Developing A Style
This is hard. And one I think comes with time, practice and patience.
Sometimes we like everything and want to do everything from dark, atmospheric images to bright, contrasty stark images, to family snaps in between.
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is,
Why are you sharing your images in the first place?
Do you have a business or service? And you want to drive traffic to your website.
Do you have a personal blog? And want people to engage with your content
Are you a maker? And want people to buy your product?
I really encourage you to be selective and specific. If you use instagram and sell cupcakes, maybe pictures of your new compost bin, no matter how amazing, is going to put people off buying cupcakes from you.
Open another account to post alternative images.
For me, I use Instagram specifically as an online portfolio. I actually went to the trouble of creating an online portfolio www.catherinefrawley.co.uk but most of my work comes via people seeing my instagram account!
When I started to see this, I set myself parameters of what I will share on Instagram. I thought about why I’m sharing images in the first place. I wanted to move on from weddings and I wanted to work in food and lifestyle. So I changed my profile name, deleted a lot of irrelevant images. And then chose to show only images that fit into Food, Travel & Lifestyle. Sometimes my children make it on my feed but it’s still curated so never a blurry snap from the park.
Before posting, I always go back to why I’m sharing images and I’m sharing images on Instagram because I want to work in a Food, Travel & Lifestyle capacity.
With reference to Instagram Stories this is a great way to relax the rules a little and share more personal things or images outside of those parameters but I am still thinking of this account as a way to attract work, so for me I don’t relax my own rules very much.
The next question to ask is what do you like?
Some people know this straight away. But some people struggle to articulate what it is within an image that they are drawn to.
I find Pinterest a huge help for pulling together a theme or a style when working on a project. If you are struggling to answer this question, make a new private board, search for a specific topic you are interested in, be that cake, coffee, interiors etc. Set yourself 5 mins and just instinctively save those images that catch your eye, the ones that you feel drawn to. Don’t over think or analyse or second-guess ‘should I like this?’
After the set time, look at the overall collection of images, (hopefully) there will be a recurring theme; are the images light and bright? Is the styling simple and gentle? Or is it an explosion of colour and clutter?
You could also do a similar exercise in Instagram – do you use the Saved feature? If so, sometimes just scrolling through the images you’ve saved will highlight a style preference or theme that you are constantly drawn to.
If there still isn’t a clear direction, you have picked all of the above and more! Then think about your home or the clothes you wear.
For me, everything is towards neutral, I’m not a riot of colour, I find bright colours hard to work with, post box red is so hard for me to use, I even avoid red tomatoes, if I have to use them I usually seek out yellow or orange varieties to soften that harshness that red makes me feel. I’d never have a red car or red front door.
Whilst I contradict myself in liking both simple effortless styling and beautifully crafted clutter
My colour palate and my way of editing images is the same so there is a consistency even if the subject is very different.
Figuring out what you like will come and sometimes you just have to explore until you start being drawn instinctively to a similar theme.
TIP: You could share your Pinterest boards (if made public or invite members to your private board) in the FB group, if you want to see if others can help you articulate your style.