Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Excellence Should Be Your Style

Sun Rays Over Cummings Mountain - Tehachapi, California
Something that I read often is that every photographer should develop their own unique style. I see this advice all over the internet and in books. I've even told other people that they should work on developing their own style. And I've tried to define what my unique style is.

There are a few problems with this advice. First, it's vague, and defining exactly what "your own style" is an extraordinarily difficult pursuit. Second, your style could and should be continuously evolving (as you evolve)--your "style" tomorrow will be a little different than your "style" today which is a little different than what your "style" was yesterday. Third, just because you have your own recognizable style, doesn't mean that style is actually any good.

I recently realized that I needed to stop worrying about what my style is. You shouldn't worry about developing your own style. Disregard style! Instead, you should strive for excellence, and everything else will fall into place.
Come To Jesus - Pasadena, California
"Forget about the style," said legendary photographer John Free. "Pursue a style of excellence. Excellence in craft, excellence in execution, excellence in showing the shot, excellence in thinking about the shot. That's the style I want."

Do your very best with each exposure from start to finish. You should strive for excellence in your vision, your creativity, your exposure, and your post-processing. Excellence should be your style! No shortcuts. No half-efforts. Do it right, right from the start. It might be more difficult, but good things don't often come easy.

If you are excellent in your photographic pursuit, then your images will reflect this. People will recognize it by looking at your photographs. If the word "excellent" comes to people's minds when they view my images, I have truly succeeded as a photographer. Starting now, excellence is the style that I'm pursuing in my photography. Will you join me?

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