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7 Common Photo Clichés

Like any other art, there are clichés in photography, and it is worth being aware of them before you head out with your camera. This great video tutorial takes a look at seven of the most common ones, how they became clichés, and whether we should embrace them or do something else. 

Coming to you from Peter Forsgård, this interesting video takes a look at seven common photo clichés. I don't think one should simply categorically avoid any and all clichés; after all, many of them attained that status because they were so popular in the first place. However, the problem with working with such ideas and techniques is that because of that popularity, you are generally not exploring the creation of your own original voice. If you choose to work with such techniques, it is worth asking yourself how you might push past them and find ways to make them your own or to even abandon them entirely. One of the hallmarks of the best creatives is that they never stop pushing themselves, experimenting, and finding new techniques and ways to express themselves. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Forsgård. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Anyone want to post/summarize the 7?

The following is from the video description on YouTube:
00:00 Intro
00:13 Cliche 1: Sunsets
00:59 Cliche 2: Reflections
01:49 Cliche 3: Rule of Thirds
02:15 Cliche 4: Selective Color
02:57 Cliche 5: Bokeh
04:12 Cliche 6: Silhouettes
04:46 Cliche 7: Tourist Photographs
05:58 Should you Avoid Clichés?
11:11 Watch Next

The one I've never liked is a photo of someone taking a photo.

#8. Railroad tracks. :)


He didn't list the cliche of all cliches - the hand-held selfie!

Let's see if I can implement his idea of a non-cliche image by:
- making sure I don't shoot close to sunset and don't even think of having the sun visible
- only taking images that have no water, glass or reflective surfaces visible in the frame
- making sure my subject or subjects are not accidentally on a 1/3 line in the frame
- making sure there are at least three colors in the frame (I wonder what he thinks and B&W images?)
- always shooting at f8 or higher
- fully illuminating all subject in the image
- leaving my camera at home during a vacation (unless I want memories)

It would be interesting to see how many recent award-winning photos violate one or more of these cliches!

Art critics, ya got to love'em!

#8 Waterfalls so smoothed out and milky that they don't even look like water.
#9 Hypersaturated landscapes that look like the photographer needs to get their cataract surgery ASAP.

HDR is cliché. I'm talking about the ones done so poorly that it doesn't even look like a photo anymore.