“Oh you like photography, what style do you like to shoot best?”

I’m sure most of you have had that or a similar question asked once or twice by colleagues or when you are out and about.  If you are a professional it is probably something you can answer.

I have never been able to answer that question and I have often asked myself the same.  This is my hobby so I haven’t needed to have the discipline to focus on one style.

For want of a response I normally say something like I really like Black & White but like all types of photography.

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Part of me never cared and I felt why should I narrow my options and put a label on what I like to shoot.  Obviously one answer was film photography but that doesn’t really answer the question.

I like music and have a wide range of types of music I like, but ultimately one or two genres are mainly what I listen too.  Thus why should this be different with photography.

When I walk around with my camera sometimes I am hunting around for something to photograph and this can enventually lead me to take a few shots for the sake of it

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When I get my photos back I look at some and whilst a few are OK others I can see that I have tried too hard (and failed) to find an interesting shot.

Thus I have had this urge to work out what is my style.

There are too many genres to list: Street (whatever that means these days), Portrait, Architecture, Landscape, Macro etc etc.

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These genres also feel too defined and too narrow to me.

This morning I was sitting on a bus in traffic daydreaming when suddenly it came to me, I do have a style I like and something I would like to pursue and improve on.

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It comes back to why I enjoy photography in the first place. For me it’s about being out there on my own with my camera.  Taking some time and space away and just switching off from the world.  I like to take in the surroundings and just observe and be at peace.

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So before I reveal what it is, let me tell you what knowing this means to me.

It means I can now concentrate on this aspect of my photography. It means I will be less concerned about trying to find any old shot. It means that I understand what photography brings to me and why I enjoy it as a hobby.

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This has also clarified a few other things for me.  I currently have quite a few rolls of expired & discontinued film which I will very much enjoy shooting.  That said however longer term I will concentrate only on new film, partly to support the manufacturers that are out there and partly so I can learn that film’s uniqueness and how to take better pictures with it.

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So what is my style?

Its not a specific genre or colour. It doesn’t fit neatly into a box.  My photography going forward is going to reflect the reasons why I do it in the first place.  I will shoot simple, calm and peaceful images, minimum fuss and noise because that why I do it in the first place and my photography should be a reflection of me.

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19 thoughts on ““Oh you like photography, what style do you like to shoot best?”

  1. Lovely article and agree with Harry – amazing capture of a horse and love the last image also.
    I don’t really like to call it “style” in my case but it is My or Your vision and interpretation of the world and our surroundings i think.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the conclusion you’ve come to – your photos should definitely reflect the why as well as the who. Saying that, I’ve always struggled to define my style too – I just take the photos I want to take – and I guess a style has evolved with time, others tell me that they can recognize my photos easily at least. If I had to pick a word, it would be ‘intuitive’ though perhaps thats a process? I don’t know ha. One thing I have realised in the last 7 years using film though is that my photography evolves and changes as I do, and I’m ok with that, theres really no reason to pigeon hole yourself unless a certain style is really what you want to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you and yes that is why I talk about it being a reflection of me and as you say, what that is will evolve over time. It is great that people tell you they recognise your style

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  3. Yeah, it’s an internal debate that many of us have and I’ve battled with for a while.
    I have a friend who is a very good photographer. I admire his work and it’s always instantly recognisable as his. His commitment to a unique style and look is rigorous and dedicated. For a long time, I believed that I must find my own and commit myself to it absolutely.
    But I began to realise that this way of working must also be limiting. I’d love to see how my friend would shoot his family, or a party. I’m sure they’d be brilliant, but we’ll never know.

    As for your conclusion that your photography will be a reflection of you, I like that idea. But don’t you think that it already has been? In the past you’ve not been constrained and you’ve done excellent work that (I guess) you’ve been satisfied with.

    The holy grail has to be a compromise where we don’t lose the fun because of self-imposed parameters but produce work that gets our personal viewpoint across.

    I look forward to finding out where it takes you…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I don’t think I am constraining myself which is why I haven’t pigeon holed myself into a specific genre. Also I will still shoot for fun and try new things because why do it otherwise. What I realised though was that I was trying too hard to take images that were not natural to me thus really didn’t work. Now I will follow my Instinct rather than fight against it to produce something that is not me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I went through the same journey, trying to find – or perhaps create – my own style. In the end I read a sentence that I wish I could find again so as to give proper credit – it said “your style is the photos you can’t help but make.” So true and so liberating. Just make the photos you want to make whether others like it or not. That’s when you’ll be satisfied with your work!

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