When I was a young and inexperienced photographer, I wondered how my favourite artists created such stunning and meaningful images. Each one had an individual style which I would've been able to detect anywhere without being given the artist's name beforehand."How," I mused, "did these people find the creative spark and the abilities to come up with something that touched friends and strangers alike?" I myself wasn't able to achieve results even close to the ones I craved. I even tried copying styles, but all of my efforts were to no avail. I simply couldn't do it. The aforementioned question continuously haunted me as I took hundreds of pictures, disliked my results, and tried all over again.
At one point, I began to believe that I had no talent whatsoever. I had a camera and my own face to photograph, yet I found absolutely no stability in my work. My passion for taking pictures, however, fervently pushed that thought away. This creative battle went on for a while, both sides violently fighting for my attention. I can't remember the exact time it happened - such things aren't sudden - but eventually, I began to feel a gradual and natural increase in confidence. Though all kinds of insecurities and fears still tempted me, the loudest creative voice in my mind was a soothing one. Miraculously, I found comfort in my style and was able to define it with ease, though that didn't stop me from seeking improvement.
It's far easier to assess art in retrospect than to fully understand one's recent work. Even images taken a month ago attain an almost foreign atmosphere, reminiscent of friends you haven't seen in years. This is beautiful and helpful, as it allows the photographer to notice patterns in mistakes, preferences, and most importantly, style. The more you photograph, the closer you'll come to discovering your own style. Though it won't be an overnight success, so to speak, it will certainly be noticeable at one point or another. This is why photography projects which encourage regular photo-taking are indispensable (such as the 365 or the 52 week challenges). Sticking to artistic stability will give you a chance to look back on your work more often, thus giving you a better idea of your creative identity (which everybody possesses, no matter what their fears say).
Post-processing is another crucial component - experimenting with it will boost the development of your style. Since there are so many colour enhancers available out there (Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions, just to name a few) it's not surprising that there's a unique place for any photographer in the editing world. Lightroom presets, for example, can be altered to match the photographer's individual taste; Photoshop has layers which can be organized and combined to create the perfect photograph. As is the case with shooting, the more you edit, the more patterns you'll notice, and the easier it'll be to define your own style. Once you find an editing style you're happy with, you'll obtain more confidence as a photographer. Being able to rely on an editing feature will encourage you to experiment more, giving you a chance to evolve both mentally and creatively.
No matter how brilliant any artist's style may be, remember that there's always room for improvement. Even when you do gain a level of artistic confidence, don't stop there. Keep pursuing creative growth and new kinds of styles. Remember, your editing and shooting styles might change with time, but if you find your artistic style - the unique emotions you pour into your work - your images will always stand out and remain exclusively, marvellously yours.
About the Author: Taya Iv is an admirer of books, nature, and photography; She spends her life loving (and writing about) all three. She hopes to inspire others to find beauty in everything - including themselves - and to make the most of what they have. All of the images shown in this article were photographed by Taya.