Style in Photography

So what is style in photography? Style can be defined as, “A particular, distinctive characteristic mode or form of execution, construction, appearance of a visual work which can be associated with a particular person or group of people.” ( In his article Defining Style and Finding Your Own, Ming Thein lists those elements that he believes make up style. 

1. Color (or lack of it)
2. Tonality
3. Perspective
4. Lighting
5. Focal point/ depth of field
6. Fidelity
7. Quirks, the personality of the photographer, or perhaps the X factor

As I have mentioned, I am starting to focus my photography on portraits and headshots. As part of my learning process I have spent a considerable amount of time looking at the work of other photographers. Photographers such as Glyn Dewis, Peter Hurley, Joel Grimes, Dan Winters, Annie Leibovits, Mark Seliger, Joe McNally etc. all have their own distinctive styles. Glyn Dewis believes that, “if you are striving to find your own style, one of the most powerful exercises you can practice is to find influence and inspiration in the work of those around you, and then emulate that work in an effort to define, shape, and grow your own photographic voice.”

So at this point in my development I am studying and trying to emulate the work of other photographers. In the items listed above that make up style, I have been focusing particularly on lighting and tonality. Another key element for me is what happens in the post-processing of the image. I guess this would fit in to #6 above Fidelity. Now of course I am limited to a certain extent by the equipment that I have. I am a speedlight shooter. But I am a strong supporter of the philosophy of working with the gear that you have to achieve the best possible results that you can. And I suppose, the fact that I am a speedlight shooter by choice, is part of my personal style. So far,  I have been focusing on the work of Glyn Dewis and Peter Hurley. They both have very different styles but they are styles that I like. I find that as I try to emulate their styles I am slowly starting to develop a style of my own. No doubt I still have a long way to go in developing my own unique style but I know that it is only through practice, experimentation, and study that I will achieve this goal.

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