank you :)

    I also wondered with the majority of these photos in this post, they have a lovely hazy/old look, and I wanted to ask if this was when you took the photo or an editing tool you used afterwards?

    Thank you! :)

    1. Thank you so much, Kirsten! I'm glad it's been helpful for you so far!
      These photos were actually taken with a film camera, that's why they look kind of 'old'. I love the look, too. You can achieve a similar style with VSCO editing software, but I believe real film still is the best ;)