One of the major differences between a Pro photographer and an amature is that the pros always have a well defined style.
It's fun to take photos of your friends without paying too much attention to details, this is especially true when you buy your first camera. Then you learn new "tricks" like the rule of thirds and eventually invest in some new lenses. Now that you have decided that you want to be a professional, you need to refine the way you shoot. There are a few things you should think about it, and the sooner you do it, the better it is.
The first thing you should ask yourself is what do you want to shoot more than anything else?
Then remember that we are talking about business, so the next thing would be figuring out what specific companies/clients you want to target?
Usually what you like to shoot should be pretty similar to the companies that you want to target, and if so, you should be all set. If not, you'll have to find a balance and figure out which one is more important to you, and how to market what you want to shoot to these companies.
On the business side of things, once you find the companies that you want to work with, you can adapt your style to their needs while still retaining your signature look. You will always have your own vision, techniques and specific gear, which is going to result in your own style.
Before we continue with the style analysis, let's define what style is. I can't say that style is something that you figure out, and that it never changes. Style is more of a journey than a destination, it is constantly evolving and many things could influence it. You will learn new shooting and editing techniques, buy new gear that affects how you shoot, or just change your taste with time. All these thing will influence your style. But then what defines your style? It could be a completely different set of things, for example:
- -Subject matter.
- -Lens choice.
- -Light quality.
- -Editing Technique
So, adapting your style could just mean using more saturation in your final images, or it could mean completely changing your subject matter and gear.
On the creative side of things, you should always shoot what you like and feel good about it. Shooting what you like is going to keep you happy about photography, it will give wings to your creativity. You could also do a little bit of both and combine them. Have your commercial assignments, shoot the stuff that's going to sell better, and then have personal projects that show what you are all about.
In the next article, we are going to go deeper on how to recognize your style, and make sure you always have it in your camera bag.