Finding your own style

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Many books and websites have been devoted to the topic of photography. Dozens of people claiming their way is best fill communication channels with what they perceive to be “the magic formula” for photography. The very concept is laughable. The idea of photography is vastly different from one photographer to the next, much like the concept of music is vastly different from one musician to the next. Each musician has their own instrument of choice, medium, and style in which they create their masterpieces. Photography is much the same.

Rather than say what to do and what not to do, I will simply offer my experience as a photographer and the inspiration that has brought me to where I am today. There will be technical passages that will offer options for the creation of imagery, but there is no right or wrong answer here. I have known photographers that have captured their images with everything from iPhones to Hasselblads, digital to sheet film, unaltered film to surrealistic Photoshop dreamscapes, and everything in between. All of them have become very successful. The trick is to stop listening to what you “can’t do” and simply start capturing images.

The question may be asked why I’m going to divulge all of my secrets. The answer is quite simple actually. I want to share the beauty I see every day with the world. Photography is unique in that its discipline lies in the ability to see beauty, recognize it for what it is, and capture it in a way that others can experience it too. It changes your paradigm in a profound way. In a way, I reflect the beauty of the world back at it–nothing more. I am not afraid of “competition” because even someone who tries to mimic my style perfectly will never get the exact same image as me. Everyone sees differently, and what inspires me in a given situation will be completely different than what inspires another.

All of the technical aspects of photography fade away when the final image is presented. At that point, the question of whether the image is a success or not lies entirely in the viewer. If the image evokes an emotion or tells a story, then it was a success. If not, then perhaps it’s time to try something new. I can only hope to help other photographers along their their way to making great images. Ultimately it comes down to developing your eye and the best way to do that is to get out and shoot. Just keep shooting and the rest will take care of itself.

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