a woman wearing sunglasses and a t - shirt is standing in front of multiple mirrors

15 Unique Photography Ideas to Try in 2023

Wondering how to make your photography stand out from the crowd? Here are some unique photography ideas to inspire your next photo shoot.

When it comes to photography, finding unique ideas and inspiration can be a challenge!

Thankfully, I’m giving you a bunch of unique photography ideas to try right now.

Whether you want to add some edge to your annual family photo or want a unique wedding album, this article will have all the tips you need.

So, let’s get started!

15 Unique Photography Ideas to Help You Stand Out From the Crowd

There are tons of photography elements to consider when trying to add visual interest to your photos.

Let’s dig deeper into these creative photo ideas below.

Explore Outdoor Shapes

a white building with a blue sky in the background.

Credit: Matheus Natan

One of the easiest ways to add some zest to otherwise ordinary photos is by incorporating shapes.

Head outside and point your camera up to capture interesting ceiling angles or even step in between buildings of your nearest cityscape to discover the shapes created in the sky.

Other fun shapes you might find outside include architectural elements such as fences, doors, and windows.

Take unique photos to the next level with a portrait that has your subject peeking through the slats of a fence!

Discover Indoor Shapes

a cup of coffee on a wooden desk.

Credit: Lukas

Naturally, there are also tons of cool shapes to explore inside your home or workplace when you use your imagination.

At home, find inspiration in everyday things by capturing your morning cup of coffee with a bird’s eye view.

At work, try snapping a shot of the gorgeous spiral staircase in the atrium of your office or the chicness of the artfully exposed pipes in the ceiling above your office.

Play with Texture

water droplets on a window.

Credit: Aleksandr Slobodianyk

Texture is another must in shooting unique photos.

Think of traditional brick buildings, warm hardwood floors or soft corduroy pants.

Break out your camera to capture the contrast of your friend’s icy blonde hair against a black suede coat or the patterns of the wicker furniture in your living room — before long, you’ll be seeing texture everywhere!

That newfound appreciation for texture will become apparent in everyday life as you see the textural beauty in the curl patterns of your neighbor’s hair or the chunks of butter lining the grilled asparagus at the dinner table.

Incorporate Contrast

a chinese chicken with vegetables and sauce on a plate.

Credit: Jana Ohajdova

While some of these tips may sound like beginner photography tips, any expert-level photographer will say their most unique shots center on simplicity.

And another simple part of unique photography involves contrast — something you will always see in sophisticated food photography.

Add leafy greens around an exquisite chicken dish to bring a balance of warm and cool colors or add some fresh coffee beans around your smooth cup of coffee to score the perfect level of texture contrast from a bird’s eye view.

Get Whimsical

a woman blowing soap bubbles in a wheat field.

Credit: Andre Furtado

Some of the most unique photos in existence involve exploring your playful side.

Think about blowing bubbles, getting splashed with water in a pool or riding a classic beach cruiser outside for inspiration.

Have your friend blow bubbles and grab your camera as you mess around with different shutter speeds to nail the perfect picture of them catching perfectly round bubbles.

Or catch a child riding his bike, which will also allow you to highlight the beautiful lines of the sidewalk and the gorgeous trees and natural lighting around you.

Switch Up Your Angle

the top of a tree with green leaves.

Credit: Lerkrat Tangsri

Changing your angles is critical in achieving unique photography.

I already covered a few, but there are so many different perspectives to consider for inspiration!

Instead of a straight-on photo of a palm-tree-lined street, try to capture that photo from the bottom up for more creative photography.

More options for unique photos include taking photos of people on an escalator from the top down or snapping a shot of someone through someone else’s hand gesture or symbol.

DIY Backdrops

two pictures of a man and a woman posing in front of a red curtain.

Credit: Ron Lach (left) / Ali Madad Sakhirani (right)

What’s more unique than your own customized background? Not a whole lot, so don’t be afraid to use your imagination!

Grab your camera and look for inspiration around your living room and let your creativity shine with a DIY backdrop using a throw blanket in your favorite color or hang some sample wallpaper or a vintage tapestry.

Pick Props

a glass of wine and a teddy bear on a table.

Credit: Inga Seliverstova

Think about a movie set and the way it’s intricately decorated to reflect a modern apartment or a creative workplace. Props and décor are a big part of that.

Unique props will help you achieve creative photography, which means more unique photos.

Experiment with funky plants, flowers, vases and albums for an easy way to get unique photos.

See our guide to making your own DIY photography props.

Try Unexpected Locations

a man and woman are standing in an abandoned building.

Credit: Chrysostomos Galathris

Achieving unique photography sometimes means using an unorthodox location and your imagination.

Unexpected locations can ensure you always get creative photography.

Consider an abandoned building up the road, a nearby garden with tons of different flowers or a pond with a waterfall.

Outdoor spots will always have great lighting, while indoor spots may offer more subject control.

Find Beauty in the Weird

a light fixture with a wooden hand hanging from it.

Credit: Roman Odintsov

Every seasoned photographer knows that finding beauty in the weird will produce unique photos that spark inspiration.

Start with an experiment and select different objects with weird traits.

Shooting creative photography means picking unusual points of focus with loads of colors and textures like coral reefs, odd-shaped seashells, unique birthmarks, figurines, and more.

Use All Walks of Life

two women hugging in front of a pink curtain.

Credit: Anna Shvets

A lot of what I’ve discussed so far regarding creative photography has been more about lifestyle or landscape photography, so how about portraits and high-fashion photography?

You always want contrast and diversity, so you can leverage similar tools here!

If you have a fair-skinned, blue-eyed subject, put her next to a medium-skinned green-eyed subject and put him or her next to a dark-skinned, dark-eyed person to cover various races and cultures that will surely create the unique photos you want.

Don’t Forget About Animals

a woman is holding a cat and a dog.

Credit: Alexander Grey

The same concept above can apply to animals, because who doesn’t love pet or wildlife photos?

Say you have a medium-sized, thickly coated breed like a gray-and-white Husky in mind as the subject for your animal photos.

Reach out to friends who have a large dog bred like a dark Great Dane then sandwich the Husky in between the Great Dane and a smaller breed like a golden Chihuahua and you’ll be showcasing creative photography with ease.

Use Reflection

a person holding a pair of sunglasses with purple mirrored lenses.

Credit: Kindel Media

Shooting creative photography sometimes means using reflective surfaces — and that doesn’t just mean mirrors.

One of my favorite ways to get the unique results I want is by using the lens of sunglasses. Place sunglasses on your table at the local beer garden and you’ll find an easy way to get a unique shot of your beer.

Or try water! Head to a nearby lake and capture the reflection of the landscape for some stunningly unique photos!

Focus on Something Unique

a young boy smiling in front of a tree.

Credit: Mohamed Abdelghaffar

Similar to finding beauty in the weird, finding something unique will naturally make your photos more unique.

If your subject is a woman with a beautiful smile, look closer at the smile to find something signature.

Does she have a slight gap between her front teeth? A chip on another tooth? Or maybe even some freckles on her lipstick-matted lips?

Find Body Imperfections

a girl with freckles and a colorful face.

Rdne Stock Project

While imperfection is a strong word, think again of the non-normal things that make us unique.

Some of us are covered in freckles, while others have handfuls of moles.

These skin “flaws” would make a great subject for unique photos because freckles and moles come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

If you’re ready to explore in-depth skin photography, just check out this article in National Geographic showing some of the most freckle-focused work to ever exist by esteemed photographer, Fritz Liedtke.

How Can I Make My Photos Unique?

a 3d rendering of a desert landscape with a palm tree and a bathtub.

Credit: Mo Eid

As demonstrated by the vast list of options above, simply exercising some basic photography principles can really help you land a unique photo.

The trick is finding beauty in odd or head-turning subjects from fresh angles while using different shutter speeds and levels of exposure.

Play around with your camera’s settings and even create your own backdrops and you’ll be on the way to more unique photos in no time.

Examples include flowers, hair, animals or items that have changed form from rain.

The list of options is quite exhaustive.

And don’t forget about the editing process!

When you’re ready to start editing, try using different effects with color grading, filters and more.

Where Can I Find Interesting Images, Creative Photography & Unique Photos?

There are so many websites where you can find interesting images.

Remember that some of these websites might require attribution or have licensing conditions, so always check their policies before using images.

Here are 26 popular sites featuring unique photos:

  1. Unsplash: Offers high-resolution photos by professional photographers.
  2. Pexels: Provides free high-quality photos you can use everywhere.
  3. Pixabay: Offers over 1.8 million+ high-quality stock images and videos.
  4. Flickr: A photo management and sharing application.
  5. 500px: An online platform for photographers to gain global exposure.
  6. Getty Images: An American visual media company with an archive of over 200 million assets.
  7. Shutterstock: A provider of stock photography, stock footage, stock music, and editing tools.
  8. EyeEm: A technology company with a global photography community and marketplace.
  9. Burst by Shopify: A resource from Shopify that provides free stock photos.
  10. Adobe Stock: Offers high-quality, royalty-free images.
  11. StockSnap: A source for free, high-resolution stock images.
  12. Reshot: Offers uniquely free photos.
  13. National Geographic Photography: Offers high-quality images of nature and human beings.
  14. LIFE Photo Archive: Hosted by Google, contains millions of photographs from the LIFE magazine archives.
  15. Jay Mantri: Free pics. Do anything (CC0). Make magic.
  16. Picography: Free images to use however you like.
  17. Magdeleine: A blog that posts a free high-resolution photo every day.
  18. FoodiesFeed: Offers thousands of beautiful realistic free food pictures.
  19. Gratisography: A collection of free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects.
  20. Skitterphoto: A place to find, show and share public domain photos.
  21. New Old Stock: Vintage photos from the public archives free of known copyright restrictions.
  22. ISO Republic: High-quality, free photos for creatives.
  23. StyledStock: Free feminine stock photography for every woman entrepreneur.
  24. Freestocks.org: Free stock photos for both personal and commercial use.
  25. Picjumbo: Collection of free photos for your commercial & personal works.
  26. Pinterest – tons of unique photos for dp
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Content Manager

As the Content Manager of Shotkit, India Mantle brings with her a lifelong love for photography that she developed during her childhood, watching her father document their family moments with his Nikon EM. In her free time, you find her enjoying the awe-inspiring natural beauty of her home, Northern Rivers, Australia.

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