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The Art of Photography: Defining Your Visual Style

Stephen Vanasco Aka Van Styles, Photographer & Founder of V/SUAL Apparel

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6 Videos (28m)
    • Introduction

      2:39
    • Visual Signature: A Turning Point

      6:07
    • Gear

      4:25
    • Shooting in the Streets

      7:12
    • Editing Selects

      7:04
    • What's Next?

      0:36

About This Class

Hone in on a photography style that is consistent and uniquely yours.

Join Stephen Vanasco — aka Van Styles — on the streets of New York City as he shares personal stories and professional tips about defining your photographic style, an essential skill in today's bustling photography landscape. Primarily known for aerial and model photography, this 25-minute class focuses on Vanasco's new black-and-white, high-contrast style, which has fueled his creativity, personal brand, and even new professional gigs. Lessons explore:

  • Defining your point of departure (a creative constraint to direct your art)
  • Camera and technical considerations
  • Finding the beauty in your surroundings
  • Editing in Photoshop (Vanasco converts color to black and white)

From parameters that can frame your photography to executing and editing your shots, you'll gain inspiration and insight to take your photography style to the next level.

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What You'll Learn

  • Street photography. Stephen will teach you how to build your creative instincts while working in your own backyard. You’ll learn photography by exploring your environment and honing your artistry to create meaningful work that reflects your eye.
  • Creating your own. You’ll improve your photography skills by interacting with your surroundings, and you will define your artistic intent by shooting what interests you there.    
  • Learning from history. Stephen will discuss noted street photographers that inspire him, sharing particular works that have helped reinvigorate his art – and will encourage yours, too!
  • Analyzing photography. Successful street photographers find visual interest in even the most mundane subjects. Stephen will walk you through the way that he developed his artistic “point of departure,” and will discuss depth, line, lighting, and the questions you should ask yourself as you begin to build your own visual signature style.
  • Developing technique. Stephen believes in making most artistic decisions in the street, not during the editing process. He will suggest ways that you can find compositions, experiment with techniques, and define your artistic point of view while you are actively shooting the subjects around you.
  • Using gear. The right tools are a crucial part of a photographer’s ability to make impactful art. Stephen will talk about the useful features of his bag, cameras, and the lenses he relies on for photo enhancement. With Stephen’s guidance, you’ll appreciate the ways that gear can improve your ability to get the right shot every time.
  • Exercising technique and style. You’ll follow Stephen as he photographs the streets of New York to give you an in-depth lesson on how to create art out of shadow, texture, and light. You’ll explore how to find subjects, how to engage strangers that you want to shoot, and how to experiment with different lenses in the field to capture more immersive snapshots.
  • Working with natural light. Stephen will illustrate how to use the harsh light and shadow of the natural environment to create dynamic abstract compositions out of the everyday cityscape.
  • Editing software. Your artistry is expressed when the camera is in your hand, but the right editing can make it more impactful. Stephen sits down to show you the software he depends on for photo editing, photo restoration, and photo retouching. You’ll follow along as he explains the best (free!) tools to use to convert color photographs to black and white ones, and how to enhance your work to best reflect your artistic vision.  
  • Creating contrast and clarity. You’ll get a detailed look at how to create contrast and clarity when your shots need a dramatic punch. You’ll also learn how Stephen adjusts his highlights, midtones, and shadows to create more polished, interesting photographs.
  • Working with filters. Even when you are shooting in monochrome, you can use colored filters to make the compositions more compelling. You’ll learn how Stephen chooses filters for dramatic effect, for highlight control, and to complement his subject matter.
  • Cropping – Stephen will show you how the right crop – while shooting in the field and during the editing process – can make arresting works of art out of simple colors, textures, and shapes.

129 of 141 students recommendSee All

I love how Stephen says we all have the same tools such as cameras, editing software etc, but it's our unique sight that defines our true work.
Justine Chudiak

Imagination. Honesty. Influence.

Thank you for the creativity. I also want to thank you for calling the people you shoot "people" and realizing that they are more than just "subjects." Hearing you say that you asked for the photo was refreshing.
Stephen Vanasco is probably today's most inspirational photographers. He brings a pureness to this art that can be lost in technology. This method of finding your visual signature is something that's helped me gain perspective, and see things differently.
Neil Yuzon

Look fresh, feel fresh, be fresh.

2,663

Students

31

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Stephen Vanasco Aka Van Styles

Photographer & Founder of V/SUAL Apparel

Stephen Vanasco is a NY-born, LA-raised photographer heavily influenced by the '90s skate scene. Never one to sit and wait for people to give him an opportunity, he took a chance and followed his passion for photography. Now he professionally travels the world for photography and for his brand V/SUAL.

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