Can you shoot this style?

“Can you shoot this style?”– That is the one question rarely asked of a photographer. However, if you have been in the industry for a while, this is the one question you wish your clients would ask.

Georgia Tech College of Management Dean’s Report 2009 [NIKON D3, 85.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/100, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 85)]

Your clients are more likely to go and hire a different photographer because they like their “Style.” If you are like me, there is a perfect chance that after 35+ years of shooting, I have done that “Style” in my past. The problem is that it isn’t on my website, because I changed to the latest “Style” to get clients and haven’t changed it to a different “Style” lately.

Chick-fil-A Mall Shoot [NIKON D3, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 1000, 1/160, ƒ/8, (35mm = 180)]

Now the only time I have seen clients go to a photographer and ask them to copy a “Style” is when the person they want to hire is out of their price range. This happened to many who wanted to hire Anne Geddes. Today, many try and copy her style, but few are really good at it like her.

[NIKON D100, AF Zoom 70-200mm f/2.8D, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/640, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 142)]
Centennial High School Prom [NIKON D3S, 24.0-120.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Manual, ISO 200, 1/60, ƒ/9, (35mm = 45)]

Many pros can do many different styles. Through the years, I have done photojournalism, research photography, portraiture, and many more.

Timothy Villalovas [NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/125, ƒ/4.5, (35mm = 85)]

For a client looking for a “Fresh Look,” it is easier just to hire someone that they like their “Style” than to try and communicate to a photographer what they are looking for in a photo. Can you shoot some pictures for us like the photo on your website?

Jason Freeman with his research project “Glimmmer.” [NIKON D2X, , Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 2, ƒ/16, (35mm = 18)]

So, what do you do if you are a photographer and see some of your clients leave you?

Stylized Soccer shoot [NIKON D5, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/200, ƒ/11, (35mm = 14)]

Personal Project

Throughout my career, I have been to so many workshops and conferences to learn from the masters that I can no longer count them all. What is a common theme these experts shared as wisdom? YES!!!

Everyone has said you always need to have a personal project you are working on. Another way to put it is you need to push your unique “Style” and try new things.

Calvin Johnson and the rest of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2006 season poster [Nikon D2Xs, 24-120mm , Mode = Manual , ISO 200 , 1/200, ƒ/11, (35mm = )]

I posted some of the variety I have shot here so you can see how much I have tried different things through the years.

Philip Newberry with his father, Randy.

I rarely used flash for the first five years of my career. I shot available light. I learned to see the light.

St. Pius X High School [NIKON D3, 85.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 640, 1/100, ƒ/1.6, (35mm = 85)]

After years of using flash, the latest cameras have let me return and do natural light photography, but this time in color.

[NIKON D3S, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/320, ƒ/9, (35mm = 250)]

Today I mix light sources and do what I can to make the subject look the best and communicate quickly.

[NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/125, ƒ/1.8, (35mm = 85)]

Most likely, you will never get clients to come to you asking you, “Can you shoot this style?” You can shoot a different style than they are used to seeing and send them your new work.

By the way, trying to do something new and different will stretch you, and you will often find ways to improve your eye and portfolio.