Take What You Like

For many of you I would suggest that you begin focusing on what makes you happy as an artist. Stop building a portfolio that copies and mimics other photographers you admire and instead take what you like about their work and make it truly your own.

Here’s something I’ve started doing recently, simply because I’m well aware of the fine line that exist between getting inspired by someone else’s work and getting downright discouraged. In view that portraiture seems to have become my preferred subject matter, I continually set aside photos I love not necessarily to recreate what they’ve done but to literally extract and write down what enticed me about them to begin with.

Take for example a photograph shot by one of my favorite lifestyle photographers Nick Onken for Bicycling Magazine. As an admired of his work, I’ve learned that it’s ok for your portraits to not necessarily always follow the rule of thirds and that your subject can be dead center depending on the situation.

Also, and perhaps not as obvious at first glance, notice how the photograph was shot in a slant. The imaginary horizon line is not straight and this little nuance I’ve notice has been a recurrent characteristic in most lifestyle photography I’ve seen. Not everything has to be presented perfectly straight and the fact that it’s slightly off adds to the enjoyment and energetic vibe which I love.

In the end, the easiest way to continually developing one’s style is to take photos, constantly and frequently and it’s then when you’ll begin to become aware of how your style will evolve to a point where you’ll begin shooting what you love and not what others are expecting for you to shoot or not what you think you should shoot based on what you see others doing.