At present we have a world population of just under 7.2 billion people and growing so fast you cannot keep up with it. Just so you can get a grip of it that's 7,200,000,000 people of which you are one.
Next there is the fact that the number of active mobile (cell) phones will exceed the world population by next year, estimated to be 7.3 billion, or if you like to see it this way 7,300,000,000.
That means every man woman and child may have the capability to be a photographer! Of which you are one!
If we take into account say only 1% of those consider themselves to be serious about photography that means there is estimated to be 72,000,000 serious photographers in the word of which you are one!
What is going to make you different enough to stand out?
Being a photographer is easy, we all do it, we look through a viewfinder at a subject and hit the shutter button and hey presto, you are a photographer, even phones make that nice little sound of a shutter movement even though its only part of the program and has nothing to do with the function, we just like to hear it.
Being different is were it gets harder.
Most are happy to take snapshots of their lives and families and cherish those memories they have but others want to do more than take snapshots, so they move on, they can chose to become one of hundreds of different genres within photography.
All the time though you are vying for position with others working within the same genre and the wealth of talent we have makes that a tough game to be in at times. So we have to be different enough to stand out.
You have to be able to see more, the most important tool you have is yourself, too many times photographers get bogged down with the need to have the right kit when they forget they were born with the right kit. We have to see what is hidden within the mundane and to feel it before we see it. Only by using all the senses we have can we make what we create stand out. Life will throw little nuances at you and you may glimpse them from the corner of your eye but you have to be ready to capture those nuances before they go.
I do this by looking at the world around me as if I am looking through a viewfinder and I want to frame it, this way I see the composition in everything and even if I am not taking photographs I am rehearsing for the times I will. So I see the movement of hair on people in the street, I see how the light reflects upon the faces. The dew upon the grass at my feet will catch the early morning sun and I need to catch the dew as it does.
If you want your work to stand out then use what you already have, you, yes its nice to have all the right kit but if you only use both it and yourself in auto mode then you are only using 10% of its and your potential.
Look deeper, look longer, understand more.