Photography clichés to avoid

Everyone would be happy to stand out with their photography and the ideas they put their heart and soul into. Every so often, however, it turns out that we are not heading in the most effective direction in terms of creativity. In such cases, the energy invested in the craft becomes useless. The good news is that sometimes even if you don’t know what to do, it’s enough to know what NOT to do.

As in any art form, so in photography, there are trends that over time become clichés. Once upon a time, when they first appeared, they were quite eye-catching, but in our modern times, they have lost their initial charm.

It must have happened to you before, to look at a photo and find yourself completely indifferent to it. The quality of this photo is high-level, the post-processing is well done. There is some order in it, but something more important is missing… Most likely, what you seek to find is an unknown idea.

So what’s the problem with clichés after all?

Practically, there is no such thing as a problem with the existence of clichés. We just pay attention to them because they are not pleasing and do not contribute anything to the art. Clichés are the same repetitive concepts that in the end won’t bring you the pleasure of discovering something new and fresh. So the fewer of them, the better.

Of course, there are no written rules about what you are allowed to shoot and what you are not. If you are in love with sunsets, then no one stops you from filling an entire album with photos of them. There’s a huge difference between capturing a few shots for yourself to try out and filling your entire portfolio or blog with pictures of the same puppies and flowers. In such a case, you will not enjoy a massive audience of your work.

Therefore let’s look at some of those clichés that no longer deserve much of our attention, right now:

Pictures of coffee

No one denies the good aesthetics, taste, and aroma of coffee. We have to agree, however, that snapping a few shots of your favorite cappuccino or latte is not completely original anymore. No matter what composition, location, or filter do you use, this idea in itself is long worn out.

Vintage filters

The issue with the vintage filters is that most of the time it makes a photo look highly unprofessional. So, it’s best to switch to another type or style of post-processing that won’t fill your photos with cliché patterns.

Self-portraits in the mirror

Every camera owner has already thought of standing in front of the mirror and taking a self-portrait. So, if for a moment you thought it was a creative way to show you know how to work with a camera, no, it’s not.

If you do photography, people will understand it from the work you share with the world. It’s good for your photos to tell more than just “I’m capturing pictures in front of the mirror because I know it’s art.”

Landscape panorama

The result of a landscape panorama is often not what we imagine. Instead of covering the whole view at first glance, you see just some blue, green, and yellow lines. There are too many details. The picture is so big that the center of the meaning of an image is unrecognizable.

Photos of sunsets and sunrises

Sunrises and sunsets have enjoyed enough attention for many decades to come. Unfortunately, it is already extremely challenging to attract the eye with that silhouettes and soft orange light, which in real life is indeed beautiful. The whole mesmerizing and romantic effect is lost when it is captured in a photo. Instead of looking magical, such a photo resembles an ordinary tourist postcard…

Fake lens flare

Lens glare can be achieved quite naturally, but even then they get uninteresting quickly. What’s left when they are added digitally?! The result is unnecessary fake light that is merely out of place.

Photos with a sloping horizon

Deliberately tilting the horizon of a photo seems too unnatural. Instead of looking like art, the photo starts irritating the viewer’s eyes. Why does someone have to break their neck to find out what’s in front of their eyes?

Also, because something is not in an accurate position, the spotlight gets distracted from what you truly desire to reveal to your audience.

Pictures with frames

The frame does not contribute with anything to the photo. It makes it neither more interesting nor more original. A picture with a frame would look far more amateurish than if you didn’t place it at all.

Photos with text

If you want to spread a message by using photography, you don’t need text to overlay on your photos. Leave the image to speak for itself. You better not overshadow its details with unnecessary words. Remember, the text does not always convey what the eye perceives.

Also, don’t make it easy for people by telling them directly what to associate your photograph with, always leave room for their imagination.


When the HDR technique is used in the right way, you probably won’t notice that it is part of the photo. However, if you overdo this effect, you will get too much saturation and contrast, which makes the photo look a bit too fake. The style usually attracts the viewer’s attention, but not for positive reasons.

Pictures of romantic couples in the rain

Or all the other photos in this style… just aren’t worth it anymore. Over time, more and more photoshoots of couples appear, where body postures, messages with expressions, and different types of intimacy are played out. Against the background of all this, the photos in the rain seem too banal. So it is better to think of something different. With two models you can produce far more interesting and unordinary results.

Classic tourist photos

Every famous tourist destination has been photographed a million times, already. From the same angle, in the same way. Probably the first thing you think of in this category is the Eiffel Tower. It`s not about only this building, but also about every commercial architectural masterpiece that most people know. The Eiffel tower is just one of the most popular ones. The small streets, the sights of the city, and the well-established “traditional photos” such as “leaning on the Leaning Tower of Pisa” or “grasping the pyramid at the Louvre with two fingers” are the most repeated ideas on the internet.

It would be far more interesting to show through the lens what truly catches your eye. Give yourself time, immerse yourself in the atmosphere, and experiment with different angles. The reasons and the details that make a place memorized in your head will be a lot different from the general idea.


So, you already know those clichés that we are all tired of seeing. For an awesome ending, here is a piece of advice to keep you away from clichés forever:

Let people see what they would never notice if you didn’t show it to them.