Ep 32: Work it! How to find and develop your own photographic style


It’s vital that you develop your own photographic style. When you’re an emerging photographer, you can spend a lot of time trying to create the “look” that your client wants (and that’s ok!). But you also need to devote time to creating and nurturing your own style. In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss the steps you need to take in order to discover the signature style that you can call your own, whether that’s glamour, grit – or anything in between. Photographers like Herb Ritts, Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon and even Anne Geddes all have an iconic style that can be recognised anywhere. That can happen to you too. Have a listen to find out how!

This week’s theme for #ginachallenge is “style”! Interpret that however you like.

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Show notes

Thanks to Steve Eather for your feedback:
Hi Ladies, have just recently discovered your podcasts and now listen to them when I’m in the office typing reports – yahoo! I really appreciate your time and generosity – combined with some wit and wisdom, it makes for a great listen. Just one tip though, when giving some info out to your audience, remember that you have both genders listening … I can’t see myself approaching a lady with a comment “wow, thats a nice bag” or something similar (think your tip about approaching a guy in a suit, starting with “handsome man …”!). So, some bloke tips would also go down well for us males :).
Keep up the good work, blessings,

Photo critique:
Photo by Lalit Mohan Joshi

Lalit Mohan Joshi photo

Apps Gina loves:
Snapseed (Android)
Snapseed (Apple)

Why creative people are wonderful partners

YONGNUO YN2.0X III YN-2.0X III Teleconverter Extender Auto Focus Lens for Canon EOS EF Lens

How to find and develop your own photographic style

Quotes Gina loves:
“Style is a reflection of your attitude and your personality.” – Shawn Ashmore
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” – Gore Vidal
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” – Rachel Zoe
“It’s not what we say but how we say it that matters.” -Fellini

Examples of strong photographic style:

Style can be based on a particular subject

Anne Geddes is known for taking photos of babies:

Anne Geddes

Ansel Adams is renown for his amazing black and white landscapes:

Ansel Adams

Cindy Sherman shot films stills as portraits:

Cindy Sherman

Jimmy Nelson photographed indigenous tribes:

Jimmy Nelson

Style can be based on how you use light

Herb Ritts shows with really hard light:
Hard light

Jill Greenberg uses many lights:

Jill Greenberg

Annie Leibovitz has a soft lighting style:

Annie Leibovitz

Style can be based around the gear you use

Martin Schoeller shot very tight portraits with wide angle:

Martin Schoeller

Gina’s favourite movie scene of all time – Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver

Style can be based on post production techniques

Joel Grimes gritty/edgy style:

Joel Grimes

Useful links:
Herb Ritts
Annie Leibovitz
Joel Grimes

Why you need to develop a unique style as a photographer
Copying another style will only take you so far. If you want to really get noticed you need to lead. Do something unique.

How do you develop a style

  1. Study art
  2. Travel and learn as much as you can about everything that interests you.
  3. Study as many different art forms as possible including literature/fine art/poetry/music/popular culture.
  4. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
  5. Talk passionately about your art. If you can’t get excited about what you do how is anyone else going to?
  6. The day you stop learning is the beginning of the end. Never be satisfied.
  7. Experiment and take risks. Step out of your comfort zone. Shooting safe can get boring. Try adding a light removing a light. Daylight only/fiil flash/hard/soft/back lit/black and white/pastel. It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake. Your early attempts will suck but you will evolve.
  8. Photograph the things you are passionate about. Spend time each week on passion projects.

Undertake a project! Here are a few project suggestions

Martin Schoeller twins

Martin Schoeller twins project

  • 30 day project
  • Red heads only
  • 50mm project/28mm/100mm
  • iPhone only
  • Reflections
  • Black and white only
  • Blue/red/yellow
  • Ted balloon
  • Same spot every day project
  • Self portrait every day
  • 100 stranger project

#ginachallenge is “Style”


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About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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