Have you figured out your style yet? It seems like the quest for a definable style is the holy grail for every professional. We agonize about how the hell we’re going to develop our own and we envy those who seem to have it figured out. So why is it so difficult?
In my opinion we’ve overcomplicated our quest for style. Because it seems like magic from the outside. It looks like raw, creative impulse that we the rabble just can’t seem to embrace. So we toil on, totally-unstylish.
What if there was a formula?
Hear me out. Obviously there isn’t one set of actions we can all take that will spit out a unique style for each of us. But if we deconstruct what a style really is then maybe we can demystify it a little bit. After all, isn’t style nothing more than recognizable elements that keep turning up in your work? So it isn’t about raw creativity, it is about careful application of a repeatable set of techniques. It is deliberate, not magic.
So if you are trying to develop a style think about what elements have to exist in your work for it to be “your” work. Think about what you need to produce at every job. Then think about how it is that you decide to execute on that. If you are a portrait photographer, what kinds of images do you have to create at each session? How do you execute on those images? It may seem crazy that “style” hinges on having a “shot list” and shooting those shots in a particular way, but I don’t think it is too far off.