Discovering Your Unique Style as a Wildlife Photographer

Finding your unique style in wildlife photography is all about staying true to yourself. Photograph what you love, when you want, where you want, and how you want. While it’s fantastic to learn from others, remember that your style is your own. I follow many photographers whose work I admire for its uniqueness and inspiration, but I don’t try to mimic them. Their style isn’t mine, and I recognize that.

Instead of recreating their images, I draw inspiration from them. I file away those ideas, letting them simmer in my mind. Sometimes, weeks, years, or even decades later, something clicks while I'm in the moment, and that inspiration helps me create an image that is uniquely mine. You wouldn’t see the direct connection between the original inspiration and my photo, but it’s there, subtly guiding me to focus on particular aspects or elements in my image. My work evolves from these inspirations, refining my style without changing its core essence.

As someone who mentors other wildlife photographers some just beginning and some having been at it for a while, I often get asked to help people discover one’s style or identify their style for them. The truth is, I can’t define your style for you. Style is deeply personal and intrinsic—it reflects who you are as a photographer. I can highlight recurring themes in your work and point out inconsistencies, but ultimately, it’s up to you to identify and cultivate your style. It doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just decide on a style and stick to it from the get-go.

To find your style, reflect on what draws you to wildlife photography. Is it the joy of being in nature, the thrill of finding elusive subjects, mastering your camera, or the awe of witnessing wild animals in their natural habitat? Your style grows from these passions. For me, living in the Boreal Forest in northern Canada, surrounded by wildlife, ignited my passion for wildlife photography. I noticed that many people around me took this wildlife for granted. Through my photography, I wanted to make people truly see these animals, to perceive their vulnerability and the need to protect them. This mission defined my style.

Everyone has their own reason for venturing into nature with a camera. Your style lies in that reason. Understand your motivation, and your unique style will emerge naturally.

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