One of the classic bits of advice I heard from Jeff Goins about writing is that you need to “find your writing voice”, the tone and style with which you write. This will be the thing which separates you from every other writer and attracts people to you, it’s the thing which will stay true to you whether you write an article about computer or one about travel.
As correct as Jeff was about the need to find your writing voice, his advice also translates across to finding your photographic voice and that is a journey which I am still on.
What is your photographic voice?
Like your writing voice, your photographic voice is the unique way you approach photography. It’s the way that two photographers can be presented with the same scene, the same subject and the same gear but take a completely different photograph.
Some elements can be distilled into easy to describe attributes like preferring HDR photography, the type of colour pallet that you like to use. However, other aspects are harder to describe, even if they can be described. Those aspects that make you approach a photo in a different way to the person next to you.
How do you find your photographic voice?
The key step that Jeff Goins advises to help you find your writing voice is…WRITE! Yup, one of the best ways to discover the way that you write is to write and see what happened and it’s similar with photography. When you take photos, you explore your photographic voice. You develop your style and start to adjust your photographic vision and voice.
Of course, there are different types of practice like this. You could just go and take the same picture with the same approach and same style everyday. Or you could experiment, try new things, seek inspiration from other photos which you’ve seen and try to recreate them.
The latter is more powerful and effective and will help you develop a more unique voice rather than a rehashing of others. There’s a quote I heard from an airforce pilot.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, Perfect practice makes perfect.
While perfect practice may not be possible, we can certainly have better practice.
5 steps to develop your photographic voice
- Take photos everyday
- Write down what you like taking photos of
- Create an inspiration board (I recommend Pinterest)
- Emulate others photographs
- Go on photo walks and compare how you see a scene with other photographers.
These are just a few ideas and I’m not saying these are the only options or will work for you. The thing is, I’m still discovering my photographic voice and these are the techniques that I am using. I’d love to know how you have developed your photographic voice.
What tips do you have for developing your photographic voice?
BONUS ideas from other photographers
- Take a picture of the similar situations and scene, remember what settings you used before and adapt [from Georg Cizek-Graf ]
- Make a “reportage”, try telling a story and document a place or event. Choose only 7-8 with an opening image, a shot that shows where you are, a couple of shots to describe where you are, one shot or element which best represents the story and then a shot to round up [via Mathieu Gasquet]