Take Extraordinary Photos of Ordinary Things

Melbourne, 2014
Melbourne, 2014

No matter where we live, it will be boring.

How can you make better photos? Not by going to extraordinary places, and photographing extraordinary people and things. Rather, embracing the ordinary place you live, and making extraordinary photos of ordinary things.

Don’t rely too much on your subject-matter

Garden Grove, 2014
Garden Grove, 2014

The photographer’s most important asset is their eyes. As a photographer, your creativity is about what you decide to add in a frame, and what you decide to leave out of the frame.

No matter where we live, we will eventually normalize to wherever we live. We can live in the most exciting city, but it will become “boring” and “ordinary” after a while.

So the way to stay creative for your entire life is to look at everything in your life (which is ordinary, and transform it into something extraordinary).

How to photograph the ordinary, to make it extraordinary

Downtown LA, 2014
Downtown LA, 2014

How can you make more extraordinary photos of ordinary things? Some ideas:

  1. Juxtapose that ordinary thing against something that is interesting
  2. Use an un-usual form of lighting on that ordinary subject-matter (whether using an external flash, by shooting at different times of the day, or by using different exposures)
  3. Photograph your subject from an unusual perspective (really high, really low, from some other obscure angle)

Why seek the extraordinary?

Melbourne, 2014
Melbourne, 2014

The problem that many of us make in photography is that we are always seeking extraordinary subject-matter. We travel to exotic places, we want to photograph exotic people, or exotic moments.

But once again, street photography is about capturing beauty in the mundane. The beauty of ordinary, everyday life.

And that is our job as photographers— take the ordinary, and make it extraordinary.

I also feel the best compliment we can get in our photography is this: when someone looks at your photo and says, “Wow — I walk by that everyday. But I have never seen it like the way you do.”

Transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.


To learn more, check out Photography 101 >