Cassandra from Cassandra Monroe
is here to give you the in’s + out’s of finding your photography style and photographing what you’re passionate about. It’s all about doing what you love!
There are some great photography tips here at The Blogger Collective, ranging from the 101 basics of optimizing your photography
to photographing food
. However, there’s another photography-related subject I wanted to speak about: finding your photography style, knowing what you’re passionate about photographing, and understanding the different types of photography categories you can specialize in. (Bonus: Knowing these things will help take your blog to the next level!)
First and foremost, I should add I come from a military photojournalist background– so I photographed images in hopes to help tell a story. My images would later pair with a feature article written on the same subject I was photographing.
After I returned home from my first deployment in 2010, I knew I wanted to begin my photography journey on the civilian side. At the time, I thought I should just shoot anything and everything, without really taking the time to figure out what I actually loved to shoot. Landscapes, buildings and urban settings, families and children– you name it, I shot it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy shooting those things, because I did. I just wasn’t feeling creatively challenged or passionate about what I was shooting, which– believe it or not– led me to a temporary breakup with photography.
I was then sent on another overseas deployment where I went back to photojournalism + writing accompanying articles, but this time, I became interested in styling and shooting food, which led me to start my blog. Because I was on a deployment, I didn’t have access to a lot of props (I was just thankful to be able to use a kitchen on this unique deployment) so I really had to improvise. Trying to style food with little access to props made me excited to get home and expand on my creativity. I’m actually really thankful for that deployment because it ignited a fire in me and gave me the motivation I needed to get back into photography– I realized there was a certain style I hadn’t experienced yet, and I was excited to pursue it.
Finding what you’re passionate about photographing takes a lot of time, practice, and perseverance, so don’t get discouraged– I’m finally getting to where I want to be style-wise, but I’m always looking to improve in some way.
Whether you’re new to photography, looking to expand your expertise, or you’re a blogger who’s looking at creating original content for his or her blog, keep in mind there are several styles of photography you could potentially have a passion for:
Photographing people can be so rewarding, especially when you see the look of happiness on your subject’s faces when you capture their moments. Besides the usual wedding or family photography path, you could also get into working with creatives specifically by providing bloggers with head shots or imagery for their blogs. If you’re a blogger who’s getting into photography, try teaming up with one another blogger friend to work together on photographing each other.
There is a huge market for travel photography, weekend guides, and city tours. On your next vacation or trip, take your camera along and document everything– what and where you ate, stayed, and did. Get in touch with the photojournalist inside of you and write a story about what you experienced.
Food and Food Styling
Food and food styling can be so fun– it’s basically an excuse to play with your food! There’s also a lot of work that goes into it, and your camera settings and food styling can make or break your images. Practice goes a long way, but also pay attention to how your food works and style it accordingly.
Lifestyle and Editorial Styled Shoots
This is a pretty big category that encompasses a lot– from styling your favorite beauty products in a gorgeous, appealing flat lay, to photographing a home tour, to organizing a styled shoot with local vendors. These categories are very close to commercial photography but are a great way to open yourself up to collaborate with different brands and other creatives in the industry.
Here are my tips on getting to know your photography style and acting on your passion.
1. What are your subjects and who is your audience?
Maybe you’re finding you love photographing people and fashion– try reaching out to local fashion or lifestyle bloggers and collaborate on a shoot. I know in my anecdote I spoke about shooting anything and everything and not being passionate about it. However, I’m actually grateful it happened that way because it helped me figure out what I do want to specialize in.
2. What styles are you consistently attracted to?
Answering this question could be as simple as curating your Instagram feed or paying attention to what you’re pinning on Pinterest. Is there a certain style you’re attracted to? Maybe it’s dark and brooding images of carefully styled meals, or maybe you’re a sucker for light and airy interiors. That is your subconscious telling you about your personal style– act on it! Learn to style your images or practicing flat lays.
3. Take the time to be inspired and expose yourself to new surroundings.
Check out your local small businesses or take a stroll in a neighborhood you have yet to explore. Sometimes by giving yourself a breather from your usual routine, you find beauty and inspiration in unexpected places.
4. Practice and play around.
This is a tried and true method! Let’s use photographing a flat lay for example: there are times where I’m photographing a styled arrangement and photographing it from above (i.e., a flat lay.) I’ll often change the order of said arrangement several times until I find that perfect angle that speaks to me. Sometimes through playing around with different angles and styles, you learn more about what style speaks to you best.
5. Remember that you have the power of creativity.
Yes, you! I don’t have enough fingers to count how many times I said, “Wow, I wish I could shoot something like that,” after browsing through Pinterest or Instagram. Suddenly, my thought process changed to, “I can and will photograph something like this. I can style and create my own content.” You have the power to create beautiful imagery; be in touch with your creativity and know you can photograph, style, and do anything you set your mind to. To quote Drake (yep- I’m doin’ it): “Know yourself, know your worth.”
I encourage you to take the time to find what you’re passionate about photographing and experimenting with your creativity. Please, please tag me in your styled Instagrams (@cassandramonroe
); I’d love to see what you’re passionate about photographing!
Cassandra blogs at Cassandra Monroe and is a contributor for The Blogger Collective.