How can I add more “me” into my work?
It’s something I think about a lot. I keep hearing about it more and more lately too. How do you make your work stand-out? How can you make it your own?
Let’s take my business for example, the primary part is styled stock photography. When I decided to start a styled stock business, there was very little out there, maybe 2k search results on Etsy. By the time I had enough of a portfolio to start my shop, I remember it being closer to 6k! Yikes, this made me a little nervous. Definitely more competition now. A search today yields over 8k results. It seems like everyone and their mother had the same idea around the time I did and it was getting me down.
I knew there were certain things that worked, I’m sure you have all seen the gorgeous white desktops by Shay Cochrane, in my opinion the master-mind behind it all! Not to mention the woman who inspired me to take the plunge myself. Obviously, white is working! Desktop mockups are working! I’m not the only person who figured this out. Everyone seems to be replicating the style even down to the props!! For me that’s a little bit of a no-no. I don’t want to use the same props, color schemes & styles as someone else. Plus, what is the point? If I’m doing the same as everyone else, aren’t we all just duplicating each other’s work? Of course there will be certain styles on trend, color schemes that are classic or trendy, and those will be very popular. Hopefully everyone gets to put their own spin on them. But, I started trying to find props that were a little different. This was o.k for a little while, but guess what? Those props started showing up in other photographers images too!
I soon realized, if I can find it or buy it, someone else can too. I have to be more unique. Herein lies the challenge. I had to bring something to the table that no one else has, something that is so inherently “me” that no one else could replicate it. Hmm… well that’s tough. It was so difficult to come up with something and it seems like months and months went by where I couldn’t think of anything.
When it finally hit me, it was so simple, I don’t know how it took me so long to come up with it. I just had to change my train of thought. Rather than thinking what I could add to my photos to make them unique, I started thinking about what makes me, me. The first thing that came to mind is how crafty I am… I LOVE TO CRAFT! It’s a problem really 😉 Specifically, what kind of crafts can I incorporate into my styled stock images? Well, I’m pretty nifty with paper. One of my first image sets was pink and blue confetti. I combined my two favorite colors and made my own confetti. Well, that’s probably my most popular set of images. I guess that should have been a clue huh? Another thing is I love working with clay. I worked with clay so much when I was younger, I was actually pretty good at it! I decided I’ll try and incorporate this other talent into my photos too. I have to say I am pretty pleased with the end results!
I can’t imagine anything looking more “me” than this! I love the colors, I love the trinket dish I made, and I had so much fun creating this series. By combining some standard props with props I’m able to create, I think I have a very happy balance here. The bonus is no one else will have the same exact image. It can be copied sure, but no one else can create something exactly like I did with my own hands. Even if it’s similar, I know these little creations are mine alone. It brings a certain feeling too, I can’t explain it, but something about this set was just so special to me. I hope this comes across to others viewing the images. It keeps me looking forward to doing more and more of these series as well.
What are some things you like to do in your work to make it unique? I’d love to hear about it, or better yet, leave a link to your creative work. Leave some comment love below! 🙂