In photography, there are so many techniques to try and ideas to chase. Yet, so many aspiring photographers go to the same overused ones. So, instead of tips and tricks on what to do, let’s talk about what clichés to avoid.
Let’s get the meaning of cliché out of the way first. A ‘cliché’ is something that is overused or has lost originality. There are a lot of photo ideas that are just not original anymore. So let’s dive in.
Watermarking your name on photos
First of all, it’s an unnecessary task to do. Your photos are protected as soon as you have made them. You’re the creator, and thus you own the rights. There are no extra steps necessary. So watermarking your photos is purely aesthetically.
And it’s an aesthetic that frankly looks ridiculous. Especially in those cliché handwritten fonts.
Save yourself the extra work of adding your name to the photo. Leave them as they are. If people want to steal your work, they will. No watermark will stop them. Don’t take my word for it; read more about why you should stop using watermarks.
Black and white photos with one colorful element
It’s a nice trick to do when first learning photoshop; I’ll give you that. I had to do it back in school to get the hang of masking in Photoshop. And that was about it. After that lesson, it was not interesting anymore to do so.
That scene in Schindler’s List is iconic, but it does not mean that doing the same makes your photos equally emotional.
Refrain from doing this trick to your photos. And don’t post it if you do try it out.
HDR is a great technique for tricky lighting situations. It can be instrumental and sometimes even a lifesaver. But HDR is never the goal. Nor the aesthetic you want.
How do you know if you have overdone the HDR technique? When you see that the photographer has used HDR. The highlights and shadows contain unnaturally much detail, barely any contrast in the shot, and everything is overly textured.
The problem with HDR is that, by trying to show everything, you soon end up showing nothing. Leave some things to rest in the shadows. It’s good to have some contrast.
Self-portraits with a camera in hand
This really is one of my pet peeves—photographers showing photos of themselves with their cameras in hand. I do portrait photography for business owners. And never have I portrayed someone with a tool they use. It’s cheesy.
Just imagine how silly a portrait of an accountant holding a calculator would seem. That’s you, but with a camera.
Black and white for the sake of black and white
Some people click on the black-and-white button in their editing tool and call it a day. Photos of lovely roses, colorful events, and garden chairs have all been turned to black and white without a second’s thought.
Black and white is a lovely way to give photos a timeless feel and enhance some compositions. But it has to be done with intent. Not just because you might feel editing colors is hard.
More clichés to avoid
There are 5 of my personal annoyances in photography. Kai, from DigitalRev TV, has a couple more to share in the video below.