Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finding Your Style: Part 1 - Selection

Finding your Style:

Finding your shooting style is like figuring out what type movies you enjoy, just takes more work. The best way to discover the types of movies you like is to watch a generous amount, of a wide variety, of films which genre interest you most. Of course, that in only going to give you a high level indication of the films you gravitate towards. For a deeper understanding, you would need to find which actors were your favorite, which plots pull you in the most, director style you like most, cinematography that appeals to you, and more. I'm sure a few months and a subscription to Netflix would put you on course to only selecting movies that you would thoroughly enjoy.

But what does that have to do with your shooting style?

Everything. When I started shooting, in nature photography, I heard many of the seasoned pro's talk about other photographer 'Style' of shooting. The most I got from the question 'How do you find your style?' was 'Keep shooting and you will find it.' Well they were right, and finding your style is no different than the movie example mentioned above, just on a different scale. Be for warned; it is a long, tedious road that you will travel, but the rewards are well worth it.

First, you need to amass a collection of work to begin culling through. Whether the work is from assignments, personal work, or a mixture is up to you, but the end result will give you an indication based off of the sample. There should be a variety within each grouping. For instance, with nature photography can have wildlife resting, in motion, feeding, hunting, exploring, sleeping, defending, migrating, and any other situations you can find them in.

*One tip when shooting is to ask yourself 'What is it about this subject that interest me?' , 'What am I trying to convey', and 'How do I capture this subject in a way that the viewer feel/see it too?' Now there are many other questions you can ask and these do not have to be verbatim. This is just a small practice I learned to help identify what I wanted to shoot, why, and how, so that I wasn't stopping at every blade of grass and shooting it.*

Now from this group of images you will make your initial Selection of images.

But which moments do you select?

In my opinion you should select the images that speak to you, whether technically good images or not,  ones that draw you in. Try looking at your images first in a thumbnail view via what every editing software you use. On the first pass you should select the ones that catch your attention the most, as they are the 'stand out' ones. Then take a second pass through the images to find the remaining ones that you 'feel'. For the sake of having a decent size selection pool, let's say out of 150 images you select your top 50 (Again 'top' referring to the ones that you feel impact from the most) This will give you your 'Genre', from here we move on to specifics about that selection, which I will talk more about in a future post.

Until then, enjoy the journey, as you never know where you will find your style.

As always, if you would like to share some step you took to finding you style of shooting, leave a comment.