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3 ingredients to make your photo stand out from the crowd - The Photography Express

3 ingredients to make your photo stand out from the crowd

3 ingredients to make your photo stand out from the crowd

Perhaps you are like many other photographers who are searching for solutions to a common question: “How do I take photographs that stand out from the crowd?” You may already have an answer, you may be very close to getting one, or you may have no idea where to start. Nevertheless, this post is to answer this question for you. It is something I’ve came up with after observing many photographers work. So, what is the answer? How can you make your photo stand out from the ever-growing crowd of photographers these days?

You just need 3 simple ingredients: Sharpness, Depth of Field and motion in your photograph.

Do not complicate yourself. Even though you may have seen or heard hundreds or even thousands of responses, picture that shows those 3 ingredients consistently do better than the ones without. They will dramatically improve the quality of your photograph.

In my previous post on 8 secrets of getting razor sharp photos with your DSLR and How to get the most of Depth of Field, I’ve already talked about 2 out of the 3 ingredients mentioned above. Therefore, I am not going to explain them one more time (feel free to check the previous posts!).

That means it leaves us with one last ingredient we need to talk about, which is motion. Instead of writing you another post on motion, let me show you examples below so you get the full picture of what I meant combing the 3 ingredients together!

In order to make this as authoritative as possible, I’m going to link picture from 500PX so you can see the metadata of the pictures as well as rating of the photographs.

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Picture 1

Jake Olson is one of my all time favorite photographer. In his photo ‘Happy’ it has all 3 ingredients that we mentioned above.

Jake Olson Studio Happy

Credit: Jake Olson Photography Source: https://500px.com/photo/84044873/happy-by-jake-olson-studios

Sharpness – The main subject (the little girl) is in sharp focus head to toe.

Depth of field – The shallow depth of field around the girl with bubbles, leaves and trees around her shows great depth. The creamy bokeh also made this photo very appealing as it focuses the viewer on the girl’s movement.

Motion – The girl’s hair, bubbles and the overall jumping pose shows great motion in the photograph.

Picture 2

Joe McNally is one of the top photographers in the USA. This picture with the Chinese lady dancing in front of a temple is mind blowing.

Joe McNally Chinese Dancing Lady

Credit: Joe McNally photography Source: http://blog.joemcnally.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/DSC9760blog-copy-526×350.jpg

Sharpness – The picture focused on the lady’s face and body. Joe purposely blurred the long end of the dress to show movement.

Depth of field – Even though there is no bokeh in this photograph, the temple at the back gives depth in the photograph. It also blended in well with the lady dancing in front of it.

Motion – Not doubt the movement is on the dress. It shows movement transition from the lady to the long end of the dress.

Picture 3

Back to Jake Olson again, by now I am pretty sure you got the hang of it. Without looking below for my explanation try it for yourself and see what you think the sharpness, depth of field and motions would be in the picture?

Jake Olson Studio Harvest Gold

Credit: Jake Olson Photography Source: https://500px.com/photo/97477589/harvest-gold-by-jake-olson-studios?from=user

Once you are done below is my response:

Sharpness – The girl is in sharp focus. Also the plane of sight to the left and right of the girl.

Depth of field – Creamy bokeh on the field with warm sunlight as background.

Motion – Girl’s hair, hand movement and her dress shows she is moving as the picture is taken.

I hope by showing you the 3 ingredients you know what it takes for your photograph to stand out from the crowd. What do you think about this post? Do you have pictures you can share that demonstrate these 3 ingredients? Feel free to leave you comment below!

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About Gary

A passionate photographer with goals to fulfill your photography passion and motivate you to take pictures even when life is busy!


  1. Great tips! totally book marked it for future reference 🙂

  2. Its definitely not easy to stand out in a sea of photographers these days. These are some great tips on some ways to get yourself seen!

    • Yes it is very hard to stand out from the crowd when the barrier to entry is so low these days. We need to compete in quality 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  3. Great article, and stunning imagery to illustrate the information you outlined.

    • Dana thanks for stopping by! Yes I am more a visual person so I always try to involve with pictures to illustrate my point. Glad you liked it 🙂

  4. thank you I hope to start taking better pictures though I do not own an expensive camera I have a Panasonic DCM fz8 and a DCM f5 that I will be takeing on Holliday with me to Malta so will post you something that I have achieved there

  5. Great read, thanks so much for sharing!

  6. I am just starting out with a DSLR camera. Very nice tips but also interested to get a critique of some of the photos i’m taking. Can i send one or two to you for comments? I’ll be visiting your site regularly for insights and learning

  7. I agree that the subject should be in focus, but Jake’s photos are a combination of 2 completely different images that are layered on top of each other. Photoshop definitely enhances a picture, but totally takes away from a “true” single image once it’s layered upon 2 separate images. It’s more computer processing than a genuine “single” moment captured in time.

    • Hi Rick it’s true that Jake’s photo include a lot of photoshop and post processing work. It is also not a true single image like you said. I do however believe most of his pictures showed depth of field, sharpness and motion. Those pictures were there just to illustrate 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  8. Great tips! I’m about to get started!

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