STYLE AND INDIVIDUALITY

Hi everyone and welcome to blog #3! Today I'll be talking about how to develop a unique photography style and using social media to share your progress as a photographer. Hopefully you can relate to today's blog segment and if you want, you can leave a comment down below at the end of the post!

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For me, a big part of figuring out what my photography 'style' has come from visualizing my photos. Before I really focused on taking photos deliberately, I just took photos at random and hoped that there would be something in the batch that I liked. However, now I tend to stop and think about the scene I'm visualizing and then I direct my subjects to position themselves in accordance with the image I have played out in my head (but that's only half the battle and you need make sure to visualize the photo you're trying to convey during the editing process too). To expand on this idea of visualization, you may have heard someone tell you to "tell a story with your photos". I never really understood this concept - and even though I've learned the value of visualizing photos, honestly, I still don't understand how every photo you take could tell a story. Sometimes I think photos are successful simply because they're visually appealing, not because there's a story behind it. Either way, I can't stress enough the importance of visualizing your shots while shooting and editing. 

For many photographers, the next step after taking a great photo is sharing it on Instagram. There are are thousands of photographers on Instagram (after all, it is a photo-sharing network) and in my last blog post you may remember me talking about how Instagram can be used for inspiration and motivation. But this discussion isn't about that; it's about maintaining your own personal style without being influenced by photography that's trending.

It's just like my friend @zech.lee described it to me. No matter where you go, there will always be something called 'mainstream' content. So it's expected that there's also mainstream photos on Instagram. Right now, the trend happens to be string lights, a fad that started by the talented photographer @brandonwoelfel. And while the string light photos are really aesthetic, I've found that some photographers only post this type of photo because they know it'll be popular with their audiences. 

Don't mistake mainstream photography as a bad thing. Most likely, people like the aesthetic of the photos and that's why the photographic style is mainstream in the first place. Just be sure not to change your style to fit in with whatever's trending, because the moment you start taking certain photos only because you know it'll get lots of attention on Instagram... that's when you're doing something wrong. You might know of that one childhood cliche that tells you to 'be different' and maybe you've never thought about it, but it actually is very important to value your individuality and not conform to the mainstream just for the sake of acceptance and Instagram likes. 

Per usual, I'll end this blog with some words of wisdom... even though I'm far from wise :)

Shape your own 'mainstream' and always shoot for yourself to create content that makes you proud. In other words, don't let the number of likes, comments, or followers on Instagram define the quality of your work. I've seen talented photographers put themselves down and leave Instagram altogether because they've let number define their photography. Follow these three steps: create, learn, create more - and I promise you that the numbers will follow.

// ELLIOT CHOY //