Finding Your Photography Style | Minneapolis Portrait Photographer

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Henri Cartier-Bresson
Twin Cities Family Photographer

On October 1st, 2014 when I decided to get serious about my photography I quickly became frustrated with the editing process.  Don't get me wrong, I love to edit (almost as much as I love to shoot) but the frustration came when I noticed that none of my images were very consistent.

That said however, I can still look at these and see elements of my photography that are still present today.  And that's what you need to look for.  Even with technical flaws (and there are many) my voice is still there.

The first image, for example:  Looking at it now I hate the processing, I don't like the angle, and I don't like all of the distractions in the frame.  

If I were to take this picture now it would look more like this:

Minneapolis Family Photographer

Granted he's reading instead of writing but the photo would be the same if he were.  Rather than focusing on him I'd focus on what he is doing.  I love how his little finger follows the text and how the camera is taking a peek into his world rather than photographing it from my perspective.   The similarity in voice in both pictures is that I wanted to capture the beginning of his learning process.  This is my eldest son learning skills that he will use the rest of his life.  So while they are two VERY different images the voice and the intention behind it is still there. 

This photo is the truest to my current style even though it was taken at the beginning of my journey.  If I were to take this image now it would be something like this:

Apple Valley Senior Photographer

The contrast and deep shadows are almost identical.  The difference is simply the intention of the photo.  Rather than letting the light alone create the mystery I positioned myself away from it to create the mystery with my pose and expression as well. 

While I don't love the texture in the wall coming out of my head or the out of whack white balance in this image I can look at this and immediately tell you the similarities between this image and my current style.  The fact that the frame is nearly void of most other distractions.  I am a sucker for a clean image where the subject(s) are the main focus without a lot of extra.

Twin Cities Photographer

In this one there are just a couple of pops of green that compliment both his hair and the green on his shirt.  

So how do you put all of this "voice" business in to practice?  Simple.  If you've been shooting for awhile do exactly what I did.  Select a handful of your favorite images from back in the day and study them.  What do they have in common with your current body of work?  What do you look at and immediately cringe to see?  These things are part of your voice and part of your style.

Just starting out?  No problem!  Create a new Pinterest board and go hunting.  Type something like "dramatic portrait" or "wildlife photography" into the search bar.  Anything that catches your eye as a beautiful image pin to that board.  Do this for a week without looking at the board as a whole.  At the end of seven days look at the board.  What do all of these images have in common?  Are they matte?  Clean?  Does the subject fill the frame or are they far off in the distance?  Find the common thread and try to incorporate those elements into your own work!

All of that said, creating and visualizing your personal style isn't a goal to be met.  It's an ongoing process that is ever-changing and evolving because as you learn and as you grow your tastes will change.  What you love now you may look at later and hate.  But the "you", the thing that makes your photography your own will always be there in one form or another.  

senior pictures st paul


  1. I love reading about your evolution as a photographer. That last picture is striking.

    1. Thank you Deb! We had to work a bit for that last photo but I love it =)

  2. Being able to see your growth collectively like this is so awesome, Chrissy! Great tips! And I looove the example of a current self-portrait - beautiful!

    1. Thank you Chanel! That means a lot coming from the queen of self-portraits!! <3