Have you ever seen a painting or photograph and thought “This might be (artist name)’s work” that is personal/signature style!

A written signature is unique to every individual, although it’s a, written form. When it comes to creative work, like photography, painting, drawing, designing etc. a signature is as unique, except it’s not a written form. Consider it more as an invisible stamp of the artist representing very well that it’s their work. You might have that horrifying friend who eats the pizza from the back, that’s their signature style of eating. When you see a half eaten slice, you’ll instantly recognise it’s them! Just kidding 😛

Though this post isn’t about why personal / signature style is important in photography, (hopefully ill write about its importance soon) personal/signature style is why people would follow, recognise and appreciate your work. And even hire you for it.

If you are reading this post you are probably wondering how to create your own signature style in photography. Although it doesn’t come overnight, rather takes years to develop and to be honest comes automatically. But there are some exercises you can do to understand your personal style and hone it further.

Collect Photos

Collect about 150-200 photos that you like from various photographers. Google and Pinterest are very helpful for this. Once you have them, edit them to the best 10 you like. You may do this in several passes, editing down from 200 to 150, 100, 80, 40, 20, 10 as you go in passes.

Edit your own photos

from all the photos you have ever shot, edit them down to best 10. Just like you did for the previous step. it’s best to have old photos here so you don’t have any emotional attachment to the recent works you may have created which would pollute your decisions. Like the recent pet photo, you made which you cannot get over. On that note, if you have a cat snapshot in your portfolio, while you are a portrait photographer, you should sell your camera immediately. B&Hphotovideo or Adorama are good places. Yes, I even linked them. You’re welcome 😛

Study these 20 photos

By now you should have 20 photos. 10 of various photographers and 10 of your own. let’s start with the other photographer’s works.

Study these 10 photos in detail. Lighting, composition, colour grading, elements in the photo, expressions, clothes, literally every little detail in the photos. and note them down photo by photo. for example

  1. Straight face, black shirt, hard lighting, plain grey background, closeup
  2. black shirt, laughing, closeup, natural light
  3. closeup, hard lighting, straight face
  4. etc

Now do the same with the 10 photos from your own work.

Study the commonalities

By the end, you should have every photo described in a very similar fashion to how you would keyword photos. These are the details you saw in those photos and it may differ from every individual. This is what describes how uniquely you view certain images compared to how any other individual would. Remember that friend who views the pizza slice wrong side front? exactly!

You will have similarities in these keywords. Like in the example above, closeup exists in all the three photos. So most probably closeup is what I like. Or whoever wrote those 3 as an example. I did, isn’t it? no, I didn’t! I don’t know who did :S 😛 Yes I did!

These similarities are what describes your style, your passion and your way to see and make photos. Uniquely you, uniquely your style.

Do let me know in the comments if this helped you. Have a great weekend and hope that helps. As always, thank you for reading!