Q&A: Do buyers want me to have my own style?
Q: "I want to be a commercial photographer for magazines etc. I'm confused, should I develop my own style or should I try to shoot the style I see in magazines?"
Principally you need to develop your own style. It's "YOU" that will ultimately be commissioned, not some knock-off copies of other peoples work. Not only that but for your personal satisfaction you want to shoot in your style and develop your style - that's so much more rewarding.
My belief is that photographers are part artist and part craftsman - and as Helmut Newton put it "Guns for hire". This means that I need to be able to accomplish whatever the client wants - which may or may not be my style. So for that reason you need to explore and develop your general skills by understanding what the best photographers do and being able to replicate it.
That has several benefits:
1) Your core skill base increases and broadens
2) Your "style" may benefit from this skill base
3) There are more jobs you are capable of doing
4) There are more jobs you will be asked to do
5) It's more fun
The "style" question isn't quite the same as the "specialist" question though.
I think you will be a better photographer by concentrating on your specialist subject - and certainly in terms of buyers - they do look for specialists.
If you shoot people and aircraft then don't confuse clients by showing them both, pick one and promote that.
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