In order to stand out with your portraiture in today's market you must have unique appeal. It takes much work to create a style that is not the mainstream. It's harder to fit the mainstream when your images are different and your style is unique. But to creatives there's is a big aestethic victory and satisfaction of knowing your "style" is unique.
Im by no means a expert in developing a style of images but I do know what I like visually and what I have done to tap into my creative flow and it may or may not work for you. But hey! It's worth a shot and if you grow to love Photography and creating as much as I do and start to see your creative self flourish then it was worth it to me to tell you these STEPS I took to start allowing myself to DEVELOP A UNIQUE PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLE.
1. Get acquainted with the Photographic community. Join a shoot club. Get to know other photographers. It's helpful to have others as sounding boards for the questions you may have about anything from lighting to copyright. And joining these groups where others are also developing as creatives helps you learn technique and perhaps question your own techniques.
2. CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO BE DIFFERENT. That being said here's the kicker to the first item- learn to live out of the popular bubble. And here's why. We all learn in patterns we learn to draw within the line, cut a straight line ect ect. Challenge yourself to be different allow your inner weirdness to be boss. Creatives think differently. We see things differently and it's ok to BE DIFFERENT. It's ok to not have everyone love your images or even Like them. For many years I leaned to hide my creative self afraid that when others would see my unique point of view I'd I'd .... what be less popular. Who cares? Be YOU. When you learn to embrace your unique eye you'll love the results and things will start to change.
3. Enjoy and surround yourself with the Arts. What do I mean by this go see a ballet ? Maybe, not your thing go listen to a symphony, umm read a classic. Go to the local museum. Just be in the Arts. When I found myself struggling to define personal style I hopped into a University Class at UNM in New Mexico where I was living at the time. I went back to the basics building cameras out of paint cans, spending days in the darkroom. Through it all did I learn more about my style of photography? No, but I had a professor who challenged me and didn't tell me "hey your images are great" instead he told me you need to pick up a canvas and paint, your a painter inside." I scoffed no way. I'm a lefthander who scribbles illegibly. I can't paint. But years later I did just what he had told me. I picked up canvas and paints and you know what happened? I set aside my camera and I painted. Furiously I threw paint everywhere. Thinking I'll show him! I'm no painter. But what happened is I discovered that I do love to paint. Why? because I have no preconceived issues in what I should be as a Painter. Instead I was just a ceator. I learned to let my style not over define me but I learned to jus let creativity be. So surround yourself with the arts, write prose, paint, learn flamenco dance do something to engage your creative Brain.
So get out there and meet people engage in ideals. Learn to enjoy your creative self and not take it to personally when others do or don't enjoy your aesthetics. And enjoy doing things that will engage your brain. Your art will prosper as you develop a unique aesthetic.