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Thread: What photos are most cliche'?

  1. #1
    epmi314's Avatar
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    What photos are most cliche'?

    I have visited many a photography forum and continue to find CIC the very best.

    As a relative newcomer, I was wondering what images are most cliché'? I have heard water droplets, certain portrait poses, stopped down water or waterfall shots and certain landscape images.

    Are there clichés or are good images simply good images? I am guessing it is much like judging a dog in a show. They are measured relative to their bread and then one bread compared to another.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    Sure I think many shots can be cliche' nearly anything if it is done ordinarily. Having said that I would agree and feel along the lines of your last statement. Measured relative to their bread and then against others. Almost everyone likes to shoot a sunset but some stand apart. I just shoot what I enjoy cliche' or not.
    One thing you can not take away from a well done photo, cliche' or not.....and that is it is well done.

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    epmi314's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    Good point Paul. I tend to agree that "well done" is never anything but "well done" and ordinary shots can come off as cliche' or perhaps that is the very reason they are ordinary. A sublte creative tick here or there makes a ton of difference.

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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    Ask a 100 people to pick there favourite photo and in very few exceptions you will never get 100% agreement so what some find to be "cliche" others may not, its all subjective

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    I don't think a very good image will ever be a cliche. Whether is fluffy water, dreamy portraits, majestic mountain scenery, etc.

    If it's a well made image, it's well made image (exhibiting a high degree of competence on the part of the image-maker)... if you see what I mean.

    What does become a cliche is when someone without that high degree of competence tries to make the same image. A frame full of fluffy water doesn't, in itself, make a good picture. It still needs to be in the context of a high quality image that incorporates good exposure, excellent composition, etc.

    That's why, I suggest, what we strive for on here with our focus on learning and on developing skills, takes most of the images that appear on CiC beyond and above the cliches that one sees on the Flickrs, etc of this world.

    Slightly snobbish or elitist perhaps, but if we're striving for excellence we've got to be able to critically appraise our own performance as well as that of others. And part of that is I think using the term cliche as a legitimate comment in the process of criticism.

    We tend to see it ('cliche'), in UK society anyway, as a very derogatory term. Most folk would probably feel some degree of insult if you told them their work was a cliche. But maybe the learning curve actually contains a phase whereby people have to pass through the 'cliche-making' stage. The important thing is knowing that that is where you are (or having others help you see it) and not to be deluded into thinking that you have actually reached the top of the curve.
    Last edited by Donald; 27th September 2011 at 07:25 AM.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    Anything that has been categorized will be considered "cliche", such as high school portraits, baby photos, or even wedding photos. It's up to the photographer to make the image inspirational and give new ideas to what could be considered a cliche. Even glamour photography can become somewhat boring after so many roses in the teeth, look over the shoulder poses.

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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    When you do not "see" an image but rather react to it as "here comes another..." it has become a cliché. High on my list at the moment are grey-scale images with one detail highlighted in color. Long exposures of landscapes - to blur flowing water and moving clouds - are getting there quickly.

    An unforeseen effect of the internet is that while it allows us access to a huge amounts of interesting photos, it also means that any new concept will be copied instantly, so the shelf life from "neat idea, why didn´t I think of that!" to tired cliché is getting shorter all the time.

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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    I would consider most sunrise and sunset pictures as overdone but, occasionally there is a good one posted.

    Another overdone technique is the use of UWA lenses for landscapes with a tiny strip of data along the center of the image and lots of wasted sky and foreground...

    I don't enjoy images of people shot with UWA lenses.

    Babies with faces smeared with chocolate cake are also cliche.

    Finally, IMO, even one LensBaby image is too much!

    On the other hand, I am sure that many people think that dog pictures are generally overdone but, I love them.

    So just because I like or dislike a subject or technique doesn't mean that the image is right or wrong; everyone has the right to shoot WHAT THEY WANT and HOW THEY WANT...

  9. #9
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    Well that's it. Not posting anymore. Only got sunsets, sunrises, moving water, scudding clouds, chocolate covered faces, my lens baby classics .... but no dogs. Fail !!

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    epmi314's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    This is all good information.

    Donald - Other sites are "snobbish", actually downright mean in some cases. Everyone new to CIC has been welcomed with open arms and even the lower quality photos from newcomers (mine included) have been offered fair and constructive criticism. I would also agree that the use of the work "chiche" is a real dig on this side of the pond as well.

    As John, Lennart and Richard have mentioned there are some photos that may be a bit "overdone". I find most of them to be in the portrait genre with certain poses. Traditional Senior pictures come to mind. The kid, knee on chair, elbow on knee with his sport coat thrown over the shoulder... Yikes!

    In any case, I continue my efforts to improve various types of shots if only for the experience. I just didn't want to fall in love with something that many found drab. I figured it was largely a matter of personal taste and when it comes right down to it most great images are just that.

    Thanks for all your thoughts. They are helpeful as always!

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    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    After 24 years of printing other peoples pictures every day I do have a list.

    Holidays:
    Pointing at a monument and/or using perspective so you can touch the top.
    Kicking open the toilet door and getting your partner with their undies round their ankles.
    Making a heart with your hands in front of a sunset....sunrise....anything actually.

    Weddings:
    Pretending to cut your partners throat with the cake knife.
    Biting the brides garter.
    Having the blokes all lined up and pretending to have a wee.
    Having the blokes in a line and walking like the advert for Reservoir Dogs.
    Selective colour on confetti....or anything else for that matter.

    In General:
    Surprise View in Borrowdale....I'm sick of seeing that shot.

  12. #12
    epmi314's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    After 24 years of printing other peoples pictures every day I do have a list.

    Holidays:
    Pointing at a monument and/or using perspective so you can touch the top.
    Kicking open the toilet door and getting your partner with their undies round their ankles.
    Making a heart with your hands in front of a sunset....sunrise....anything actually.

    Weddings:
    Pretending to cut your partners throat with the cake knife.
    Biting the brides garter.
    Having the blokes all lined up and pretending to have a wee.
    Having the blokes in a line and walking like the advert for Reservoir Dogs.
    Selective colour on confetti....or anything else for that matter.

    In General:
    Surprise View in Borrowdale....I'm sick of seeing that shot.
    Robin,

    Those are some great examples. Hands in a heart could be the best of the lot. I am terribly glad I am not a wedding photographer. Seems to me wedding photographers are obligated to be cliche to some extent.

    Reservoir Dogs was a classic movie but Mr. Blue isn't a Groomsman...
    Last edited by epmi314; 27th September 2011 at 07:33 PM.

  13. #13
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    Hello

    If it is composed and exposed well, I do like to look at typical "cliché-alike" photos. A picture that is well done from a technical perspective and does transfer a feeling is nice to look at. It does not matter if it is "cliché-alike" like fluffy water, or a sunrise or a lightning.

    My personal horror (happend last month) is being forced to look at tons of holiday pictures that are unsorted, unprocessed, shaken, wrongly exposed and badly composed.
    Half them even showed the same object. ARGGGGHHH.
    EVERY well taken and processed "cliché-alike" picture is like icecream on a hot summer day compared to that.

    Robert

  14. #14
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    Sea shore shots, shot from a see saw

    - think about it, or if you know me, you'll know what I mean

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    BJ Denning's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    As new to this photography habit, 9 months, I major in cliché' purposefully. I mean no offense, insult, or plagiarism. But I learn by seeing and replicating. This is just me, it allows me to understand and practice with the technical, to grow into the competency. I love what I read Collin say "Amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they never get it wrong".

    The cliché landscape, silky water, water drop, or baby picture is useful for me as a standard or "truth" point to compare my shots too to improve/practice my consistency/technique. And while I am not a prolific poster, I too appreciate the constructive feedback from CiC. Learning how to handle good and bad feedback is essential given that there is a fair bit of subjectiveness to how people respond to many photos.

    The other challenge is to not become comfortable. This is why I believe I have fallen in love with photography. It seems to be a perfect balance of technical and imagination.

    Overall I agree with Paul's response
    Almost everyone likes to shoot a sunset but some stand apart. I just shoot what I enjoy cliché' or not. One thing you can not take away from a well done photo, cliché' or not.....and that is it is well done.

  16. #16

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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    I think the definition of cliche has been somewhat broadened. A sunset/sunrise/baby/head shot/pet shot et. al. are ALL cliches. UNLESS you can find a way to do it that hasn't been done before. Let's face it, sunsets (especially) can be rather dramatic and colorful yet...still a cliche. Finding a way to present that sunset in a way that is unique and makes a statement is challenging at the least.

    The same is true for head shots, baby shots and pet shots. Maybe they're technically good but...it's probably been done a thousand times before. Just because it's your baby, head shot or pet doesn't mean that it's unique (granted, it's your baby, head or pet shot but still...it's already been done.)

    Same is true for those 'National Geographic' shots of scenery or 'natives'. They've been done to death and by people far more talented than (probably) you or I.

    Let's face it, while it takes some luck and no small amount of skill to capture a humingbird in mid-flight, or a sleeping (bear/wolf/fox/dog/cat/hamster/baby), what would make them NOT a cliche? Finding that is what ability and talent is all about.

    Sure we all take those shots, they're meaningful to us, but does it make them something other than a cliche? If you like to take baby pictures, go out and shoot birds, or landscapes. Shoot something that you don't normally (or choose to) shoot. Forcing yourself to take pictures of something outside of your comfort zone and getting really good results probably means that you're no longer shooting cliche shots. They may not be great (yet), but that's what practice is all about. Just my humble opinion.

  17. #17
    epmi314's Avatar
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    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    Quote Originally Posted by BJ Denning View Post
    As new to this photography habit, 9 months, I major in cliché' purposefully. I mean no offense, insult, or plagiarism. But I learn by seeing and replicating. This is just me, it allows me to understand and practice with the technical, to grow into the competency.
    Bryan,

    I completely agree with this. I have been trying myself to become competent with different shots even though they may be a bit overdone. This learning process is a stepping stone in my process and helps me to determine what I truly enjoy.

  18. #18

    Re: What photos are most cliche'?

    I learned a lot from MacKeenzie...I don't mind being quoted as my work to be a cliche. It just means I need to rethink, improve and innovate. I think all of us go into that stage when we are new to the technology at hand. Even by yourself, you'll eventually learn that your work is a cliche if fewer and fewer appreciate your work or you can see others work is better than yours. Try to shoot with a buddy with the same subject, and you'll find that angles makes a difference...I noticed this when I went to a wedding with 3 other photographers on the team. We gave the couple around 4,000 shots! It was then I noticed that angles and composition makes a difference...even a droplet shot composed and taken very well can't be a cliche...

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