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Making Photos that Stand Out
© 2007-2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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South Coast Resort, Las Vegas

South Coast Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada, 04 October, 2006. © original.

My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thank you! Ken.


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I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

Your photos need to be different from everyone else if you want them to stand out from the crowd. Standing out is important if you want your photos to get noticed, to sell and and to win photo contests.

They can't just be different; they also must be good. They can't merely be good; they need to be both good and to be different.

Not that I'm that good at it myself, but my eyes always gravitate to unusual photos over dull clichés. Clichés are photos of things like sunsets, flower close-ups, bicycles parked by windows on European streets, and bearded men at historical reenactments. Everyone does them, and for them to stand out they need to be done very cleverly. You know they're clichés because as you read each one, a picture popped into your head. If you already know how the picture looks, why make another one? Make another one, but put your own spin on it.

You cannot admire other photos and then attempt to copy them. That's the best way to make crappy photos. You need to get out and do your own crazy thing.

Photography isn't a spectator sport. You have to get in and get dirty. You can't mimic other styles and subjects. You need to be yourself.

Herein lies the hard part. Photos show others the insides of your personality. People with hive minds and group mentalities have hard times making outstanding photos, since they tend to think alike and shoot alike. Group thinking breeds dull photos that look the same as everyone else's. People who think alike easily can make technically perfect photos, but technique has nothing to do with making a remarkable photo.

Introverted people often make outstanding, extroverted images when they think for themselves, but extroverted people who are afraid to think differently, regardless of how hard they party, may have hard times making remarkable photos.

To make outstanding photos you need to think differently. If you want to make images which people immediately recognize as your work, it needs to be uniquely your own.

The people who do this the best tend to be weirdoes, or at least people unafraid to do their own thing. They don't follow crowds; they drill their own holes.

Feel free to shoot whatever grabs at you. Forget shooting what you think others expect you to. Screw clichés. My friends know me for my revealing portraits of toilets, and the few times I've entered major photo competitions I've won numerous first and grand prizes.

If you make safe photos, no one except your mom may care. If you make weird photos everyone may think you're crazy, but at least they'll stand out. If you do them well, they can take you places. Many famous artists were crazy, lived tortured lives and killed themselves, but at least their work lives on forever.


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I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem.

The biggest help is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. These places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.

If you find this page as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

As this page is copyrighted and formally registered, it is unlawful to make copies, especially in the form of printouts for personal use. If you wish to make a printout for personal use, you are granted one-time permission only if you PayPal me $5.00 per printout or part thereof. Thank you!


Thanks for reading!



Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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July 2007