John Suler's Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche

Artistic Voice

With millions of photographers online, and billions of images, how do you develop a unique style?
What makes your photography different from the rest? How do you find your artistic voice?

Your subject matter and technique
Two factors come into play. First is your subject matter. What themes, issues, ideas, and emotions do you portray in your images? Then there’s your technique. What camera, lens, filters, lighting, viewpoints, composition, and image editing strategies do you use to shape your images?

But is it possible to be really different?
Despite the complexity of just these two variables, some people would say that it’s almost impossible to be truly unique. There are just too many images and only a limited number of styles and subjects to go around. No matter what image you create, look around long enough and you’ll find many other images very similar to it. If you want to be truly different, you’ll have to work quite hard at finding your unique voice. Maybe you have to be a genuine genius.

You can't help but be unique.

Some might say the exact opposite. You can’t help but be unique, even if you’re an amateur who has no desire to be an artist. Every human has a unique personality and life.  One’s photography always reflects one’s personality and life. Therefore, one’s photography is always unique. It’s that simple. If you want to get concrete about it, everyone’s voice sounds different. So too everyone’s photography looks different.

It's about your vision and how your express it
Maybe the truth is somewhere between these two viewpoints. For those striving to find their artistic voice in photography, the challenge isn’t about doing something that no one else has done. The challenge is to figure out who you are, what’s important to you, and to master the techniques that help you express it.

Some will and some won't like your style
Some people will like your style because it’s similar to or different than theirs. Other people won’t like your style because it’s similar to or different than theirs. Some people will and some people won’t like it when you do something that’s different than your usual style.  That’s just how human relationships work, not just in photography, but in life. Hopefully these sorts of things help rather than hinder you in finding your voice.

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Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche