Developing Your Signature Style
Your Signature Style is part of what defines you as a photographer and helps people to identify with your work. People who like your work know that when they see your images then there is quite likely to be something that they will like and that will resonate with them, this is your identifiable Style. I think that this question of your Signature Style is often what people mean when they talk about shooting one thing rather than jumping around from one genre to another so as to build a coherent body of work. However, I am not at all sure that this is the right approach to your style. For me these are two quite separate things. The genre that one shoots in is one thing and can certainly be a part of what defines your Signature Style. A fully developed Signature Style is much more than just what one shoots and can encompass how one makes images. For example; do you like the soot and chalk effect of Infra Red Photography, are you an adherent of the metaphorically loud HDR image, or perhaps you like the muted colours of some films, these could all be elements of your Signature Style. Then there is the aspect ratio of the images that you produce and I have spoken before about this, but it too defines what makes an image your image. What about use or not of vignettes and the list goes on of course. Then there is the question of compositional style within the image; again are you a rule of thirds or a golden ration adherent? The list of elements which define your Style is very large and does not mean doing the same thing artistically over and over, but rather a visual language for your image making which allows others to understand the artistic communication.
I think that you can start to see that the question of signature style is much more complex than a coherent body of work settled in one genre. I think that defining the elements of your signature style is far more useful than deciding on a ‘thing’ to shoot. In fact I like to shoot a range of different subject matter in a variety of genres. However, my signature style is visible in much of that work; I like punchy high contrast black and white images often with a subtle vignette to pull your eye to the subject matter using the golden ration in the panoramic format. Not all images follow this ‘recipe’ because I also like to experiment, but this is my favourite style of image not only in my own images but these are typically the sort of image that I like to see.
Do you have a signature style? Why not drop a comment and let us know how you define your signature style?
Here is an article in Model Mayhem which talks about the idea of a Signature Style