How Photographers Can Make Their Work Stand Out

Photography is an extremely competitive career field. As such it can be really difficult to make your photography stand out. With a relatively low cost of entry in terms of gear, free online tutorials the field is quite over saturated. It is also over-run with a pool of clients who want everything for ‘free’ or have a ‘low budget’. This means that there is work for anyone who wants to get into the field.

Some genres are harder to get into than others, but the reality is that if you want to get paid to take photos, chances are you will be able to do that relatively easily.

If you want to make it long-term in the photography industry, there are a few things you need to do to get yourself on track and stand out from the rest. Here are a few ways you can achieve that.

How Photographers Can Make Their Work Stand Out
Credit: Unsplash.


You don’t want to be a one-hit-wonder. Consistently create new work, even if it’s just for you, personal projects, or collaborative projects. If you must do ‘free’ shoots, have a plan on what you are going to get from these shoots. 6 months of free shoots or low-cost shoots to build up your portfolio is fine, but taking 2 years to do it is a bit much.

It can take a few years of practice to find the style you like and what works with your personal aesthetic.


A lot of photographers offer styled photo shoots as well as portfolio-building shoots. Here a bunch of photographers can walk through a styled setup and create work that they can then showcase in their portfolio. You can use this as a way to build your skills.

This can improve your skill level if you are editing clients of different skin tones, learning how to photograph in challenging light, as well as how to pose and interact with clients. You shouldn’t, however, use these images as ‘your’ work. Indicate that these images are from a styled shoot rather than showcasing work or styling that isn’t your own.

Instead of relying on styled shoots for building your portfolio, invest in a shoot of your own. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy, just something that fits your brand. One-on-one styled shoots are great because they give you creative freedom and a chance to create unique images.

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Make Friends in The Industry

Making friends in the industry is an important way to network. Join FB groups and Whatsapp groups for creatives and photographers. Meet up, chat, connect over business issues as well as offer advice and help as needed. You could set up a collaborative photo shoot with a fellow photographer to build up your portfolio and editorial photos. Friends in the industry will be able to teach you how to take light and airy photos, or any other genre of photography you’d like to explore. Doing so will help expand your skills and help you become better.

Patience is key

Because of its competitive nature, At any given point in time, there will be someone who can do something better than you. This is 100% okay. Pinpoint where your strengths lie and use them to your advantage. Aim for the long haul. Build relationships with your clients so that they refer you and come back time and time again, not just once off.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. Be consistent and things will happen in their own time.

Success your way

Get inspiration from other photographers and the things around you. There are so many things happening around you at any given point in time. No one else photographing it, does not make it boring. Think outside of the box. Everyone photographing a certain way does not mean you have to.

When you start out, don’t obsess over clients, about getting work, or making money. These are obviously very important but take the time to perfect your art.

How Photographers Can Make Their Work Stand Out
Credit: Unsplash.

You’ve probably noticed that there hasn’t been any mention of specific camera brands, lenses, lighting, models, posing, etc. The tips for making your photography stand out from the crowd focus on things that are more important than your equipment as that arsenal can only be built up with time and money.

Your attitude towards yourself and others, your mindset, willingness to get help and give help, and your long-term vision for where you want to be, are far more important than just your skills with the camera. Anyone can take a photo, but it takes a lot more to become successful and a photographer who consistently creates art.

Featured image credit: Unsplash.