25 Photo Clichés You Should Try to Avoid if You Want Your Work to Stand Out

Are you frequently afraid that you’re falling into the trap of only taking cliché photographs? If so, then Kai from DigitalRev might be able to help you sort it out with this (slightly pretentious) DRTV video on 25 photo clichés that you should stop doing.

Of course, the concept of clichés in and of itself isn’t a bad one. Clichés are clichés for a reason, after all. Typically, it’s because they’re simple and natural, like taking a picture of a sunset or flower. Sometimes, they’re culturally driven. Other times, they have to do with showing off a new piece of gear.


But while capturing clichés is inherently harmless — and pointing them out seems at least a little bit pretentious — they do ensure that your work blends into the plethora of other images out there. And in a market as over-saturated as photography, setting yourself apart can be a big determinant of success.

Regardless of your thoughts on clichés though, the eight minute video goes into rather dramatic detail about each one. So whether you’re looking for a laugh or a bit of insight, press play and enjoy this enthusiastically demonstrated list of 25 ‘don’ts’ from the world of photography… and then proceed to ignore at least a few of them.

(via ISO 1200)

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    The ‘looking into reflective surface holding dslr’ is cheesy as hell. It’s also the momtographer profile photo of choice.

    At least be classy and do it with like a Crown Graphic or something.

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    I’ve never made a movie, I wouldn’t know how to make a movie, but I feel completely comfortable saying that A Million Ways to Die in the West was a complete pile of crap.

    Similarly, I can’t sing, play guitar or work a production board, but that new Avril Lavigne song is also a complete pile of crap.

    Oh wow, it’s almost like people can have a subjective opinion on art without needing to ‘do better then lol’.

  • Riccardo Maria Mantero


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  • Dada

    The damn video is about cliches to avoid if you want your work to stand out! Of course we’ve all shot some of these cliches and there is nothing wrong with that but if you want your sunset to reflect your aesthetic, it should not look like the millions of sunsets already out there.

  • Robbie Khan

    My point on this argument is how do you photograph a sunset that doesn’t look like a sunset?

    It’s a damn sunset! It’s always going to look like other sunset photos!

    I think what Kai fails to put across in reasonable terms is that he’s telling people to be their own self critique and look at what else has been done and do their shots a bit differently, compose another way or whatever else they can come up with.

    On a related note I think we we backtrack DRTV videos we will indeed see some of those clichés having feature episodes on how to do them.


  • Dada

    Haha, that’s so true! I tried hard myself to shoot a perfect sunset because I thought it was a “great” photograph and it was aesthetically pleasing…but in essence I was just trying to replicate what was already out there to validate myself. Cliches are learning points for sure. Now, how to photograph an alternate sunset? Hmmmm….

  • /CVP

    There’s a big big difference between saying that you don’t like someone’s work…and telling people in general what they should or should not do. I don’t like Avril Lavigne either. I also don’t have any idea what she should do next….and I do sing and play guitar. See the difference?