View Full Version : T12E - Style

10-15-2010, 07:47 PM
Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.

That pretty much sums it up, kinda tough one to talk about. So like photojournalism weddings is a style. Vargas girls is a style. It may be easier to understand if you first think about this in terms af artwork, like pointilism, impressonism, photorealism etc. I am sure that sometimes you see a print and you just know who the maker is. That's because they have a recognizable or distinct style. I believe it's harder to see the characteristics of your own personal style then it is to recognize them in someones elses work. No one particular style is right or wrong for competition. It's more about what it says in the last line above, does the style enhance the image? So maybe the best thing here would be to talk about some distinctive styles and share examples.


10-16-2010, 08:31 PM
The late photojournalist Robert Capa used to say, "If a picture's not good enough, you weren't close enough".

This could be seen as more of a composition statement but for me it has become a big part of my style. Most every session I do has a series of really tight face shots included. To me it's more like a security blanket because when all else fails I know I can make the client happy with those.

I also tend to work with tilts a lot(too much to be exact). I love having my subjects extend from corner to corner.

In reviewing my work it appears as though I really don't like the tops of people's heads as well. It's not accidental when I shoot this way I simply compose in camera until I see what I like and more often than not the top of the head is gone.

Combine those items with a love for high contrast and deep saturation and I guess you could call that somewhat of a style marker.


10-18-2010, 08:54 PM
This is an area that I hope more people will comment on. Since trying to get back to work after moving, I've been trying to re-create an image, and in doing so, trying to create a "Style". I keep trying to find something about my work that sets me apart or gives me that "style", but I seem at a loss.

As to other people's style, one that I love is Ansel Adams. When you see his work, you just know it's his. Someone on this forum that you can definitely guess her style, I think, would be Stephanie Millner. Her work with animals has a specific style to it.

10-19-2010, 12:46 AM
How would you describe your style Keith? That might give us an idea of where to start. I spend a lot of my spare time looking at people's work and trying to figure out what makes them tick. I've seen some very impressive images lately but I have a hard time distinguishing styles. Marc's wedding images come to mind as well as his incredible dance photos. I would love to get some input from him about how he arrived at his style.

I think this is a very important element and I also feel it's my weakest area. Maybe it's just that I don't recognise my own own style.

10-19-2010, 06:26 PM
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that I have a style that defines me. I'm not really sure I can describe it though ;)

I've been told by several people/clients that they can always tell when an image is ours.

Now, how to define or name other styles I can't do......

10-19-2010, 10:06 PM
The late photojournalist Robert Capa used to say, "If a picture's not good enough, you weren't close enough".

If I remember correctly, Capa was referring to reportage and covering an event from inside up-close as opposed to covering it from afar. He was most remembered for his WWII images which I get to see quite often when covering events at the National WWII museum located in downtown New Orleans. He created some awesome very memorable images, but unfortunately, he also died photographing WWII. Not being insensitive, but sometimes you can get a bit too close.

10-19-2010, 10:11 PM
Here's a question. Besides traditional and photojournalistic, what other terms would you use to discribe a specific style?

10-21-2010, 08:22 AM
Style as it applies to Print Competition is probably one of the elements that could be not as strong if the point of competing is just to hang (I realize that this will probably be a term that will go away in 10 years or so) or to merit. A lot of people (including me at the beginning) are able to hang non uniquely stylized images.

However if used appropriately, a style (or look) choice will lead to a better image of an overly photographed or otherwise boring subject and/or situation.

I think the process or flow goes like:


In my case, I managed to combine advanced techniques (out of sheer problem solving during time crunches during actual weddings) that led to a style that's consistent, repeatable and very distinct and/or unique to me for the time being.

Here are a few examples of when I combined infrared photography with natural back lighting and strong center composition.



Now what do I call this style since it's certainly not traditional, hardly fashion and absolutely not photo journalistic? This is what I call my unique Illustrative approach to wedding photography.


About my dance photography...

Thanks so much for liking my work Greg however, as strong as my techniques are, that style is really a sort of homage to my dance photography mentor Lois Greenfield.

The only thing that I bring to the table is my almost OCD type obsession with precision edge lighting.


I've managed to master the technical and am able to bring out the best looks from the dancers (these btw are not pro dancers, kids at local dance studio) however I'm still working on that breakout look and feel. Oh and I am absolutely not going "painterly" on these since that would just defeat the look of simplicity achieved by the precision stop motion work.

10-21-2010, 11:40 AM
It's been interesting for us to watch Marc over the last few years. We know who his mentors are and each step of the way we have watched as he has taken aspects of their unique styles and combined them into his own. His work is not exactly like any of his mentors. He doesn't copy, he incorporates and that has created a whole new style that's just his.

I'm off on vacation. I'll post the next element when I get back next week.


10-21-2010, 03:35 PM
I know it was probably very simple to everyone else but now I think I'm getting a better understanding of what is involved in developing a style.

In my mind it's sort of like capitalizing on certain techniques and using them in many ways to achieve a look which brings that technique to the forefront, even if it's subtle, to bring out the best of an image.

I have admired Marc's dance work from the first day I saw it but until now I never noticed how the edge lighting is what set it apart from other work. Now that I've heard him explain this I can look and see where this technique is repeated quite successfully to create a stunning result. The strong center composition of his infared images is very obvious but it never occurred to me before because I was in awe of the images as a whole. Looking back I can see where it's that center composition combined with extreme wide angle and back lighting that gives them the wow factor we see. Simple elements used in a superb fashion. Now that's style!

10-21-2010, 04:29 PM
And...addressing a different element...composition. Marc's center placement breaks the rules but makes the image. :)

Marc KNOWS the rules and KNOWS when breaking them is going to work.