What is a Photography Style?!
Do you ever recognized someone’s photo on instagram or Pinterest and known who’s picture it was before you ever even see their name?
You can tell who’s photo it is because this person has developed their own personal photography and editing style and they have been intentional and consistent with it.
One of my favorite photographers and instagrammers, Briana of @piperszoo, is amazing at this. I can spot her photography from a mile away.
There are a few very popular photography styles that you are probably familiar with:
White + Bright – a great example of this is Christina, from @bohomomtog (She also takes all of her photos 100% on her iPhone).
Dark + Moody – My childhood friend Sarah Withers from @dwellandramble kills at this style!
Film look: Warm + Faded – Elyse from @Elysendea has a gorgeous feed with this style.
DSLR photos only – Brianne from @brianne_thames is one of my favorite mom-togs. She’s currently doing a 365 project that you should absolutely follow along with.
Phone Photos only – Casey Wiegand from @caseyleighwiegand has one of the prettiest iPhone only feeds on all of instagram.
A mix of both DSLR + Phone – My instagram @hellojessiemartin is an example of mixed Phone + DSLR photos.
Some people prefer pictures that look a little more blue (cool). Some people like images that look a little more orange (warm) – my feed and Casey’s feed are good examples of these contrasting styles.
These are some of the most popular photography styles, but it doesn’t mean you have to fall into one of these categories.
Be creative. This sounds like a fortune cookie or something, but be true to who you are and what you love.
You will stand out so much more if you do what you like when it comes to your style. You wont be happy or satisfied with your photos if you try to make them look a certain way or fit into a certain mold.
So anyways, enough of me telling you to be yourself ?
You may be wondering how to go about actually finding your style. I say to be yourself and create images that are true to you, but sometimes when we’re just starting out, we don’t even know what it is that we like or what our personal style even is.
4 steps to develop your own photography style
- Create a Pinterest board. Create a new board on Pinterest. Go through your current boards and pins and re-pin images that catch your eye. Include things like clothing, interior design, color palettes, plants etc. (Here is mine as an example!)
You’ll notice that mine is full of natural earthy tones and textures. There are subtle pops of color and the color green, brown, and white are a common theme. All of the pictures embrace shadows and all of the photos are minimalistic.
- Take your Instagram URL and plug it into ColorKuler. This is a site that will take consistent colors from your feed and create a color palette for you. Knowing what colors naturally find their way into your pictures can be really helpful.
- Walk through your house and look at how you decorate. Are there any consistent patterns in your home? If you’ve ever seen any photos of my home on instagram you know that I love white walls and linens accented by dark browns and textures. I decorate very minimally and stick to earthy tones and colors.
- Now go open up your closet. What clothes do you absolutely love. Put them in a pile or hang them side by side. What consistencies do you see? I tend to wear a lot of dark colors, cream colors, solids (not a lot of patterns), and I like textures.
Take these four areas of your already established style and keep them in mind as you take pictures. If you like darker, moodier tones and textures – start focusing on embracing shadows and learn how to take pictures in lower light situations. If you love bright + white, start paying attention to when and where the light is brightest etc.
Don’t be discouraged if this process takes you a while or if your photography style morphs and changes. As you grow and your eye for photography improves, your style will change and improve right along with it. That’s ok, that’s how it should be!
How to Implement Your Style
There is a lot more that goes into a photography style than just how the image immediately looks. You should be able to portray emotion through your images. Photography is an art and your personality will show through your images naturally if you are honest with yourself and the way that you shoot and edit. Don’t look to other people for your inspiration. If you need to, take a break from social media for a while so that you can focus on taking pictures that you love and not be influenced by what everyone else is doing.
One way to really help you find your voice as a photographer is to take pictures of the things you love. Don’t take pictures of things because you think you’re ‘supposed’ to or that’s what everyone else is doing.
Another thing that is fundamental to a photography style is just plain learning how to take a good picture. Learn the ‘rules of photography’ and then learn how to break them in creative ways. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say the ‘rules of photography’ that’s ok, keep hanging out with me and I’ll show you). ❤
For DSLR Users:
The way you take pictures will really impact your photography style and your ability to edit. If you prefer darker, moodier images like I do, you may want to consider under-exposing your images in camera (this would require being able to shoot in manual mode, but if you’re not there yet, don’t sweat it!). You’ll find your sweet spot when it comes to HOW you take your pictures, but the most important part is to expose correctly or be intentional with how you under or over expose.
How to Create a Cohesive Instagram Feed
Now that you have a photography style, you may be wondering why your Instagram feed STILL doesn’t look cohesive.
Before I help you figure out why this is, I want to mention something real quick:
Don’t let Instagram influence your photography style. Several months ago I had a few pretty big influencers tell me that I was hurting myself on Instagram by using my camera instead of posting purely phone images. The thought process behind this is that professional looking photos aren’t as personal as phone images.
I thought about this a TON and almost let it influence and change what I was creating.
I quickly realized that I didn’t care. My images are ultimately for my family and I. My pictures are love notes to my husband and my son. Using my DSLR is my creative outlet. It enables me to go a step further in my photography and play with light in a more artistic way.
Don’t get me wrong, phone photography is just as good as DSLR photography, it’s just a different style of photography. Both are beautiful, but if you prefer one over the other, don’t let what’s ‘popular’ influence your creativity. If you LOVE taking pictures with your phone, don’t let what so-and-so over there is doing with her professional camera equipment discourage you from owning it at your phone photography and vice versa.
Your photography style is more than your Instagram feed. Don’t take pictures FOR Instagram. Let Instagram be a way for you to showcase the photos you take for YOURSELF and for your family. One day we could all wake up and Instagram could have crashed and be completely gone – your photography shouldn’t be for an app.
But ok, back to the point: how to make your photography style look cohesive on Instagram:
Sometimes even if you have a consistent photography style and edit your pictures the same way, your feed can still look scattered or messy. There are a few ways to fix this:
Don’t post two very similar photos in a row
Don’t post two close-ups or two scenic pictures in a row
Don’t post two black and white photos in a row
Do you see a pattern in these suggestions? The order that you post your photos in matters a lot. These aren’t hard and fast rules, they won’t apply to everyone, but they can help you pick out areas that you might be able to improve upon.
I’m going to use my feed as an example. I have four types of photos that I tend to take and post.
White + Bright (like pictures in our kitchen).
Dark + Moody (like pictures everywhere else in our house)
Pictures that include the surrounding area / room
I try not to post two white + bright photos in a row, because my home is more often dark + moody. I don’t have enough white photos to fill my feed with, so I scatter them throughout my feed very intentionally. I also try to alternate between close up pictures and pictures that include the surrounding area or room. Another thing I never do is post two black and white photos in a row.
It might help to use a free app like UNUM to plan your posts ahead of time and see how your photos will fit into your feed.
Should I delete my current feed or start a new Instagram account to accommodate my new style?
I get asked all the time whether or not I would recommend starting a brand new Instagram account to get all of the photos cohesive or if I recommend deleting all old photos.
I don’t recommend either! Those pictures are precious. They’re part of your story and you don’t want to lose those photos or their captions. As far as starting a second instagram, that is totally your call, but I would recommend to just start implementing your new photography style and in a few days you wont even be able to see the old photos.
I hope this post helps you as you develop your own photography style. I would love to hear what you decide on or what you think your style might be! I would also love to see how you design your Instagram feed to be cohesive! Tell me about your photography style and drop your insta handle in the comments below so I can check out your feed!
If you love taking pictures of your kids but you don’t know how to take quality pictures or how tell a story with your images, I want to help!
I’ve created a free photography course just for moms to help you get started.
I want the time you spend behind the camera to be worthwhile and produce great images and stories so you can spend the rest of your time living in the moment with your family.