As you become more interested in photography and begin taking the necessary steps to improve your craft, you’ll most likely seek out the advice of more experienced photographers to help you out along the way. This is a great way to learn all those tried and true methods and techniques that are essential to becoming a better photographer.
However, one of the things are likely to tell is a little more difficult to execute than learning how to navigate the menu system on your DSLR or understanding how light affects an image. Something you are bound to eventually hear is to develop your own personal style. If you look through the portfolios of some of your favorite, most popular photographers, you’ll notice how they all have one thing in common: a personal style.
Since personal style is somewhat more of an abstract skill rather than a technical skill, it can be a very hard, if not impossible thing to teach someone how to develop. But there are a few pointers we can share to help you get started.
Creating A Moodboard
One of the easiest ways to recognize your own personal style and begin to foster and cultivate it into beautiful works of photographic art is by exploring the things around you. For this, I like to keep moodboards. Boards where I can pin all the things that inspire me and are especially eye-catching to me. Pinterest works fantastic for such a thing since you can keep the boards public or private if you prefer.
There are other options available as well. ImageSpark and MoodStream are both good choices. As are Mural.co and even Evernote. The best bet is to do a quick google search and a little bit of research to see what works best for you, however, most find Pinterest their top choice because they are already using the platform and there’s less of a learning curve to getting started.
What To Put In Your Mood Board
Once you know where you’re going to keep your mood board, the next step is to start adding things to it. I prefer to keep a few different boards going, because I tend to be a little on the organized side of things. For example, I will have one board for landscape photos that inspire me, one for wildlife, one for portraits, etc…
But I don’t just stop at photography either! I also have a couple boards for things I find inspiring outside of my camera hobby. I really enjoy graphic design and architecture, so I keep boards for those as well. I encourage everyone to do the same. The reason being is that your personal photographic style should reflect you as a person. Your personal style inside and outside of the hobbies you take on.
On your moodboards, pin everything that inspires you from the photos you like to the color palettes that call your name to the style of fashion you prefer. The point is to make a collection of the things that represent who you are.
Maintaining Your Mood Board
Once you’ve got a good collection going, take some time looking through the boards and weeding out things that you no longer enjoy, or perhaps have grown away from. Periodically take a step back and look at the collections as a bigger picture and see if you can recognize any common patterns.
Use this information and begin applying it to your photography. Before you know it, you’ll have your own signature look on all the work you produce and your portfolio will begin to look like a cohesive collection instead a series of one off images.