How to Find Your Photography Style

One of the hardest parts about just starting out with photography is to try and find your unique style. With so many variations out there it can be overwhelming to know where to begin; journalistic? Dark and moody? Fully staged scene? Black and white? Maybe I'm overwhelming you right now...

Here are a few things that I've found useful in my path as a photographer, and some ideas of where you can begin too.

How to find your photography style, a simple action step guide that walks artists through finding their own voice

Embrace the Copycatism

Yep, pretty sure copycatism isn't a word, but it gets the point across. When I first started I had a few photographs whose styles I was completely in love with - Laura Makabresku, Rosie Hardy, and David Talley. They all have really unique photographic styles, but there are a few similar threads throughout that I picked up on; creating a story in an image, dark tones, and natural landscapes. In the beginning I was looking at their photographs for inspiration and from there I would try and put my own twist on it.

Action steps;

  • Find photographers that you admire

  • Source inspiration from them and create your own work

Decipher What You Like

After you've found some photographers that you feel drawn to, try and figure out what it is specifically that you like about their work. Is it the angle they shoot at? Is it the backgrounds they choose? Is it how light or dark the image is? Maybe what's inside the image - is it portraits or still life? See if there's a common thread throughout the photographs you're drawn to and it will help you narrow down what you want to shoot. 

Action steps;

  • Decipher the elements you like in the photographs

  • Find a common thread

  • Use those elements in your own photographs

Over time you won't have to look at photos from other photographs for inspiration anymore. Once you know the type of elements in photographs that you enjoy, you'll be able to narrow down a repeating set of styles and adapted them to your own unique vision. Knowing those things that you like in photos will help you slowly realize what your style is, and how to make it your own.


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Katharine Hannah

Katharine’s work has graced the walls of institutions such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Harold Washington Library of Chicago, and local galleries such as Dreambox Gallery, Siragus Gallery and Blick Art Materials. She has also been featured on websites such as the Huffington Post, Phlearn, Fstoppers, Tigress Magazine for Girls, Bitchtopia, and Golden Boy Press.

In addition to photography, Katharine has been a mentor and educator in the arts since 2013. She has worked with students in various organizations and projects over the last two years, including Hive Chicago’s PROjectUS initiative and Digital Youth Network’s Digital Diva’s and Chicago City of Learning programs.