Discovering your photographic voice can feel like an impossible feat.
But what if I told you that you already have your photographic voice?
When I was just a little girl, I used to stand and stare at the photos on my Meme's shelves and on her walls. Some were taken with a small disposable camera and some with a 35mm. I never stopped staring. I couldn't. There was something about these photos that drew me in and made me stop to take it all in.
It was the warmth in the skin and the vibrant colors and the green. Those film photos are what convinced me that green was my favorite color.
So even though it took me some time to realize what my artistic voice sounded like (blue-green grass, illuminated skin, and a subject that feels confident and beautiful), I have always had a photographic voice. And, in a sense, I have always known what it was.
5 tips for finding your photographic voice
1) Answer this quesiton: What speaks to you?
We we are thinking about what work speaks to us, we get to step away from the photography industry. We get to forget what we've seen in the past. We get to go outside, read a photography book and just think or dream.
Related: My hometown
2) Give yourself permission to see different
What kind of colors and memories make you feel something? Own it. We get to own the unique way we see the world.
Should we learn the basics of photography? Should we learn the rules of composition and light and color? Yes. Absolutely.
And then it's our job to go break the rules and create new ones.
3) Decide what you like and don't like about each image you take
You know those images that make you stop in your tracks and look just a little longer. What made you do that? What made you stop to look?
Maybe it's the color or the lighting or an emotion on display.
Make a note of what lights up your heart about your own work.
Related: Create a Color Profile
4) Answer core questions
Why do you do what you do?
Simon Sinek has a great TED talk on why you should start with why. Listen to it below and write down everything that comes to mind as you listen to it. What creative ideas come to life? What memories are sparked?
5) You work is about you
Your marketing is about your dream client. Your blog is about you dream client. Your website is about your dream client. And, sure, we are going to serve our clients with our work.
But our work will always be about us.
When we create from an authentic place, we cannot help but create images that speak directly to our hearts.
No matter how much someone inspires us, we must embrace our own way of seeing.
Related: Should you shoot JPEG or RAW?
Our industry can be tough at times. Sometimes I hear creatives trying to restrict other creatives with rules or harsh criticism. My first year of business was tied up in rules and more rules. I'd think... "I can’t overexpose and I can’t underexpose. I can’t have images too vibrant or too warm. I cant. I can’t. I can’t."
Yes, you can.
Break the rules. Be different. Let your work inspire you and others. Be an innovator in the photography world. Focus on the beautiful that you see and go photograph it in a way that only you can.