my own look

Randall Cottrell 6:33am, 3 October 2007
for some time, i've wanted to have an underlying "look" to my work. i don't want every picture to be the exact same, but i want them to have a recognizable resemblance to each other.

and while experimenting w/ editing techniques tonight, i think i am on the brink of something. i know it isn't something that i must force upon my work, that's not right. it should be something that gradually comes, and i am starting to notice it now.

i wish i could post all of the images to show you guys, but unfortunately, most include red, so here's a few. i would like to hear what you guys have to say about it, and what kind of a look/what characteristics they have. just curious on what others have to think.

do/say/think as you will. i just can't sleep and felt like [trying] to entertain.


josh t grads 1_2006

old central

untitled doorway
HBRstudios 11 years ago
I think that the higher contrast and more "saturated" look only works in the last one of these 3 (which I REALLY like, by the way). The "style" in my opinion, should be driven by the image, not the photographer. If you want to generate your own "look," then focus on the subject matter, not necessarily the way the files are handled. What I think you will find is that you will have many "looks" and someone will find one appealing and you will be able to focus on that look for that purpose (adveristing, artwork, etc.)

That is just my .02 based on my experience with no focus or style of my own!
Shawn Thompson - Lake Superior Photographer Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Shawn Thompson - Lake Superior Photographer (admin) 11 years ago
Hi Randall,
Pulling off highly saturated and high contrast images is a tough thing to do consitently as it doesn't fit every shot. I agree with HBR the last one is a great use of this technique and it is a nice photo.
I like the high contrast in the first shot, but the second just doesn't do it for me. Maybe a wider view to incorporate more of the CAB building and less saturation to bring the sky back to a believable Blue would help.
Keep plugging away and trying new things and you will see that your own style will come naturally.
Something I have thought of often and I just ended up choosing the view point of trying not to find a style. It will kill you and it did me. You become locked in and controlled by that style and ultimately it should be something not planned or a process.. It just happens. Most of the photographers I admire do have a style but it's from years and years of endless work that has shaped them in their process and not a choice. Don't let the process be your style but let your subject matter control you and then your normal process will better fit you and your work. I do see a very urban / modern theme in your work. But don't be so sure to settle into the over saturation thing just yet. I promise you will change with time.
On the other hand.... If this is truly what you want and like the forget anything that anyone of us has to say and stick with it. Who am I to judge anyones style and who they are as a photographer. If your happy then thats all that matters. I kind of sound like a parent huh?
Randall Cottrell 11 years ago
thanks for all your input.

so i checked flickr from a computer at school today, and i was surprised at what i saw. [especially on the pic of old central school] the saturation was too much. but it didn't look that way on my laptop! lol! the other two looked the same, but for some reason, w/ the color levels on my computer vs. the school one [and i have noticed this looking at stuff on my home computer] it is far less saturated. and i know really see what you guys mean.

is this a bad thing?
Ahhhhhhhhh. Monitor calibration!!!!!!! A MUST HAVE.

Highly recommend!!!!
Randall Cottrell 11 years ago
thanks aaron. i read about it, but in a dumbed down explaination, how exactly does it work?
edgeways 11 years ago
Every monitor is slightly different, and may show slightly inaccurate colors. The best way to ensure what you are seeing on your screen is really and truly accurate is to use something like this, (there are other brands, that is one of the more popular), it lets you set your screen to reflect exactly what your editing software thinks you mean, so (ideally) there is a baseline standard across computers. If you use outfits like White House Custom Color to print, color calibration is a good idea as you will know what they are seeing exactly, and exactly what your print will look like.
Generally, the big CRT monitors are better at accurate color replication then the flat panel screens, but that is only a rule of thumb and not an absolute.
kimmerhoo 11 years ago
Perhaps your trying to establish a signature "look:" to your work will restrict your presentation of various subjects and this technique may work against you. You may have a certain story to tell or a theme for your photos and some may benefit from your "look" and others may not. When I think of well-known photographers and their work, I guess I think of their command of a certain subject or topic they have photographed i.e. landscapes,portraits,the depression,celebrities etc. Maybe you should ask yourself what it is you want to say with your photos or what specific topic or theme you wish to use. Just thoughts.
Barrett 11 years ago
Trying to find your own "look" in photography is exactly like trying to find your own "voice" in writing. The more you force it, the worse it looks/sounds. Just keep taking photos (or writing), and as long as you're honest, eventually your personality will come through.
Barrett Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Barrett (admin) 11 years ago
Sorry, I should clarify that I didn't mean your photos looked "worse" or bad in any way (in fact, I think they're really cool). What I meant is that the more you force it, the less your personality comes through. (In general, not you specifically) That's all.
Randall Cottrell 11 years ago
barrett...i knew what you mean. thanks...

i've been looking around at a lot of my pics and most of my "subjects" are "urban" in way, so i think i'll play off the subject matter as a look more than any post processing work
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