5 Photography clichés you should avoid

5 Photography clichés you should avoid
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5 Photography clichés you should avoid

When a popular photographic effect is overused or repeatedly done badly it can quickly become a cliché; it is therefore important to be aware of what to avoid.

In the digital age, photography has risen in popularity with many thousands of images uploaded online every week. Whilst it is highly unlikely that the subject of your photo is completely original, you can still find a new angle or viewpoint.

Take a look at my top 5 clichés that you should avoid in your quest for original and captivating photography.


The problem with taking photographs of famous landmarks is the fact that they are famous. It may be the first time you’ve been to the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa but you’re never going to be original by taking the usual postcard shots that are all over the internet. Finding a new angle or viewpoint can be difficult but worth the effort.

Excessive retouching

Every portrait subject wants to look their best but it’s your job to ensure that, in helping them to do so, they retain their natural personality. Removing the odd blemish or subtly smoothing out a wrinkle is easily justified - but excessive retouching can transform a person’s appearance. Giving someone a complete makeover with smooth, plastic skin can be insulting and look fake.

Pointless black & white

Shooting in black and white can help to emphasise form and contrast, but with no real purpose it can strip away vital emotion from your pictures. Different colours in photography evoke thoughts and feelings which are lost in black and white. If you’re new to the industry, it’s important to get a good grasp of what works, and what doesn’t, before you attempt too much.

Selective colour

In the same way that removing colour for no purpose can strip away emotion, adding a dash of colour to spruce up an otherwise dull shot is a waste of time. Of course, there are occasions when it works well to add a touch of colour, but it’s important to know when to reserve this effect for maximum impact.

Bad tilt effects

There’s a time and a place to use tilted effects on your photos; they can work well as long as the tilt isn’t too severe. They can be used to convey certain emotions or draw more attention to the subject but by misusing the tilt you could be ruining your photographs. If you find yourself tilting the camera to get more detail in the shot, try changing the focal length on your lens to a wider angle or simply move further away from the subject.

Share your love to hate photographic cliches in the comments box...

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If you would like to learn more about the ways in which I can help you develop your skills and create stunning photographs, please visit www.alanranger.com