Have you ever felt like you were lost in a sea of people (especially on Instagram ;))? I know as a photographer that it can feel overwhelming when your see so many other folks do the same thing as you. However, I want you to feel confident in the photos you take and share. SO, here are 5 ways to find your aesthetic as a new photographer.
#1 What do you naturally gravitate towards?
I like to take a step back and just look at the things that I enjoy. For example, I first like to think about how I like to decorate my room. Am I minimalist? Do I seem more eclectic or do I like a modern, sleek feel?
I encourage you to answer the question honestly. You want to be 100% open with yourself to see where you land.
#2 Who inspires you?
Asking this question really hones in on the people you admire and ultimately replicate. I like to make a list of a few different kinds people. I include someone who I know personally, a person whose in the professional field that I'm in and another person who has a professional career that's different than mine but that I still admire.
In my case, I personally am inspired by my mama. She's quirky and is always thinking of ways to be efficient, practically and creatively. I'm a photographer and I really admire the work of Amy Gray. She's loud with her style, and I see love and character in each photo. A different working professional that I'm inspired by is Elsie Larson the co-founder and blogger of A Beautiful Mess. I absolutely love how she incorporates color in her everyday clothing and home decor.
Now I encourage you to list out at least 10 reasons why each person admires you. You'll probably start seeing a trend.
#3 Look at your most engaging posts on Instagram.
If you have an Instagram feed, this is the time where you are going to utilize it to best understand how your audience resonates with what you're sharing.
List out the last 10-15 photos you've posted, and write down how many likes and comments you're getting on each photo. You also want to describe the type of photo that it is.
If you have a business profile on Instagram, you can click "View Insights" under the photo and everything will be listed for you. If not, you can simply just count the total numbers on each photo.
The number of followers doesn't matter. If you're an account with 300 followers and your maximum engagement is 30 likes and 5 comments, that's awesome! On the flip side, if you have a following of 150k and have 2,000 likes on each photo, that's awesome too!
We are just at a place to understand what your audience is responding to. People are attracted or repelled, and those who are attracted to your aesthetic will engage.
#4 Review your engagement.
Now we get to look at what's being talked about. Do you see a trend in your top 3 most engaged photos? I'm sure you do, so now make a list of what those trends are. Think of color, perspective, the subject, the location etc.
Recently, I did this and the photos that were most liked and comment were the ones that were SUPER colorful and really unique/ personal. I noticed that my audience resonates with my personal life (like my cat Carmello) and they really like it when I photograph an engagement ring or floral bouquet with a unique perspective.
#5 Listen and photograph.
Now that you've got an idea of your style, who inspires you and what your audience engages with, you can start shooting with this new perspective. I hear time and time again, that your aesthetic should attract or repel. If you're in between, your voice can sound mucky and get lost among the rest.
Remember, as a new photographer, you are learning and exploring! It's totally okay for your aesthetic to change or develop over time.
I'd love to get your feedback on this topic! Was it interesting? Would you like me to expand more? Please leave a comment with any other questions you may have!