Develop your own style

by Douglas Hoffman on March 21, 2022

In the world of photography what sets certain artists apart is style. Back when I shot weddings to earn money for camera housings and dive travel, I used a 16 mm fish eye lens and had a few signature shots. My style was different from that of others and many clients hired me for that reason. In the image on the left, I focused on the flowers and let couple become soft. On the right, the fish eye lens gave the portrait a little curve which was a different perspective that brides loved.

Early in my career I photographed weddings. It was a great way to earn a living but after doing over 1000 I said enough is enough. I wanted to keep my passion for photography and decided to split my time between creating family portraits, teaching workshops, and creating fine art photography.

When it comes to family portraits, I specialize in an environmental style that capture the personalities of the family members as well as the beauty of Hawaii. This is different from standard portraiture because in order to tell the story, there needs to be space for the family, sand, sky, sea, clouds, rocks, and trees. As a result the family is smaller in the frame. When printing the goal is to make sure the head size is appropriate so the emotion and story is easily told. What this means is that in order for people to really feel the portrait it needs to be printed large.

Maui Family Portrait Photographer
Beach Portrait Session

When it comes to Landscape Photography, I use water and movement as part of my style. A slow shutter speed allows the water to gain a silky appearance as the waves set the shore.

North Shore Maui

When it comes to Underwater Photography, I like creating close focus wide angle or environmental reef in perspective portraits that show the subject in its natural environment.

Since photography is an artistic form of expression I still every student to take their time and experiment with different lenses and styles. As you gain experience, learn, and have fun, you will develop a skillset that is unique to you.

So get out there and start creating!