Finding your voice. Are you a photographer struggling with how to figure out exactly who you are as an artist? One of the topics I teach when I do one on one mentoring is “How to find your voice”. Here I’m going to give you the condensed version of my three step process to get get you started down the right path! Finding our voice isn’t something that can be done overnight. It’s a long journey and I don’t think we ever truly reach the destination. Our style is forever growing and evolving, and that’s a good thing! But what we can do is find some consistency. We can figure out what it is that we want to say through our work so that our clients can know what to expect from us AND so that we attract the people who resonate with our work and our vision!
Step 1- finding your voice (What do you want to say?)
When we talk about our voice, what we’ve got to fist ask ourselves is “what is it that I want to say?”. The very first exercise I suggest in finding your voice is to think of three words that you want your work to say. For example, mine are GENUINE, EMOTIVE, ARTISTIC. I picked these three words because the goal of my photography is to document people and their connection sin an authentic and artful way that makes people feel something. What are your words? They might be something like WARM, MOODY, CONNECTION or CLASSIC, JOYFUL, STORYTELLING…you get the idea!
This “discovery ” phase of finding your voice is explored in much greater detail with my mentoring clients, diving into things like what our internal motivators are and how our personalities help in fine tuning our shooting style. But this first step will certainly get you started!
Step 2- Set the mood
After we’ve figured out our three words the next step in my method of teaching photographers how to nail down and strengthen their voice is to make a mood board. Pinterest is the easiest way to do this. Think about your three words and then pin away! Save anything that makes you feel these words. It can be colors, places, specific weather…don’t restrict yourself in your pinning. Save all of the things that really make you FEEL your words. Also, pin your own work and the work of others that inspires you! Remember, only save the images that embody your words. At the end of this exercise we want your mood board to ooze with the essence of your chosen words.
Step 3- Get clear about your message
We’ve figured out what we want to say. Then we made a mood board of all the things and images that we feel reflect the words we’ve chosen. This mood board should give you a pretty good idea of the little nuances in your voice that go beyond those initial three words. Maybe you see an abundance of warm colors. Perhaps a lot of shadow play. You might notice that many things you pinned make you feel cozy or adventurous or nostalgic. Keep these nuances in mind while doing the next step!
The final step ( for the purpose of this blog post) is to take a good look at your own body of work. Head to your portfolio or your Instagram feed, wherever you showcase your work, and do an evaluation. Ask yourself which images are truly saying what it is that you want to say. Which ones fall short? Remove the photos that aren’t reflective of your voice. And going forward only post/showcase the ones that are. THIS is essential in attracting the clients that resonate with you and your style.
If you found this process helpful but would appreciate some more in depth assistance in finding your voice, shoot me an email HERE and we can talk about the one on one mentoring programs that I offer.
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