Last year was a turning point for me in many ways. In particular, when it comes to what people call “style”, I had a pretty bumpy ride. When I started off, I didn’t look left or right, I just worked, worked worked, learned and was happy with what I did. I already had a style, a signature to my pictures, I just didn’t know it. And then came Facebook. Lol : )
Halfway through my wedding season 2011 I started questioning myself. Something happened. I was so busy with way too many weddings, that I got stuck. I didn’t feel creative anymore, i was trapped in a wheel of non-stop traveling and never ending weddings and of course there was no way out. I was frustrated, because I thought, I loved my job?! I had started because of love – so what the heck was going wrong?!
Well, sometimes too much is too much. I had an overload. I shot a wedding almost every weekend straight from February to December , downloaded the images, edited them all week, went off to the next wedding, in between I got an image overload on the Internet through other photographers – and I felt everyone was doing the same – including me. The same poses. The same places. The same images. The same edit. It felt like I was seeing the same things every week, like I was doing the same things every week – the same poses, trying to recreate stuff I had seen somewhere else, my head stuffed with images from other photographers.
What I felt most sorry about was the fact that I couldn’t give all my couples 100 %. I couldn’t give my power, creativity and invest myself into every job a 100%.
This made me stop and ask myself some questions. Where was I going? What was happening? With my creativity? With my passion? To find an answer I had to stop looking at other photographers and start looking at myself. I want my pictures to be honest and true. So I had to be honest to me first. I had to look at who I am. And what I like. I had to really think about it and strip all the layers off til only one thing remained: ME. I thought about what kind of pictures touch me. What pictures move me and haunt me. What images are the ones, I think about? The ones that stay with me, long after I stopped looking at them? And then I thought about the kind of images I create when noone is looking? When I don’t care about other voices? What naturally flows out of yourself, when you don’t think about others – that’s probably your style. Ask yourself this question:
What kind of pictures would you create if there were no other pictures in the world to look at?
The conclusion I came to opened up a big door for me. I like Real. I like Natural. I like Out of the moment. I like to see a feeling of some kind. And most of all, I like happy.
These are the kind of pictures I want to create. I want to stop looking to how others do it. I have my own strengths. I can make people smile. I can click the shutter in THAT moment. And going from my strengths, I found out what my way was. There is no point in trying to be someone I am not or trying to stage “fashiony” pictures because that is just not who I am. I found out that the only thing that makes me different from other photographers is myself. So I have to be in the pictures I take. Or they will look like anyone else’s. I am a happy person. Thus my pictures will look happy. I am a very emotional bundle. Thus my pictures will look emotional. I cannot do otherwise.
I don’t want to bring half a house to a photoshoot anymore, I don’t want to fill my shoots with an overload of details – it’s not about the accessories. I feel the less fuss there is in an image, the easier, the lighter and more natural it gets. I want to challenge myself to take an impressive shot just because of the people in it. Just because of what is going on in the picture. To create an impressive photo with lots of nice furniture is easier. To just make an image look impressive by the people that are in it, is harder. And that is exactly what I want to do.
I learned one thing last year: If I embrace my strength, I get better and I grow. So now, instead of fighting against it, I work with it. My Style was always there – because my Style is ME. I just had to see and accept it.
I’ll finish with a preview from my last engagement shoot. This is what I am gonna stick with. Just two people in love. Laughing. Free to be in front of my lens. This is my strength. What is yours? Remember, your style is YOU. It’s already there. Just look and listen. And then go with it.