HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR STYLE
As with many other things in life “development” comes from well, developing. The only way to develop is to go through the motions of trial, failure, triumph and time. As I mentioned earlier I tried to copy certain aesthetics or styles of other creators only to realize they weren’t true to me, my voice or my life experiences.
Watching films, traveling, and reading are all great influences in helping you craft your style. Intrinsically you’ll be drawn to influences that are true to you so consuming media and life are probably the best ways to help you develop. These are almost always more sticky than browsing the trendy new creative styles out there.
In my experience the best way style is developed is by trial and error. Testing and trying things out is the best way to figure out what you like. This can be technical such as the characteristics of a lens, the emotion of a certain lighting style or how a certain focal length can evoke an emotion. While testing out lenses and gear is a great way to evolve your style, it’s expensive to go out and purchase gear to experiment with. There is no other way around it, filmmaking is expensive. The gear we use to tell stories can cost an arm and a leg but one of the great things about filmmaking is that we don’t NEED to own what we use on set to tell stories. Renting a very expensive lens kit is now more accessible than ever with companies like BorrowedLenses.com. Procuring expensive cameras and lenses was very difficult in the past but now we can rent gear to help us explore our style. I myself prefer using lenses over the 50mm focal length and creatively using macro lenses as portrait lenses because you can really get into the talent’s eye and their emotion. Renting kits to help you explore is a fantastic way to learn what you like and what you don’t.
With testing and experimenting you’ll slowly figure out what sticks for your own unique style. There is no magic formula for this, your taste and sensibilities will evolve overtime. You’ll start collecting shot styles, color looks and camera movements overtime while simultaneously ditching what doesn’t work. This is where trusting your gut comes into play. You’ll feel attracted to how you frame scenes and you’ll also start to collect feedback from clients on what type of work you’re producing that they like.
Overall, developing your style is a journey not a destination. It will continue to evolve and change overtime. Remember to draw from your experiences, your travels, books, films but more importantly from experimenting with gear. Be patient as you go through this process but do recognize what sticks and doesn’t. Enjoy the experience and keep on stylin’