Tip of the week: How to be unique in an ocean of stock photos

The good thing about stock photos is that you have a wide choice for every subject, the bad thing is that they start to look more or less similar. Similar to the degree that they start to look like plagiarism. Sometimes I need a few photos for my projects and for those times I turn into a buyer. At that time, I often have to sift through pages before I find the right image. Although I am choosey, I would say despite a whole giga-million styles out there, original and unique styles are still few. So few, I could make a short list of those photographers and artists who really stand out. Let’s see how one can try and be unique in an ocean of stock photos!

Concert photographer

Shoot something unique!

1. Start fresh: Don’t look at existing images for inspiration, if at all, look at editor’s choice. This way you are looking at the absolute best. See how you could have shot the same scene differently or made it better. Try practicing and shooting with better composition that what you see. As far as possible, avoid using others as templates. It is easy to be impressed and be motivated by other’s work, but you need to develop and evolve your own style into perfection.

2. Work on your strengths: Is your ability to be patient good for wildlife and bird photography? Yes, absolutely! Is your access to the navy any beneficial for your stock photography? Yes, absolutely! Use your skills, circle of influence and resources in order to get unique and fresh new photos. So work on those skills and contacts.

3. Break some rules:Composition, shooting, using the camera settings in a certain way, yes there are some rules, try and break those and see if you get something unique. Keep experimenting and notice how the outcome looks, then take another look.

Concept Of Change

Who says a snail always needs to crawl?

4. Use different angles: And for that matter, different lenses, distance and positioning. How about using a 3ft bench to climb up and get a new perspective on a few subjects? You got it! experimenting is the key, experiment with different camera angles, lenses, lights, effects, shutter speeds and aperture settings amongst other things. What can look simply a commonly shot photo at one set of settings can look way different with others. So getting a little into technical details of how your camera looks at the world is not a bad idea at all.

5. Try lesser used techniques: Techniques like size illusions, 3 point lighting, unique model poses, experimental makeup techniques and anything you feel is closer to the concept yet out of the way. Invent something new if you can. Find new ways to do the same old thing.

6. Finding new trends: Use google trends and social media to your advantage. See what people are searching for, especially related to stock photos. Put those ideas to work and develop new ones after looking at what people are searching for. Trends not only help you get new ideas but help boost sales too.

7. Niches: One thing about checking trends data is that you con catch hold of a new niche of searches which can translate into a whole new subject of photography. Catching new niches in their infancy will help you be a pioneer and establish your reputation. It will also give your photos that uniqueness that others lack. So go for it without a question!

Whoever says that there is no originality left in art due to the probability that “everything has been already done”, seriously underestimates the power of Kaal and Maya (the God of Time and the goddess of Change) who created the physical and other 3 ever changing planes of existence (oh, sorry, can’t help the spiritual angle :-D ). The world changes and new trends come and go, there is always something new around the corner. The trick is to identify and translate this phenomenon into opportunity. For photographers and artists, there is always a scope of being unique!

Photo credits: Geertweggen, Skypixel.

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December 06, 2018


Thank you all, your kind words of appreciation are very inspiring!

December 03, 2018


It's a very interesting article, thank you !

November 22, 2018


Good article Artistashmita, good food for thought :)

November 22, 2018


Yes! FabioConcetta I feel the same, Thank you, Arekreatifsuroboyo and Patrick57!

November 21, 2018


An interesting tip to get the best results, thank you

November 20, 2018


You're absolutely right, I also see many images or illustrations, and conceptually there are very few who make me do "wow"!

November 20, 2018


@Williamwise1: Thank you!

November 19, 2018


The more you travel in a rut, the harder it is to get out! Great article on getting out of the rut! William

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