What To Do When You Can’t Decide On A Photography Style: My Style Story of Switching Back And Forth

Almost exactly two years ago I was looking at my images as a light and airy photographer and was feeling pretty restricted and uninspired.  At that point I felt like my photography style was ruining my photography and that it was limiting the times when I picked up my camera, as I avoided imperfect light.  My first reaction was to try something new and experiment with a moodier style, because why not?  When something feels broken, you try to fix it.  But looking back over two years later, was my photography really broken like I thought?  Many of you have asked me why I decided to switch back to my light and airy style, after experimenting with a more moody look and I am about to tell you a classic story of “the grass is always greener.”  If you can’t decide on a photography style, my style story might be exactly what you need to hear.

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What To Do When You Can’t Decide On A Photography Style: My Style Story of Switching Back And Forth

What To Do When You Can't Decide On A Photography Style: My Style Story of Switching Back And Forth | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

My Instagram feed between styles.

I am an open book.  I love to write and share my story because I feel like, if it can help someone else in just the smallest of ways, it is worth typing out.  Looking back, the real reason why I switched from light and airy images to a more moody look only to switch right back to light and airy is…light and airy is simply who I am.  Are you familiar with Marie Kondo?  If not, you need to read this book, seriously.  She talks about how your possessions should bring you joy instead of that “meh” feeling.  And I firmly believe that this concept applies to photography as well.  When we look at our images we should be full of joy.  We shouldn’t be looking at our photography and saying, “meh.”  For me, the moodier style quickly made me feel “meh.”

Truthfully, any image of my family despite the editing style, brings me joy.  But light and airy images of my family makes me squeal with joy.  And there is a difference there.  There is a difference between being satisfied with an image and being joyful with an image.  While the moodier look that I experimented with for about 7 months was fun and resulted in beautiful images, it wasn’t satisfying my creative cup.  I wasn’t feeling the joy.

And this doesn’t mean that light and airy photography is better than moodier photography.  That’s not what I am saying at all.  In fact, most of my favorite photographers have a completely different photography style than me.  But for me, I wasn’t feeling inspired with shadows.

It really is a story about the grass is always greener.  Or a story about trying to fit a circle into a square hole.  But let’s talk about the grass story first.

Whenever we feel at a rut with our photography, our instinct is to pinpoint what isn’t working.  For me, I thought it was my style.  I thought that my need to find perfect light and time my images around ideal lighting was hindering my photography.  And, in a way it was.  I definitely wasn’t inspired to photograph in every scenario.  But let’s really think about that statement for a second.

I wasn’t inspired to photograph in every scenario.

I highlight this statement because this was my truth and is my truth today.  As a photographer, I am only inspired by certain things.  And my certain things will be different than your certain things.  I am inspired by bright whites and creamy skin and a blown out window and a cream chair and soft textures and blush and delicate details.  I am inspired by light.  And really, everything else is pretty much missable for me.

But let’s be real for one second here.  Not matter the photographer you are and no matter the style you choose, light is your key factor.  Light is what makes or breaks a photo.  Whether you are a moodier photographer or a light and an airy photographer, light is crucial.  It is your style that then tells you what light you love the most.

I thought that my feeling of not wanting to pick up my camera when the light wasn’t ideal was bad, but really it’s just who I am.  And even with my darker style, I wasn’t picking up my camera all the time either.  I am a choosy person and it took switching photography styles to make to realize that, despite my style, I am not the photographer who will photograph all day long anyways.  I don’t pick up my camera everyday, and sometimes I don’t pick it up for a week.  But it wasn’t my style’s fault, it is just the way I am.

I was trying to fix something that wasn’t really broken.  I just thought it was broken.  I thought the light was hindering my desire to pick up my camera but it really wasn’t.  I was trying to fit my circle light and airy self into a square hole of a moodier style.  And after 7 months, it wasn’t working.  It was fun!  It was educational!  But it wasn’t me.

I realized that everything about my style is light and airy, whether it comes to photography or not.  The clothes I wear, the furniture I choose, the paint samples I pick out, the book covers that attract my eye, and the sliders I feel a magnetic pull to in Lightroom.  It’s just me.  It literally is who I am.

In the end I realized my truth.  I am a light and airy photographer, through and through.  Yes, I might have to wait for good light and yes, on some days that can seem a little limiting.  But I have learned that, like a lot of things in life, waiting is worth it for me.  Good things take time and in the end, waiting always makes me happier with my final images.  I just couldn’t deny the fact that light and airy scenarios were having me run for my camera, and moodier shadows just weren’t my thing.  While other photographers photograph shadows beautifully and I learned to do the same during my 7 months of moodier shooting, it just wasn’t bringing me the joy that I felt when being inspired by an evenly lit room.  Ahh, light and airy is just where it is at for me.

I hope that I am not talking in circles here and that this makes sense.  But the takeaway of this post is, trying something new is always a good thing.  It can either introduce you to a new love or it can show you that what you previously had was right were you should be.  And for me, light and airy is definitely where I should be.  It’s my joy.

If you can’t decide on a photography style, I would definitely recommend spending at least a month photographing in one exclusive style and then try something new for another month.  By giving yourself a long period of time to exclusively photograph one way, you are allowing yourself some time to really take in how the style does or does not inspire you and if it really gives you the joy you deserve to feel with your images.  And be forgiving of yourself if you feel like you can’t decide on a photography style right away, it really is something that just takes some time.

In the end, I feel the strongest with my photography and style today.  I think taking a 7 month break from the light and airy style to experiment with something new really strengthened my photography and my focus, encouraging me to create some of my best work today.

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What To Do When You Can't Decide On A Photography Style: My Style Story of Switching Back And Forth | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

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