Tip of the week: Stay off the beaten path

We've seen this story before: A celebrated photo was found to be staged and manufactured. The reverse angle of that rural fisherman with a cormorant on his bamboo raft reveals two dozen of photographers all lining up for the same shot. We all go to the Horseshoe Bend or Antelope Canyon to take the exact same shot as thousands of people before us.

Young female photographer with professional camera near big old tree opposite greek village. A girl with camera opposite the villa

Well, as photographers we were all influenced by those who came before us. We draw inspiration from people like Adams, Newton, Leibowitz, McCurry, Avedon and others. It's only natural we try to recreate their famous photos. Didn't Oscar Wilde once say, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"? Yes, yes he did. But he also ended that quote with "...that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

Now, I'm not blaming anyone, we all are mediocre at something before we become great at it. We wouldn't even know of many places without people taking photographs of them. But doesn't that mean that everything worth shooting has been shot already? And if we are all here to sell our photos, shouldn't we try to capture images that we know are popular?


This world now has seven and a half billion people and 150 million square kilometers of land. If you want to find unique portraits and locations, there's still a lot to choose from. Your photography can be both creative and commercially viable, all trends start from somewhere.

Beauty blonde female photographer in glasses wearing a white blouse and black leather jacket holds a professional camera

Take portraits of your friends and family. Hit the streets of your town at night and see what you find. Ask a stranger on the street if you can take their portrait. When you travel, don't always go for the low-hanging apples and sign up for a guided photography tour. There are yet sights unseen and uncaptured. Stay off the beaten path, meet some locals and ask if you can take photos while they do their everyday things. Don't spend all day at Machu Picchu trying to line up that one perfect shot. Save some of shutter count for something unique.

Photo credits: Flowertiare, Vladimirs Poplavskis, Ivan Kmit.

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May 07, 2019


Hey Klodvig, thanks for your interesting article. Most of us know this matter of photographing off the beaten path, but it is good to be remembered once in a while, especially in a didactical manner, as you did in your article.

April 19, 2019


Although I have had some luck with a few off the beaten path locations, for the most part, they do not sell well. For example, I have had a photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge in SF, California, in the fog, sell several times (who would tell? There are thousands of similar photographs out there ), whereas the Cold Canyon, a popular hiking destination with stunning of Lake Berryessa in Napa, seldom photographed for stock, hardly ever did.

April 18, 2019


I always believed that there is a lot to shoot for Microstocks and other purposes! Also many subjects and concepts haven't been touched yet.

April 17, 2019


Very true. And there aren't many people photographing in your own backyard (your local area). So you will find things there that nobody else will see. Don't wait until the next big photography vacation to get out your camera. Shoot every day, even in your own backyard. Thanks for writing! William

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