How to Make Your Photography Stand Out


Digital cameras have completely revolutionized the photography industry. With more convenient, cheaper and higher quality cameras now available on the market, it seems everyone owns a point and shoot or DSLR. More recently, social media brought this growth explosion to the next level, encouraging many people around the world to share their work online. Popular social media sites like Facebook host over 15-billion unique images and with its current rate of growth, users are expected to upload 30 billion more images this year alone. These sites, whether primarily built for photographers or not, are growing rapidly. In such a huge network how can you differentiate your visual artistry from the rest of the pack? Here are some tips to make sure your photographs don’t get lost in the crowd.

Chase Guttman

Chase Guttman

1. Follow the Road Less Traveled. Search for a different place or angle to take distinct photographs. Don’t just stick to tourist destinations or overly clichéd subjects –  look for something unique, rare, or even simple. By thinking outside of the box, you can separate your shots from the obvious. Try to stretch out of your comfort zone and experiment. Put all the rules you’ve read aside for the moment (maybe except these) and develop your own set of rules.

2. Use Patience and Persistence to Develop Your Visual Story— Ask yourself, “Is this the most interesting way to portray my subject?” “Should I try another perspective, exposure, or add a new element?” “Is my composition and background right?” Consider throwing in some foreground interest. Overall, make sure to consider every detail of your image in order to ensure it's the best it can possibly be. If you wait patiently and stay with your subject long enough, you may just capture intriguing displays of emotions and energy.

3. Timing is What Makes Your Photographs Atypical. In a visually compelling image, well timed elements act as the cherry on top of the cake. In this instance, timing is about capturing a rare and exquisite moment in which all the stars align (rather than the time of day you shoot). An example of this, would be capturing an unlikely seagull swooping into your already beautiful frame. Such timing allows you to snap something the next guy may not be able to get.

Chase Guttman


4. Emotions. There is nothing more powerful than human emotions. From joy and laughter to pain and loneliness, we’ve all experienced a variety of emotions. Human nature leads us to sympathize with those who share our same experiences.

For these reasons, emotion adds a rich dimension to your photography. When your images mirror powerful emotions, your viewer is able to connect with the exact thoughts you’re trying to convey. This adds a deeper meaning to your story and helps you to better engage your audience. Remember getting close to your subject and focusing on their face is one of the most effective ways to capture vivid and tangible emotions.

Peter Guttman

Peter Guttman

5. Don’t Overlook Motion. Movement is something that almost always adds interest to a photograph. If you portray motion in a unique way, you can create a dynamic energy that draws the viewer into the scene you’re painting.

Peter Guttman

Peter Guttman

6. Shoot candidly. There is no better way of encompassing a personality than photographing candidly. Posed images often seem bland and plastic because they lack a real world, spur-of-the-moment liveliness. Break free of this hackneyed style so your images can have a distinct flavor.

Chase Guttman

Chase Guttman

7. Colors and Texture Bring a Layer of Realism and Visual Engagement into Your Photographs.

Peter Guttman
Peter Guttman- Paria, Arizona, USA

Peter Guttman

There is no better or more satisfying way to make your photos meaningful then by being imaginative and inspired. So go out and try it!

Tell us: What separates your work from the crowd?

Chase Guttman is an award winning New York City Assignment Photographer. You can follow him on Twitter or keep up with his great photo tips blog.

About Author

Chase Guttman is an award-winning travel photographer, whose love for travel and adventure has allowed him to photograph his experiences in over 40 countries. You can reach him on his website.

A lot of good ideas here already. I offer:

Message and moment;
construct elements in 2D frame not 3D subject-space (look *at* the viewfinder not through it);
think “would I buy this as a print?” whilst making it.

Thanks Mark and Aloha.

Ilksa- one thing that helps me in “following the road less traveled” is being aware that my shot can always be better. So, if I get dropped off at a location, I don’t just jump out, take a shot and leave. I consider all the angles that I can capture my subject from (whether that be up, down, sideways, etc.). Another part of this isn’t shooting cliched subjects. While you CAN get brilliant shots of a common photography subject, finding something new or enhancing an otherwise cliched shot can also make your photo stand out. So if you’re planning on taking a picture of a flower, you might want to take it with someone lying in the field, or a bee pollinating it, etc.

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