Best habits to define your photographic voice



Finding and developing your artistic voice as a photographer is essential for creating unique and compelling work. While defining your artistic voice is a personal journey, there are daily habits you can adopt to help you discover and refine it. In this blog post, we’ll explore the habits that will guide you in defining your photographic artistic voice.

habbits for your voice

1) Allow yourself time:


Take time each day for self-reflection. Ask yourself what inspires you, what emotions you want to convey through your photographs, and what stories you want to tell. Understanding your motivations and passions will help you shape your artistic voice. Learning what your artistic vision is is all about knowing who YOU are. 

Grainy picture of a woman posing in from of a wall
This one image was the result of a mistake where I had to up my iso by quite a bit. The result is stunning and would define my photographic style for years to come

2) Do Visual Research:


Engage in visual research by exploring the work of photographers, artists, and creatives across different mediums. Expose yourself to a variety of styles, genres, and techniques. Analyze what resonates with you and how you can incorporate those elements into your own work. Schedule viewing sessions where you just look at other photographers’ work.

3) Try Different Approaches:


You’ll discover new ways to express your artistic voice by pushing your boundaries. Experiment with different approaches to photography. Challenge yourself to shoot from different angles, use alternative compositions, or explore unconventional subjects.  For instance, portrait photography is usually done with flash in a studio. Spending a month shooting in natural light situations might be a good idea instead of the usual cut-and-dry studio approach.

Woman laying on her back with her right leg pointed toward the sky
Black and white really clicks with what I value in image making

4)Embrace Your Uniqueness:


It is sometimes hard to post an Instagram post and see that there are not a whole lot of likes. But fewer likes do not always mean that your photos are not great. It could just mean that your audience did not expect the type of post you just posted. A low like count means nothing when it comes to where you want to go artistically.

Acknowledge and embrace what makes you unique as a photographer. Identify your strengths, interests, and personal experiences that can contribute to your artistic voice. Celebrate your individuality and find ways to incorporate it into your work.

Woman crouched on floor looking out of frame
There are so many ways to define yourself artistically. you can do it through framing, choice of subject and even through gear restrictions.

5) Focus on Personal Projects:


Devote time to personal projects that align with your artistic vision. These projects allow you to explore themes, concepts, or subjects that deeply resonate with you. By investing in personal work, you’ll develop a clearer understanding of your artistic voice. Carry your camera everywhere.


Check out this personal project where I learned my love for high-contrast lighting. Click here

Woman laying back on a couch rocking chair
Restricting your options by only taking photos on a chair are excellent personal projects that can expand your artistic horizons.

6) Get Constructive Feedback:


Seek feedback from trusted mentors, peers, or critique groups. Constructive criticism can provide valuable insights and different perspectives on your work. Be open to feedback while staying true to your artistic vision. Also, remember to take some and leave some. The operative word here is “constructive.” It is not always easy to discern the destructive from the constructive. 

People walking down a busy city street. Old man in foreground, city bus and buildings in the background
I struggle with street. I constantly go on forums and groups to get the opinions of other like minded people on photos I am most proud of.

7) Get a hold on all that is technical:


Always improve your technical skills. Mastering the technical aspects of photography, such as composition, lighting, and post-processing, and your camera dials give you the confidence to communicate your artistic voice effectively. The more fluent you become with your tools, the more freedom you have to express yourself.

However, it is important to remember that this is a slippery slope. Do not let the technical aspects of your photography take over the artistic.

Left top view of the Fujfifilm X-H2S

The Fujifilm X-H2S has a huge operation manual. Set aside time to read a chapter or two before bed. You do not have to learn the manual by heart, but getting to know what your tool can do is essential.

Woman in leotard standing and looking toward us

To make learning technical aspects of your camera easier, learn you camera in the following order

  • Shoot for about a month on Intelligent Auto (or all-auto, depending on the camera)
  • Shoot on Program mode or “P” This mode chooses all settings except for ISO (sensor sensitivity)
  • Learn Aperture and Shutter speed priority modes for another couple of months.
  • Go to all Manual mode for the rest of your life.
Woman in leotard standing and looking uward

8) Emotionally Connect with Your Subjects:


When photographing people or subjects, strive to establish an emotional connection. Seek to understand and empathize with their stories, emotions, or experiences. Capturing the essence of your subjects’ emotions can help convey your artistic voice more powerfully.

Woman bursting out laughing
In the case of a portrait pose, connecting to your subject also allows them to feel at ease. A subject that lets down their guard will always deliver touching images.

9) Curate Your Portfolio:


Regularly refine your portfolio. Select images that align with your artistic voice and best represent your vision. Take out images that were dead ends. Eliminate photographs that don’t contribute to your desired aesthetic or narrative. A focused and cohesive portfolio will help define your artistic voice to others.

Front page of Jacques Gaines Photography instagram profile
Although Instagram is not always the best place to organize a portfolio, it does allow you to see how your body of work and might appear to people that stumble on your profile. Make sure to zoom out once in a while to evaluate how it looks. Don't be afraid to delete photos that just don't feel right.

10) Share and Discuss Your Work:


Share your work with others and engage in discussions about your photographs. Participate in exhibitions and submit your work to publications. Discussing your work with viewers, fellow photographers, or art critics can provide valuable insights and broaden your understanding of how your artistic voice resonates with others.

Jacques Gaines Photography Facebook frontpage
Although similar to point 9, creating something like a Facebook page linked to a community is somewhat different. As you feed your photos to a community you build, people comment on your progress.



Defining your photographic artistic voice is an ongoing process that requires lots of reflection, exploration, and growth. It is a never-ending process. By adopting these ten daily habits, you’ll embark on a journey to discover and refine your unique expression as a photographer. Embrace your individuality, challenge yourself, and stay true to your vision, and you’ll ultimately create a body of work that reflects your artistic voice powerfully and authentically.


Most importantly- Get out there and shoot!

I am a photographer, videographer, and copywriter living in Quebec City, Canada. I also have a YouTube channel and an Instagram account dedicated to creation and creativity via my main loves of photography, music, and writing.

To get in touch with me and discuss your collaboration, service needed, or advice, either go to the contact page and write to me via the contact form at the foot of this page.

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