What’s your photography style?

One of the most common question I get from brides and grooms is “What’s your style?”. I think we all get that question a lot from new potential clients and its really an interesting thing to stop and think about. Most clients expect an answer that is a simple one word answer right out of a bridal magazine. I think they expect you to say “I specialize in a Photojournalism sytle” or “Traditional Style” or even something more abstract like an “Artistic Style”. But do you think that your style can be summed up in one word? I really don’t think so, for me that is an impossible question to answer with one word. Am I an artistic photographer? In a way yes, but not fully. Am I a photojournalist? In a way yes, but not 100%. There really isn’t a catch phrase or key word that can describe an artist and what you do. There are general styles that might apply to our work but to get into the deep details about the art we create is more than a buzzword.

Not one simple word describes the work that I create. Maybe that is the best answer to give people. I am an artist with many different experiences and passions that all shape my “style” of photography or my Art. I do really believe that any artist is shaped by their experiences and that their artwork is always growing and evolving. Normally when I get that question asked to me I like to give people a short view into my life so far, I think its really important for people to know who their photographer really is, not just their credentials. My degree in art and studying photojournalism did help shape my photography but really not as much as certain personal experiences have had. The way I interact with my clients and work with people at a wedding is from years of always learning and an extension of my personality which is all shaped by my life’s experiences.

If you don’t know how to really answer this question yet, its a great exercise to walk through and really think about. Review some of your most recent work and start to write down words that first come to your mind. Also show your family and friends work and see what thoughts come to their mind. Then with a list of keywords about your work take some quiet time and think about what those words really mean to you and how you think those works are a reflection of who you are.

A story about Picasso
There is a story I have heard many times about Picasso that always gets me thinking about the art that I create. I have no idea if its true or not but really gets you thinking about what shapes our art and the value of that. It goes something like this.

Picasso was sitting on a bench painting when a woman walked by and noticed him. She said to him:
“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.

“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

I put everything I got into my work and can really relate to that story. A certain shot isn’t just a click of a button for me, all of my experiences, training, school and passion goes into every click of the shutter.
When I meet with new brides and talk about my style of shooting weddings its not a normal sit down and review my work type meeting. Instead its a relaxed chat just like I would have with my friends talking about love and what I am passionate about. I might make them a latte or maybe a few homemade biscotti’s and tell them a few stories of who I really am and why I love photographing weddings.

Share your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Mark,

    You know, it’s a good question, and I like to listen behind it, and then answer with the essence of what my photography is about. Instead of describing a style, I describe what I am aiming for, and clients or viewers tell me I achieve.

    For me, that goes something like this: “I look to tell a story, or bring the feeling in a scene to life. I use color, angle, framing, texture, timing… whatever I can possibly use, to create an emotionally affecting photograph. I see my role as delivering the ‘feel’ of a scene, rather than simply recording it. Experience has helps me anticipate and then take advantage of when things will come together for the right shot…”

    In fact, I am thinking about posting that very thing on one of my gallery pages.

    Good convo, and love the Picasso story…

    ~MKP

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