The Internet. We've been deeply involved with it for a number of years now. What have you noticed when you go searching out photography? Well, personally I have noticed that many, many "photographers" are posting images that are similar to their collegues, friends and family. I've also noticed that portrait photographers, wedding photographers, baby photographers and similar are shooting pics that kinda all look the same after a while. His pics look like her pics.
I blame the internet and the unnatural addition to equipment and all that techie stuff. People are simply shooting images that are easy to create. They are letting the equipment do ALL the work. There's little if any, creativity in photography. Except for a very small number of truly creative photographic artists. Frankly, it's getting pretty dull to surf the net and continually see the same process, same lighting (none), same angles, same colour palette. I'm almost prone to saying that if you own a camera, you should be obligated to graduate from a creative arts course before you can use it. Certainly before you post any images.
Sure, it's easy to make an image with practically any technology with a lens on one end and a recording medium on the other. Sure, it's easy to share that image with the world a few seconds later. But does that mean that we should? Wouldn't it be more special to simply watch and listen at the concert instead of holding your smartphone over your head for 2 hours, simply so you can watch it on that tiny screen in a weeks time? What happened to just "being present"? That's another pet peeve, I'll save for another time.
So how do we set our pictures apart from the myriad of others out there?
I think it comes down to taste, creativity and final usage.
Taste: I have no interest in looking at the same dull image, no matter who shot it. If you post a photo of a cat being injured, I'm not spending more than a second to view it. It will get passed over pretty darned quick.
Creativity: I will spend more time appreciating an image that obviously was the result of a creative process. Double exposures, muted tones (for a purpose), classic film processes. If it suites the image and shows a great effort on the behalf of the photographer, I am probably more interested in looking at it.
Final usage: Images that are clearly only created for the purpose of sharing on social media are of no interest to me. They are literally a waste of my attention and will get quickly passed over. Images that are created for a specific purpose will hold my attention longer. A set of pictures showing the interior of a spectacular home, if done in an expert fashion, will keep me watching and absorbing. Photos of a bike race in a cycling magazine will have me reading all about the product, event, people. You get the idea.
Setting your work apart means that you stand out from the crowd. Your work is easily identifiable by genre, visual style, use of equipment and technique. Don't shoot stuff just because you can. Shoot stuff that moves you, and do it in a way that is distinctive and remarkable. If I don't remember seeing your image a day after I did, It wasn't worth remarking on.
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.