You’ll often hear that it’s important to find your unique style if you want to be a successful photographer or filmmaker. But Matti Haapoja argues that being completely unique is impossible. In spite of it, he believes you can still develop your own style and be a successful creative. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? Well, it actually makes sense, and Matti discusses some of the things you need to be aware of if you want to create a recognizable photography or filming style.
It takes time
Matti says that has been filming videos for about eight or nine years so far, and he estimates that he’s made over 400 of them. But people often want to develop their unique style after filming only a couple of videos or doing a few photo shoots. And this is wrong from the very beginning. You won’t develop your own style if you’re just starting out – but that’s okay.
It takes time to learn and try out different things and find out what you like. Eventually, you’ll learn to incorporate different techniques into your work in a unique way. And still, it probably won’t be completely unique, which Matti explains further.
Having your own style without being unique? What does it mean?
There are some vloggers, movie directors, and photographers whose work you see and immediately know it’s theirs, right? Still, even they use some elements that are similar to someone else’s work. Matti explains that these elements are just consistent enough and combined in a certain way which makes these content creators recognizable.
It’s ok to imitate… Sometimes
Inspiration or imitation? Well, while you’re still learning, many would argue that even imitation is okay (as long as you don’t try to sell the idea as your own). If you like someone’s style, this is a chance to do a breakdown of what they do. Think about what exactly you like about their work: is it the mood, the angles, the colors, the stories? Then think about why you like these elements and what they are telling. Finally, think about how these elements are achieved. You can pick out only certain things that you particularly like and incorporate them into your work to create something new. From this point on, it’s important to be consistent with your style if you want it to be recognizable.
It’s difficult to create something so unique that no one has ever created it before. But here’s something that is completely unique: you. The way you think, feel, see the world; your attitudes and personality, and stories you want to tell: have them in mind and incorporate them into your work. This is what adds the uniqueness to your photos, videos or whatever you’re creating.
Matti adds that it’s okay if you still haven’t fully figured out who you are, he hasn’t either (and I can relate to that). This is a process that also takes time and as you discover yourself, you’ll discover and build your own creative style along the way.
The moral of the story is that nothing happens overnight. It takes time to find your own style, and it’s okay for it to take time. In the beginning, focus on mastering your craft. As time goes by, you’ll develop your own style as well. Don’t worry about it so much. Just shoot a lot, practice, and don’t forget to have fun doing it.
[Being unique is impossible! How To Find Your STYLE | Matti Haapoja]