It has been forever and a minute since I did an opinion or advice post for DSmithImages Wedding Photography, Portraits, and Events, but I wanted to get that ball rolling again with something that is quite important for me in the overall world of photography. That would be the concept of crafting your own style and marching to your own beat. I'll tie this to wedding photography, but, honestly, it can apply to any genre or style.
Having my own wedding photography style and not being a carbon copy of someone else's style is, honestly, my chief operating philosophy. It is what keeps me going and what drives me work day after day. I never want someone to say my photos look like someone else's photos. I want them to immediately recognize them as my own and no one else's. My style is a visual interpretation of the reality of the day. I don't go overboard nor do I present the day in a way that didn't actually happen. A wedding day is special enough without having to fabricate things.
I will admit it took me quite a while to find a wedding photography style and approach that I felt like really expressed who I am and what I want others to see. Years were spent being influced by other styles and trying to duplicate whatever look was popular at the time. I finally said enough of that and just started doing things I liked. I implemented tones and colors into a style that I wanted to see and did not take into account what might be popular across the blogs or social media. As a result, I am much happier with the work I put out and the wedding photography I exhibit to potential clients.
I stopped worrying and caring about what everyone else was doing in the wedding photography game. Sure, I keep an eye on what other photographers, especially friends are doing, but I do not let their work dictate what I'm going to do. They're doing their own thing, and I'm doing my own thing. More power to them if they are more successful with their approach compared to mine.
Now I must say this works for me. It might not work for you. In wedding photography, you always have to do what works best for you along with the client. Granted, crafting things to the needs of the client is a discussion for another day. If you are comfortable with replicating a popular style and making it your own, by all means, go for it. Do it and do it big. I am not about to tell you that you should do it this way or else. I'm not that type of photographer and never will be.
I do encourage you, though, to throw caution into the wind and try this approach if you are struggling to find your style. Stop worrying about what's popular, what's trendy, and what everyone else is doing. Stop looking at other wedding photographers for inspiration and find it in different approaches. Go on your own path and see what you find. You might discover that the current popular styles are your thing. You might also discover a completely different style that works for you and your wedding photography output.
Regardless, though, that journey and discovery will be one that you make on your own. That is the important thing, and that is something that will continue to drive my work. It is my own thing, and no one else's. You should be selfish in this regard, especially when you are putting your wedding photography out there for the world and future clients to see.
I hope this helps and would love to hear any comments about what was just discussed!