First I want to start off by discussing exactly what defines style. Style is how something is interpreted by the photographer in the way they create an image: whether through the use of camera, lenses, filters, lighting, compositions etc; or through techniques for processing the image after it has been taken. Now for my beginners I will advise you that style is not something that you discover overnight. It will develop overtime as you produce work. And you’ll begin to notice similarities in your work and that eventually becomes your style.
When I first started out it was important for me to understand why I wanted to be a photographer. At the time I was in college studying journalism so I was very influenced by storytelling and more particular creating narratives surrounding underrepresented people in the media ie my community and my culture. I wasn’t necessarily interested in the traditional form of photo journalism in fact I never chose a particular genre to work out of. I just shot what made me feel good. I would style my friends and photograph them and I would take photos of pretty flowers you know, anything that interested me. I think thats very important when it comes to developing your own style because you don’t want to box yourself in off jump. You need to give yourself room to explore.
Another thing you need to do is think about work that inspires you. Analyze it and ask yourself what about this photo stands out to me? It can be the colors, lighting, the composition, the editing style, the subject matter. How does it make you feel? And you want to take these things and try applying it to your own work and try adding a little twist so that your personality shines through. Also when searching for inspiration look beyond photos. Listen to music, read poetry study other genres of art. Here’s a really helpful tip : while your scrolling through instagram it has a cool feature where you can save photos to a board. Fill that board with images that represent the look and feel you are going for with your images.
But when developing your own style there has to be a point where you turn off all the noise. Go out and shoot from the heart don’t worry about who likes it or whether or not it looks perfect. What do you want your work to say? Critiue your work and have your friends critique it. Ask them if they notice any patterns in your work. What are you enjoying the most ? Is it natural light or strobes? Black and white or color? Candid or posed? Men or women? What angle lens is your go to? What genre do you find yourself shooting the most ? All of these elements will contribute to your photographic style. After years of creating others will begin to notice your style too.