Journal Entry - Week 2 // What's My Style?
W😮W! Let me start by saying how blown away I was with the reception of the first Journal entry. I wasn't expecting such a reception from you all! I'm thankful for everyone that commented and responded on the different social media platforms. I truly appreciate it! Now that I've got you guys to hold me accountable, the pressure is high! This week has been busy and I've got an hour to get this posted by my Monday deadline!
Let's get started....
It's a brand. It's an art. It's a way of telling a visual story. And it's an everlasting struggle. In the depths of my mind, I know what and how I want my images to look and feel like. But the process in producing a large set of images from one wedding isn't easy. Factors include the location/environmental setting, to the client's timeline, and all the way down to editing - it's a beast to wrangle and handle. I've seen consistent style from other wedding photographers and it's beautiful in a way that you know who shot and processed it without even looking at the name. From what I understand, being consistent in your edits and images is finding consistent light and having a consistent ideal client. Being consistent helps your brand grow and be reputable.
As a person who gets fairly bored and needs to be challenged often, I struggle with this. I don't truly know who my ideal client is (besides the ones who pays me the most monies. And I also really love all types of people and only want to shoot those who are deeply in love and aren't afraid to get down and dirty). I know I shot in the shade the best, but want to learn to shoot in bright sunlight while maintaining my editing style and brand. I might feel like I've mastered one method of shooting (backlit vs front, nature vs urban, shallow depth-of-field vs ...not? What's a good acronym for shallow in this context?) and then want to try something different after I've barely mastered another. It's a well known fact that in order to have a consistent style, shooting in the same type of lighting helps a lot in your editing style. A photographers' dream is to shoot during an overcast day. The lighting is perfect and even, and the location wouldn't matter a whole bunch.
One thing that I do know about myself and what I do want to produce is (and I kind of hate these terms) darker and "moodier" images. I use these terms because it's what's thrown around in the photography community; I prefer intimate, romantic and dramatic. I've also had people call my images surreal and full of emotion. I like the latter and not sure how to feel about the former. If your wedding photos looked like a painting, is that good thing in the long run? You know, there's an app for that. My preference in style may have grown come from my idol, Gabe McClintock. His images evokes adventure, strong emotions and a sense of ....wow. I hate to admit it, but I even built my website based off of his. Don't worry though, I've told him that in an email and when I met him once, he didn't bring it up. :)
Ultimately, finding my photography style will be a never-ending journey as trends come and go, technology advances faster than I can keep up with and my taste in style itself my change. My end goal is to capture the most intimate and genuine emotions of my clients. I want them to have a timeless product where in 15-30 years from now, as they show their children or their children's children, photos from their wedding that they not only see but also FEEL what the newlyweds in the images felt. If an image has caught a persons eye for more than 3 seconds (for all the right reasons and feels), I'd like to think I did a good job.
I really rushed though this journal entry and hope my thoughts weren't all over the place. I will definitely expand on these thoughts and theories down the line in these journal entries/blogs. I want to talk more about branding, business, marketing and the process of wedding photography. No, I am no where near an expert in these areas, but I made a commitment to myself and I plan on keeping it. It'll help me slow down and understand what I'm doing myself. If you haven't already, follow along on Facebook @alfredtangphotography, Instagram: @alfredtangweddings, or Twitter @alfredtangphoto to be notified. As always, comments are encouraged and welcomed!