Do you have a style of photography? Or what is your photographic style? This is a common question that often comes up on safari. It is an interesting topic to talk about and one that I'm sure many people will probably disagree with what I am about to say, but that's ok, it's just my opinion.
If you ask me - Trevor, do you have a style of photography? My simple answer is no. Don't get me wrong, I do like to do things a certain way and I look for certain opportunities out in the field, especially when it comes to black and white photographs, but does that mean I have a style? I don't think so.
There are definitely different aspects that we gravitate to and that we look for in images. I think, most of a persons constantly evolving style comes through post processing an image. There can be two photographers in a vehicle, right next to one another shooting with the same settings, but have a very different end result. Why? Because their editing is where the so-called 'style' comes into play.
If you are attracted to slow shutter images and like to play with time you need to stop, speed things up and shoot different types of images. Freeze the action. If you always shoot the very wide angle images with a small animal in the corner and cast open spaces you need to go in tighter. I understand that it might be uncomfortable but that's when the real magic happens. That's when you will awaken your wildlife photography muse.
Eventually you will find yourself moving back to the type of images you normally shoot, but the longer you can delay that return the more you will learn as a photographer and the more your work and portfolio will evolve. Your images will always have your flavor which comes from you, your photographic eye and how you process your work, but other than that you need to let go and get out of your comfort zone.
My goal, as a photographic guide and facilitator, is to keep on pushing my guests towards the types of photographs they normally would not even think about taking and more often than not it's the more creative images. This might be why my personal style seems to be somewhere in that realm, but it's not. I'm making a point for it not to be, because if I give in and accept that as my style I will no longer be looking to shoot different types of images and that rut-style argument raises it's ugly head. I recently had a client who I had to pull from the very creative blurs and pans towards more solid, sharp bank shots. It worked because when we looked at his portfolio at the end of the safari it was a stunning combination of unique images and his artistic interpretations of the natural world.
Have a good hard look at your current approach to the craft of wildlife photography and then keep moving.
Keep trying new things.
Until next time,